ArchiMate vs Other Notations - #4 - UML: IT Infrastructure Modelling

Welcome to fourth article on our ArchiMate vs Other Notations series. Last time we tried to understand differences between ArchiMate and UML regarding process modelling. [1] This time we are going to switch the domain completely and try to understand possibilities and limitations in both techniques in infrastructure modelling area.

What we consider an infrastructure?

If we look on Gartner’s IT Glossary we could read, that IT Infrastructure is: The system of hardware, software, facilities and service components that support the delivery of business systems and IT-enabled processes.[2] Whenever we design or build infrastructure we refer to hardware and software, where it is located and how it is interconnected

IT Infrastructure modelling in UML

There are limited possibilities to model infrastructure in UML. The closest one, that brings us some look on infrastructure is the deployment diagram. This diagram enables us to model the execution environment for software components. There is no diagram dedicated to pure HW infrastructure and network environment though. You can check an example of deployment diagram below.

Example of deployment diagram

[3] Source:

IT Infrastructure modelling in ArchiMate – Technology layer

In last article we explored Business Layer elements from ArchiMate, that is used to model business processes and use cases. To model infrastructure, we use Technology Layer. By using elements from this layer, we could model deployment schemes for software as well as execution environments. Also, you have a possibility to very briefly outline networks and connections between hardware and technology services offered to applications or business users, like database access or messaging system. Below you could check some of elements of language defined on that layer.

Element Definition Notation
Node A computational or physical resource that hosts, manipulates, or interacts with other computational or physical resources.
Device A physical IT resource upon which system software and artifacts may be stored or deployed for execution.
System software Software that provides or contributes to an environment for storing, executing, and using software or data deployed within it.
Technology collaboration An aggregate of two or more nodes that work together to perform collective technology behavior.
Technology interface A point of access where technology services offered by a node can be accessed.
Path A link between two or more nodes, through which these nodes can exchange data or material.
Communication network A set of structures that connects computer systems or other electronic devices for transmission, routing, and reception of data or data-based communications such as voice and video.
Technology function A collection of technology behavior that can be performed by a node.
Technology process A sequence of technology behaviors that achieves a specific outcome.>
Technology interaction A unit of collective technology behavior performed by (a collaboration of) two or more nodes.
Technology event A technology behavior element that denotes a state change.
Technology service An explicitly defined exposed technology behavior.
Artifact A piece of data that is used or produced in a software development process, or by deployment and operation of a system.

[4] Source:

UML vs ArchiMate

To compare UML and ArchiMate we need to come up with basic scenario which we try to model in both notations. We would like to see couple of servers connected to one central switch. There shall be two special servers that host some of applications in a redundant way – to secure we have a backup always available.

The UML example:

The UML example

In above model we used just two elements: device, which is a metaclass of node element and artifact which depicts a piece of software in infrastructure environment. We used also simple association and deployment relationships to connect elements together.

If you take a look on ArchiMate example you could immediately spot a lot of similarities

ArchiMate example

This is because ArchiMate technology layer was based on some of UML elements. Node and Device have same meaning as in UML. The new concept, introduced in ArchiMate is called Communication Network, depicts some kind of network organized with set of structures and protocols.

For basic use cases there is no benefit in choosing UML over ArchiMate or other way around. However, ArchiMate allows you to model a bit more thanks to additional elements like Communication Network, Path or Location – to show physically how network and infrastructure is organized.

So how exactly ArchiMate adds value?

The main advantage of ArchiMate is that it allows to connect multiple architectural domains. That means on one diagram you could model physical infrastructure, interconnections, deployments and applications that use infrastructure elements. Let’s look on an extended ArchiMate view in which we used both Business, Application and Technology layers:

Extended ArchiMate view - Business, Application and Technology layers

By combining layers, we know exactly what infrastructure elements and applications are needed to support business functions. Back Office team is responsible for four business functions. Those functions are supported by three Application Components that are part of bigger Back Office Suite. The Suite itself is stored in two Server Clusters that are standing in two separate locations.
Thanks to ArchiMate we could combine multiple domains on one view. UML could be still used to provide details of implementation regarding deployment, however, the same could be achieved using ArchiMate.


