In this series of blog posts I will describe integration of architecture models with external content sources, such as spreadsheets, databases, CMDBs and Master Data Management systems. I’ll also describe how best to synchronise between the two and ‘join the dots’ between different information sources to form a coherent and holistic architecture model.

Architecture models, and in particular ArchiMate models, are often used to join data originating from different information sources to form a single model and coherent architecture. The data may be migrated into the architecture model as a one-off activity and managed in the model thereafter; or ‘mastered’ externally and regularly imported into the model. The data can then be joined to other datasets that may also originate from other sources or be mastered directly in the model.  Data sources may be spreadsheets, databases, Service Management (ITSM) repositories and CMDBs; and the data being imported may represent objects, relationships between objects and relevant metadata such as IDs and descriptions.

Figure 1 – Master Data Model Integration


As represented in the diagram above, the process generally followed is:

  1.  Integrate with external data sources to receive and import the data into the tool. Cleansing and transformation can be performed here if necessary.
  2.  Identify the applicable ArchiMate elements that align to each source of data, such as Application Components, Locations and Devices. In other words, convert the source data that may represent applications, sites and servers to the applicable concepts in ArchiMate.
  3.  Match the source data with existing elements within the architecture model. To eliminate duplication in the model it’s best to match the existing objects and relationships that relate to our source data. This is usually best achieved by using the IDs from the original data source, or if necessary it is possible to match by name. Data can therefore be imported as new elements, or may override and replace data for existing elements. It’s important to be clear on whether the objects and relationships are being mastered in the external data sources or within the architecture model.
  4.  Once the data has been imported into the model, it is then possible to enrich directly within the model and join with other model elements to form a single coherent and holistic architecture.
  5.  Reports can be produced from the architecture model showing different viewpoints for different stakeholders. These are often in the form of spreadsheet tables, matrices, diagrams and dashboards.


The blog posts that follow will focus on a particular stage in the process, so stay tuned!