Business Layer: Passive Structure Concepts

  • Business Object

  • Representation

  • Meaning

  • Value

  • Product

  • Contract

Business Objects

Business Object is a passive element that has relevance from a business perspective. It represents “informational” or (importantly) conceptual elements of relevance to the business. For instance a Sales Catalog can be regarded conceptually as a means of providing information on items for sale. It could be represented in several ways – as a brochure, or web page. However, its “raw data” will be part of the Applications Layer.


The model below shows a business object Invoice, which aggregates (multiple) business objects Invoice line. Two possible realizations of this business object exist: an Electronic invoice (data object) and a Paper invoice (representation). The business process Create invoice creates the invoice and the invoice lines, while the business process Send invoice accesses the business object Invoice.

  • Business Object accessed by Business Process, Function, Interaction, Event, Service

  • Business Object association, specialisation, aggregation, composition with other Business Objects

  • Business Object realized by a Representation and / or Data Object

Image result for archimate business business object visual paradigm


Representation is a perceptible form of the information carried by a business object. Think of a Representation as a realisation of some form of business object. ArchiMate suggests that if relevant, representations can be associated with medium (paper, audio, etc.) or format (HTML, PDF, etc.). Name it using a noun.


The model below shows the business object Request for insurance, which is realized (represented) by a (physical) request form. The Invoice business object is realized (represented) by a paper bill.

  • Representation realizes one or more Business Objects

  • A Meaning can be associated with a Representation

Image result for archimate business representation visual paradigm


Meaning is the knowledge or expertise present in a business object or its representation, given a particular context. Meaning expresses the intent of a representation, i.e. an “Invoice” is a document that details exactly what money is owed to the seller by the purchaser. As such meanings are a valuable way of detailing business semantics. Sometimes a single representation can have different meanings to different actors / roles,

For Example, an invoice to a customer is informational, and to a sales person is an opportunity for commission. A single meaning can also be applied to multiple representations, such as paper-based or web-based forms. The name should be a noun or a noun phrase.


The model below shows an Insurance policy document that is the representation of an Insurance policy, which is a business object. The meaning related to this document is the Insurance policy notification, which consists of a Policy explanation, an Insurance registration, and a Coverage description.

A Meaning is associated with a Representation

Image result for archimate meaning example visual paradigm


Value is the relative worth, utility or importance of a business service or product. Often a value is expressed in monetary terms, is most significant to external roles (customer), and is associated with services. The value could be non-monetary terms (perhaps related to services provided without a fee), and there is also the idea of “functional value” or a service.


In the ArchiMate Diagram below shows:

  • The value Be Insured is the highest-level expression of what the service Provide Insurance enables the client to do

  • three “sub-values” are distinguished that are part of what Be Insured amounts to.

  • A Value can be associated with Business Services (directly) and Products, Roles and Actors (indirectly) that use them.

ArchiMate value example


Product is a coherent collection of services, accompanied by a contract / set of agreements, which is offered as a whole to (internal or external) customers. Think of a Product more as financial, service-based or informational, that has emanated from a software-intensive organisation, rather than manufactured goods. Products can be thought of also as “product types”, and buying is an obvious service associated with it. Its name will have organisational significance (i.e. related to brand) or will be a more general noun (i.e. “travel insurance”).


This Example depicts the value that these products offer to the customers or other external parties involved and shows the composition of one or more products in terms of the constituting (business or application) services, and the associated contract(s) or other agreements.

It may also be used to show the interfaces (channels) through which this product is offered, and the events associated with the product.

A Product viewpoint is typically used in product development to design a product by composing existing services or by identifying which new services have to be created for this product, given the value a customer expects from it.

It may then serve as input for business process architects and others that need to design the processes and ICT realizing these products.

  • A Product aggregates Business or Application services, as well as a Contract.

  • A Product may be associated with a Contract, Value

Image result for archimate product visual paradigm


Contract is a formal or informal specification of an agreement that specifies the rights and obligations associated with a product. A contract is a specialisation of a Business Object and is very much associated with products. Although it can also be linked to services – SLA is a common part of contractual documents. Its name should be a noun.


A Telebanking contract associated with the product Telebanking account. The contract consists of two parts (subcontracts): the Service Conditions and a Service Level Agreement.

Note That:

  • A Contract is accessed by Business Process, Function, Interaction, Event, Service

  • A Contract has an association, specialisation, aggregation, composition with other Contracts

  • A Contract is realized by a Representation and / or Data Object