To sum up, let’s look on main takeaways from this article:

• In UML we use deployment diagrams to model infrastructure needs • ArchiMate has a dedicated layer for infrastructure domain called Technology Layer • For deployment views both notations are equally good • For infrastructure modelling that includes, beside deployment, also information about networks or/and physical locations ArchiMate is a better choice • Both notations could be maintained in parallel – UML for precise, low-level deployment diagrams, ArchiMate to make sure infrastructure domain is connected to other architectural domains.

This article is one of articles from ArchiMate vs Other Notations series. Check others:

ArchiMate vs Other Notations - #1 - Why you might need ArchiMate?

ArchiMate vs Other Notations - #2 - UML: Software modelling

ArchiMate vs Other Notations - #3 - UML - business processes

ArchiMate vs Other Notations - #5 - BPMN - overview

ArchiMate vs Other Notations - #6 - UML/ERD - database modelling






Piotr Szpilkowski - trainer at Architecture Center LtdAuthor: Piotr Szpilkowski - Change Leader / Agile Coach, Trainer at Architecture Center Ltd

Quality-oriented leader equipped with both technical and soft skills. Eager to create teams, organize things and make them happen. Experienced in managing various IT projects scattered all around the world. ArchiMate and SAFe trainer.

11 Of The Best Online Training Courses To Take Right Now!

11 Of The Best Online Training Courses To Take Right Now

11 Of The Best Online Training Courses You Can Take Right Now!

Online training courses can help you hone in on a variety of skills. We share 11 of the best online training courses to take right now.

Keyword(s): best online courses to take

You know the importance of continuing your education. Continuing education can mean an increase in pounds earned and promotions.

You’ll stand out among other applicants for the same job because you’ll have courses under your belt that show your desire to improve. You’re also showing employers that you understand the importance of keeping up with the changing times.

How can you stay on top of trends and changes in technology? Read on to find out the 11 best online courses to take to enhance your skills.

1. Machine Learning

As a technology professional, you know that artificial intelligence and is the next frontier of tech. Some experts call AI the next internet.

Stanford University’s online course in machine learning will give you an introduction to machine learning, as well as design. You’ll be able to try to develop algorithms for machines, which makes this course exciting.

2. TOGAF® 9.2

IT professionals will want to know and understand how to approach the design, implementation, and governance of enterprise architecture.

In this course, you’ll explore The Open Group Architecture Framework, which is the global standard of enterprise architecture, used by over half of Fortune 500 companies. You’ll also be well-prepared to sit for the TOGAF® 9.2 certification exam.

3. Introduction to Political Philosophy

In the global political environment, these are definitely interesting times. It’s said that educating yourself on political philosophy makes for better debate and conversation.

If you’re interested in learning more about how Western governments work, you’ll want to take this course offered by Yale University.

You’ll learn about classic philosophers and texts of Aristotle, Alexis de Tocqueville, Plato, and Machiavelli and learn how these philosophies are applied in today’s world.

4. ArchiMate® 3.0 Course

As you learn about enterprise architecture and The Open Group Architecture Framework, you’ll want to learn a way to map your models using graphics.

That’s where ArchiMate 3.0 helps. You can create enterprise architecture and explain it to others easily because you’re able to visually communicate your enterprise architecture.

5. Mindshift: Break Through Obstacles to Learning and Discover Your Hidden Potential

Are you reaching your full potential? If your answer is no, then you may want to check your mindset. It can be hard to break through and reach your potential when you’ve been told that you can’t or you're supposed to fit in a certain way.

What you’ll get out of this course is how to break through and get unstuck in your work and your life. You’ll learn practical tips to seek out mentors, how to do more and become more competent in your work.

6. Basic Spanish 1: Getting Started

If you want to gain a huge advantage in a global marketplace, you should speak more than English. There are more than 577 million Spanish speakers around the world. If you can learn Spanish and apply that to your work, you’re giving yourself a major boost in marketability.

This course will give you the basics of speaking Spanish. Taught by professors at the Universitat Politècnica de Valencia, you’ll get a feel for conversational Spanish and do basic conjugation. This is a go at your own pace course over 7 weeks.

7. Predictive Analytics

As companies are trying to do more with less, executives are struggling to make smart strategic decisions. They’re relying on data more than ever. Predictive analytics are used to predict employee and customer behaviours.

That allows executives to make decisions based on what they think is going to happen, not just what happened in the past.

