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What are metrics?

A metric is a specialization of the ArchiMate® driver concept. It is a driver that can be measured. These are often characteristics of organizations such as business value, cost and customer satisfaction. Metrics can be linked to ArchiMate objects and relations.

In portfolio management, metrics can be used to score elements in portfolios. Metrics can also be used with a time dimension. This is often done in the context of time modeling, like life cycle management.

In the definition of a metric, not only a name is set, as is usual for a driver, but also the following properties:

  • The measurement unit of the metrics. This indicates the unit in which the result of the measurement is shown. Such a measure unit can be for example a three-point scale with possible values "low", "medium" and "high".
  • The way of measuring. This indicates whether metric values are entered manually or scored automatically. When scored automatically, the underlying architecture is typically used.

Base metrics and aggregate metrics

When defining metrics a distinction is made between base metrics and aggregate metrics. Base metrics deliver directly measured values resulting from measurements. They are not made of other metrics.

Aggregate metrics are composed metrics, they are made up of one or more other metrics. These other metrics may be base metrics, but can also be aggregate metrics.

An aggregation formula shows how the values of the underlying metrics are combined into a single value in the aggregate metric.


An example of a base metric can be "License costs". These costs come directly from measurements and are not constructed of other types of costs.

An example of an aggregate metric is "Application costs". The values which originate from these have been calculated and are determined by a composition of the metrics "Maintenance costs", "Operational costs" and "license costs".

Parent metrics and child metrics

The relationship between an aggregate metric and the metrics it is composed of is called a parent-child relation, in which there are parent metrics and child metrics. The aggregate metric is called a "parent", the metrics it is composed of are called "children". An aggregate metric can be a parent as well as a child since a parent metric can be used as a child in another aggregation.

When aggregate metrics are used for defining the charts for portfolios, the parent metrics will be used in the charts; they deliver the end values.

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