Enterprise architecture is an important instrument to address this company-wide integration. It is a coherent whole of principles, methods and models that are used in the design and realization of the enterprise's organizational structure, business processes, information systems, and IT infrastructure. A good architecture practice enables an organization to align business and IT operations with its strategy, quickly respond to changes in the environment, and make optimal use of technological opportunities. The development and maintenance of architectures will lead to efficiency, cost reduction and flexibility.
Within companies various domain architectures can be found, like organization, business process, application, information, and technical architectures. Each architecture domain has its own concepts for the modelling and visualization of its internal coherence. These specific models and visualizations simplify communication, discussion and analysis within the domain.
However, the relations between the concepts in these different domains are in many cases unclear. Moreover, these domains often partially overlap but use different notions to express the same ideas, sometimes even with-out the people involved knowing this. The resulting ambiguities and confusion stand in the way of the flexibly and efficiently operating organizations we envisage.
ArchiMate wants to do away with these ambiguities. It presents a unified way of modelling enterprise architectures, integrating the various domains and describing them in an easily readable way.
ArchiMate is of course not an isolated development. The relationships with existing methods and techniques, like modelling languages such as UML and BPMN, and methods and frameworks like TOGAF and Zachman, are well-described.