This course will give you an introduction to predictive analytics. It will be helpful in case you’re tasked with incorporating predictive analytics into your enterprise.

8. Learning How to Learn

This may be among the best online courses to take if you haven't taken a class in a while. This course is actually a companion course to Mindshift. You can take both courses at the same time or independently.

What you’ll learn in this course are the various learning techniques that you can apply to any subject. You’ll find out about test-taking strategies, time management for homework, and how to have the right mindset to learn.

9. IT4IT™ Foundation

Are you preparing for the IT4IT™ Foundation exam? This two-day course will get you ready. You’ll be ready for the exam, plus you’ll have other real-world tools.

You’ll know how you can get buy-in from the C-suite for your enterprise architecture plans and implementation.

10. The Science of Everyday Thinking

Have you ever wondered why some of your colleagues think or act the way that they do? This course from the University of Queensland will help you understand those people a little bit more.

You’ll learn about how beliefs form, how we form opinions and expectations. You’ll also understand how we make irrational decisions and how you can think critically.

11. Decision Making in a Complex and Uncertain World

As an enterprise architect, you’re going to have to make major decisions for your organization. You inevitably have to contend with complexities and uncertainties, which can stifle your ability to make a good decision.

In this course, you’ll learn about the theories behind complex systems and uncertainty and how you can make decisions based on theoretical models.

The Best Online Courses to Take

Whether you’re out of school or in the middle of your career, you can benefit from taking online courses. The best online courses to take will offer you an opportunity to grow and enjoy the benefits of learning.

There’s no shortage of courses to take, you just need to know what you want from them. Some courses are great for general knowledge, while others can propel you further in your career.

Do you want to know more about our enterprise architecture training? Take a look at our upcoming training.

Enterprise Agility for Business Architecture

Enterprise Agility for Business Architecture

Enterprise Agility for Business Architecture

A necessary and supported framework for organizations is required for initiatives of enterprise agility to work in successful tandem.

Keyword(s): enterprise agility

Business is changing more quickly than it ever has before. New technologies are continually coming on to the scene. This forces us to reconsider our professional duties constantly.

Entire industries are being disrupted in sudden, usually unexpected ways. Odds are good your industry has already been disrupted. If not, it could be at any time.

No matter what industry you're working in, you've got to remain flexible and adaptable. As authors, Gary Yukl and Rubina Mahsud write, "When a sudden, unusual event threatens to disrupt normal operations or to harm people or property, a rapid but appropriate response is needed to minimize the adverse effects for the organization. How well a leader handles these immediate crises an indicator of flexible and adaptive leadership."

You've got to be ready for anything in today's business world. How do you prepare for the unknown, however?

Enterprise agility.

We're going to look into enterprise agility and the ways it interacts with business architecture.

Enterprise Agility and Business Architecture

Before we get into how they interact, let's take a look at enterprise agility by itself for a moment, shall we?

What Is Enterprise Agility?

You've probably heard people mention agile methodologies if you've been following business trends. Agile first entered the business lexicon in regards to software development. It was designed to let multiple teams collaborate on a project instead of relying on a top-down organization structure.

It's an efficient model for encouraging collaboration. It's also a way to respond to external feedback and stimuli quickly and painlessly.

Enterprise agility applies the agile philosophy to an entire organization. It's an organization's ability to respond to unexpected change. This could come in the of shifting markets or the emergence of a new competitor.

Enterprise agility prepares your organization for change. It applies a framework that allows your enterprise to respond methodically even in the face of complete unpredictability instead of scrambling when something unexpected occurs.

The three main aspects of enterprise agility are:

  1. Adaptability
  2. Flexibility
  3. Balance

In case you're new around here, let's take a brief look at enterprise architecture, as well.

What Is Enterprise Architecture?

Enterprise architecture (EA) is similar to the agile philosophy in a lot of ways. It's the process of analyzing, planning, designing, and implementing business strategies at the enterprise level.

EA got its start in the 1960s. A couple of IBM programmers saw the writing on the wall. They realized that businesses were going to need to be infinitely more adaptable as the world was becoming exponentially more complicated.

EA came into its own in earnest in the 1980s, however. As computers became more mainstream and omnipresent, business owners realized they needed a plan to cope with technology's increasing speed.

