From Solution to Enterprise Architecture with the ArchiMate® Language:  An Interview with Ryan Kennedy

By Iver Band, Enterprise Architect at Cambia Health Solutions and Vice Chair, The Open Group ArchiMate Forum

I recently sat down with my Cambia Health Solutions colleague Ryan Kennedy.  Ryan is an architect with whom I have worked over the last year and a half on a variety of projects that benefit Cambia’s Healthcare consumer and group customers.  After noticing how Ryan has used the ArchiMate® language to expand his personal contribution to the company, I decided to get his perspective on the language, including the new ArchiMate 3.0 standard.


Iver
: What is your professional background?

Ryan
: Prior to becoming an architect, I was a software development engineer for over a decade, designing and implementing solutions across a broad range of organizations, from stable enterprise to volatile startup.

Iver
: How did you encounter the ArchiMate language?

Ryan
: Part of the onboarding process for new architects at my company is a bootcamp-style introduction to the ArchiMate language and its practical application.

Iver
: What were your first impressions?

Ryan
:  My first impression of ArchiMate was that it is very easy to learn if you know Unified Modeling Language (UML).  My second thought was, “Wow, now I can design all the things!”  It is a quantum leap from a grammar that can describe software, to a palate capable of representing the remainder of the enterprise.

Iver
: How have you used the language since then?

Ryan
: I use ArchiMate almost daily, and I treasure the power it gives me to quickly and effectively communicate my solutions to all manner of stakeholders, from business owners to software developers.

Iver
: For what would you recommend the language?

Ryan
: For any aspect of the enterprise that needs design, description or analysis for a broad range of stakeholders.  This includes motivation, strategy, business process, applications, technology, implementation, and migration.

Iver
: What are you doing with the language now?

Ryan:
My current duties mostly revolve around design and estimation of new feature work for sizing, budgeting, and ultimately making implementation choices.  For a new capability, I usually start with the business concerns.  For more technical solutions, I may start at the application or technology layer.  Either way, the traceability of cost and value across layers is what I’m usually trying to communicate at this phase, along with risk analysis.Iver: What are your impressions of the ArchiMate 3.0 language?

Ryan
: Capabilities!  Making capabilities first-class citizens should help us improve our portfolio planning and valuation.  Also, groupings really mean something now which is cool.  If your organization is anything like mine, tagging is important for your data.  Groupings are a great way to tag your ArchiMate concepts.  Also, you may have the same actual concept represented as different ArchiMate concepts in different viewpoints.  Groupings can keep these things together as an abstract, layer-agnostic concept.  Further, you can then describe relationships between aspects of disparate concepts, which should allow a lot more freedom and nuance in your design.Iver: What additional uses of the language do you see based on the 3.0 version?

Ryan
: With the addition of the strategy and physical capabilities, the language is capable of modeling almost any aspect of business or technology.

Iver
: What are your tips for getting started with the language?

Ryan
: Flashcards!  There are a lot of concepts to memorize!  Other than that, my UML background was enough to become fluent in ArchiMate in a few weeks, and I’m fortunate to have expert peer reviews for continuous improvement. If you have no visual modeling background, a formal course is probably in order.
By Iver Band, EA, Cambia SolutionsRyan Kennedy (left) giving his impressions of the ArchiMate language to Iver Band at Cambia Health Solutions in
Portland, Oregon

Iver Band
 is an Enterprise Architect at Cambia Health Solutions, where he uses the ArchiMate language continuously to develop strategic architectures, guide solution development, and train other architects. Iver is also Vice Chair of The Open Group ArchiMate Forum, co-author of the ArchiMate certification exams, and a frequent writer and speaker on Enterprise and Solution Architecture.  Iver is TOGAF and ArchiMate Certified, a CISSP, and a Certified Information Professional.

@theopengroup  @ArchiMate_r  #ArchiMate

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