EA is designed to take stock of an enterprise's processes and workflow. It also helps business owners keep track of new technologies and emerging trends. Taken together, it offers a glimpse of an enterprise at both the macro and micro levels.

It helps business owners keep track of external factors affecting their organization. It also helps them stay abreast of their resources.

Enterprise Agility and Enterprise Architecture

Organizations have more moving parts and pieces than any other time in history. It's increasingly difficult for employees to understand the big picture. This makes it challenging to understand their role in the enterprise.

It's just as difficult, if not more so, for management to understand their employees' duties and responsibilities. It's all-too-common for critical miscommunications to occur without a framework for understanding.

That's only talking about business transactions, as well. That's not even mentioning the tech side of things.

EA helps to reduce miscommunications and misunderstandings between various parts of your organization. It helps the business and management side of things get on the same page with your IT department, so everyone's working towards the same goal.

With enterprise architecture and enterprise agility being so similar, it can be difficult to tell them apart. Agile methodologies are mainly meant for clients, generally speaking. It ensures your clients get their product as swiftly and efficiently as possible.

Enterprise architecture addresses the big picture, however. You might think of EA as the blueprints for the house. Enterprise agility might be thought of as the schematics of a house's inner workings, by contrast.

How Enterprise Architecture Benefits Your Business

EA helps you understand your organization as thoroughly as possible. It also gives you a framework for assessing the current technological landscape. This helps you identify ways to save resources via things like automation, for example.

It also helps you identify your business goals. Accomplishing your goals becomes infinitely easier when you know what you're trying to achieve.

Finally, EA ensures that your IT department and the business side of your organization understand one another. This greatly enhances your ability to achieve your goal. It also helps boost company morale by making sure that everybody's on the same page.

Enterprise architecture and enterprise agility are an unstoppable combo when they're working together. It helps to ensure your business is as future-proof as possible. You'll be able to remain profitable and competitive for as long as possible when you've got the right systems in place.

Ready To Get Started With Enterprise Architecture?

There's no putting the genie back in the bottle. The business world's only going to keep getting more complicated as the years' progress. Enterprise agility is going to keep getting more important.

If you're ready to help your enterprise get streamlined and efficient, check our in-house courses today.

ArchiMate vs Other Notations - #3 - UML: Business Modelling

Welcome to third article in our ArchiMate vs Other Notations series. Last article, “#2 – UML: Software Modelling” [1] we explored the differences between UML and ArchiMate on modelling software solutions. In this article we would switch our focus to business world. Article will cover business process modelling comparison between ArchiMate and UML.

What is a business process?

To model business domain, we need to understand basic terms. The fundamental one is business process. According to [2] it is “series of logically related activities or tasks (such as planning, production, or sales) performed together to produce a defined set of results.”. In real life we would consider many business processes that happen in parallel. In most cases they are set to achieve many goals. The bigger organization is the more complex relationships between processes and outcomes become. That creates a sense of urgency to have clear models that explain the complex processes in a graphical way.

Business Process Modelling in UML

As mentioned in previous articles in UML we have various types of diagrams. To model business processes and business domain in general we use some of them. There are two main categories of diagrams. We use structural diagrams to analyze structure of given system and behavioral diagrams, where one could analyze behaviors in the system, actors and events. Out of behavioral diagrams one could use Activity Diagram to model business processes. They describe what is happening, when and by whom.

Below you could see the classical example of Activity Diagram. This use case shows the document management process, where 4 actors are taking part in a document lifecycle.

Classical example of Activity Diagram

Source: [3]

Business process modelling in ArchiMate – Business layer

In last article we explored the Application Layer from ArchiMate, that is used to model software. To model business domain we use Business Layer. By using elements from this layer, we could model business processes, organizations, actors, products and other business-related aspects of systems. Below you could check some of elements of language defined on that layer. Those elements are used to model business processes and other behaviors:

Element  Description  Notation 
Business actor  A business entity that is capable of performing behavior.  Business processes and other behaviors - Business actor 
Business role  The responsibility for performing specific behavior, to which an actor can be assigned, or the part an actor plays in a particular action or event.  Business processes and other behaviors - Business role 
Business collaboration  An aggregate of two or more business internal active structure elements that work together to perform collective behavior.  Business processes and other behaviors - Business collaboration 
Business interface  A point of access where a business service is made available to the environment.  Business processes and other behaviors - Business interface 
Business process  A sequence of business behaviors that achieves a specific outcome such as a defined set of products or business services.  Business processes and other behaviors - Business process 
Business function  A collection of business behavior based on a chosen set of criteria (typically required business resources and/or competencies), closely aligned to an organization, but not necessarily explicitly governed by the organization.  Business processes and other behaviors - Business function 
Business interaction  A unit of collective business behavior performed by (a collaboration of) two or more business roles.  Business processes and other behaviors - Business interaction 
Business event  A business behavior element that denotes an organizational state change. It may originate from and be resolved inside or outside the organization.  Business processes and other behaviors - Business event 
Business service  An explicitly defined exposed business behavior.  Business processes and other behaviors - Business service 
Business object  A concept used within a particular business domain.  Business processes and other behaviors - Business object 

Source: [4]

UML vs ArchiMate – Activity Diagrams

To compare approach for business process modelling we’d look on the same use case modelled in two techniques: by using UML’s Activity Diagram. Let’s consider following scenario:

LetsInsure is a leading company selling insurances. Consider a process of insurance ordering initiated by a customer. In the process of order settling LetsInsure must assess the credibility of customer and decide whether it is willing to insure the customer. If the decision is positive Customer must pay for the insurance. Regardless of the decision company must inform customer about final decision and next steps.

At first let’s consider following proposal of UML Activity Diagram:

Proposal of UML Activity Diagram

In following diagram, we could see two partitions for each actor and the process flow, clearly indicating what are the next steps.

Now, the exact scenario modelled in ArchiMate:

Scenario modelled in ArchiMate

As you may see both views are relatively similar – the only deciding factor could be personal aesthetics: both UML and ArchiMate require similar number of elements to represent the use case. So why even bother introducing ArchiMate?

So how exactly ArchiMate adds value?

The main advantage of ArchiMate is that it facilitates business-IT alignment. Let’s assume you were asked to model the business process but also include information what kind of IT support is needed in a given scenario. In ArchiMate it could be easily done by combining two layers together. Let’s look on an extended ArchiMate view in which we used both Business and Application layer:

Extended ArchiMate view in which we used both Business and Application layer

By combining layers, we have a clear picture of required application services for this business process. Internal CRM System application component realizes two services: Automated Customer Assessment and Customer Communication. Both are used when customer is ordering the insurance. The external Bank system is realizing a payment service used by customer. Thanks to ArchiMate we could combine multiple domains on one view. UML could be still used to provide details of processes (though BPMN might be better choice for that), while ArchiMate models could be created for high-level overview of processes in an organization.


To sum up, let’s look on main takeaways from this article:

  • In UML, in most cases, we use Activity Diagrams to model business processes
  • ArchiMate has a dedicated layer for business domain called Business Layer
  • For pure process modelling both notations are fine. UML could provide a bit more detailed model though.
  • ArchiMate is capable of aligning Business with other domains, to show high-level overview and application/infrastructure requirements
  • Both notations could be maintained in parallel – UML for low-level process modelling, ArchiMate for aligning those processes with other domains

This article is one of articles from ArchiMate vs Other Notations series. Check others:

ArchiMate vs Other Notations - #1 - Why you might need ArchiMate?

ArchiMate vs Other Notations - #2 - UML: Software modelling

ArchiMate vs Other Notations - #4 - UML: IT Infrastructure Modelling

ArchiMate vs Other Notations - #5 - BPMN - overview

ArchiMate vs Other Notations - #6 - UML/ERD - database modelling





Piotr Szpilkowski - trainer at Architecture Center LtdAuthor: Piotr Szpilkowski - Change Leader / Agile Coach, Trainer at Architecture Center Ltd

Quality-oriented leader equipped with both technical and soft skills. Eager to create teams, organize things and make them happen. Experienced in managing various IT projects scattered all around the world. ArchiMate and SAFe trainer.

Enterprise Architects: The Key to Digital Transformation

Enterprise Architects: The Key to Digital Transformation

Enterprise Architects: The Key to Digital Transformation

The digital transformation of organizational structure relies heavily upon the fully engaged enterprise architects from integration to adaptability.

Keyword(s): enterprise architects

Digital transformation is happening across the world. Every day businesses are taking the step online to take advantage of this new market to see how they can benefit.

With 88,000 people now having the TOGAF certification, enterprise architecture is still growing, and businesses are looking for people to fill this role in their companies.

You need to know how to navigate the new digital landscape and have the systems in place to connect you with the world. This post will tell you how enterprise architects are helping make this change and how they can help transform businesses.

Keep reading to learn what an enterprise architect does and how they will help shape businesses.

What Does Digital Transformation Mean?

Businesses have seen rapid change throughout history, and it has come in all shapes and forms. Digital transformation is the change that is brought about with the internet and how it connects us to the world.

These new communication models and the ability to interact easily with the rest of the world has caused us to re-examine how we do business. Businesses need to adapt if they want to keep being successful.

With these advances, we've seen the development of new tools that allow us to reach customers that have never existed before. Along with that, we have ways to collaborate internally and with other businesses to create win-win situations for everyone.

We've been going digital for a while. But, the transformation we see now has only been made possible through the advancements made in social media, big data, eCommerce, and cloud technologies.

These technologies are giving companies insights that they have never gotten before. It is allowing them to change how they market and communicate with their customers.

What is an Enterprise Architect?

When you're going digital, it isn't smart to jump in and try things at random. There has been enough work done to know what the best practices are and the services you need for companies to function at its best.

An enterprise architect is the person that makes sure a business process properly makes use of the technology available to you today. An enterprise architect will usually report to someone high up in the company hierarchy and help make high-level decisions for the company.

There are four components that an architect will consider. These components are business, applications, technology, and information.

What Does an Enterprise Architect Do?

There is a lot of work to do when taking a company digital. An architect will have developed a wide range of skills to help with this. You can expect them to handle the following issues.

Identify Tools to Help Current Processes

One immediate benefit you can see by going digital is the increase in productivity and collaboration ability of the internet. There are countless project management and communication tools that make doing business easier.

An architect will know which of these tools will fit in businesses and help integrate it into a company's teams.

Connect Organizations to Data

Big data is the next big thing.

Consumer data is being used in all aspects of marketing. You can find it in social networks, from search engines, and anywhere else they leave a footprint on the internet. An enterprise architect will develop systems for getting data that is beneficial for an organization.

As the world begins to become even more data-oriented, many of your decisions are going to be based on it. An organization needs to have reliable and current data to keep making the right decisions in the future.

Strategic Planning For the Future

There are a lot of best practices now, but that doesn't mean that they will remain the same tomorrow. An enterprise architect needs to stay up to date with trends and new technology in the industry.

They will be able to identify the technology and platforms that work and plan to make use of them. This planning may not be only a weekly or monthly view. Many architects will design for upwards of two years at a time.

That isn't to say that plans won't change though. A good architect will need to be agile for changes that happen quickly. They should be able to jump on a new technology or initiative and help a company take full advantage of its benefits.

Disaster Response and Preparation

You never expect it to happen. But then the worst comes to pass. You've suffered a data loss and haven't prepared at all.

An enterprise architect now has more data to manage than ever. They will need to develop backup plans to help prevent data loss from occurring.

You will also need to prepare for cybersecurity threats. You need a plan in place to both prevent and react to intrusions.

What Training Do Enterprise Architects Receive?

A digital architect seems like a jack of all trades when taking a glance at the job. You need to have your hands in a little bit of everything.

But there have been systems developed that help put things into perspective. There have been four different types of enterprise architecture frameworks developed today that offer certifications to prove that you've done the work.

  • Open Group Architectural Framework
  • Federal Enterprise Architectural Framework
  • Zachman Framework
  • Gartner

Each of these four frameworks has its own merits, and it is up to you to decide which one to follow.

If you are working for business now, you will need to examine each of these to determine which framework fits best for the business where you are employed. If not, find one that you think will work best for your work style and find a company to apply it to.

Each of them is tested and will work if applied correctly.

Start Your Training Today

Now that you know how valuable enterprise architects are becoming, it's time to start training for the job. Our courses will set you on the right path to getting your certifications so you can begin working as soon as possible.

Contact us today to learn how we can help!

Architecture Center

Architecture Center provides consultancy and training services in the following areas: enterprise architecture, business processes management and IT systems integration.

Architecture Center is a brand of Advised Skills Ltd.

© 2021 Advised Skills Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Architecture Center is a brand of Advised Skills Ltd.