The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF) is an enterprise architecture methodology that offers a high-level framework for enterprise software development. TOGAF helps organize the development process through a systematic approach aimed at reducing errors, maintaining timelines, staying on budget and aligning IT with business units to produce quality results.
The Open Group developed TOGAF in 1995, and in 2016, 80 percent of Global 50 companies and 60 percent of Fortune 500 companies used the framework. TOGAF is free for organizations to use internally, but not for commercial purposes. However, businesses can have tools, software or training programs certified by The Open Group. There are currently eight certified TOGAF tools and 71 accredited courses offered from 70 organizations.
Like other IT management frameworks, TOGAF helps businesses align IT goals with overall business goals, while helping to organize cross-departmental IT efforts. TOGAF helps businesses define and organize requirements before a project starts, keeping the process moving quickly with few errors.
Avoid lock-in to proprietary solutions by standardizing on open methods for enterprise architecture
Save time and money, and utilize resources more effectively
Achieve demonstrable ROI
TOGAF’s business benefits
TOGAF helps organizations implement software technology in a structured and organized way, with a focus on governance and meeting business objectives. Software development relies on collaboration between multiple departments and business units both inside and outside of IT, and TOGAF helps address any issues around getting key stakeholders on the same page.
TOGAF is intended to help create a systematic approach to streamline the development process so that it can be replicated, with as few errors or problems as possible as each phase of development changes hands. By creating a common language that bridges gaps between IT and the business side, it helps bring clarity to everyone involved. It’s an extensive document — but you don’t have to adopt every part of TOGAF. Businesses are better off evaluating their needs to determine which parts of the framework to focus on.
The evolution of TOGAF
TOGAF is based on TAFIM (Technical Architecture Framework for Information Management), an IT management framework developed by the U.S. Defense Department in the 1990s. It was released as a reference model for enterprise architecture, offering insight into DoD’s own technical infrastructure, including how it’s structured, maintained and configured to align with specific requirements. Since 1999, the DoD hasn’t used the TAFIM, and it’s been eliminated from all process documentation.
The Architecture Development Method (ADM) is at the heart of TOGAF. The ADM helps businesses establish a process around the lifecycle of enterprise architecture. The ADM can be adapted and customized to a specific organizational need, which can then help inform the business’s approach to information architecture. ADM helps businesses develop process that involve multiple check points and firmly establish requirements, so that the process can be repeated with minimal errors.
TOGAF was released in 1995, expanding on the concepts found in the TAFIM framework. TOGAF 7 was released in December 2001 as the “Technical Edition,” followed by TOGAF 8 Enterprise Edition in December 2002; it was then updated to TOGAF 8.1 in December 2003. The Open Group took over TOGAF in 2005 and released TOGAF 8.1.1 in November 2006. TOGAF 9 was introduced in 2009, with new details on the overall framework, including increased guidelines and techniques. The most recent version of TOGAF is TOGAF 9.1, which was released in 2011.
There are four architectural domains in TOGAF 9.1 that offer specializations for businesses.
Business architecture: includes information on business strategy, governance, organization and how to adapt any existing processes within the organization.
Applications architecture: a blueprint for structuring and deploying application systems and in accordance with business goals, other organizational frameworks and all core business processes.
Data architecture: defining the organization’s data storage, management and maintenance, including logical and physical data models.
Technical architecture: also called technology architecture; it describes all necessary hardware, software and IT infrastructure involved in developing and deploying business applications.
What’s new in TOGAF 9.1?
The most recent version of TOGAF was updated to include:
Content metamodel: This lifecycle process guides creation and management of enterprise architecture within the guidelines of the ADM. It helps businesses implement proprietary architecture into another architecture tool, using output checklists, a streamlined approach and a richer, more detailed standard for describing architectures.
Partitioning: TOGAF 9 introduces suggestions and guidance for partitioning specific architectures within the enterprise.
Architecture Repository: This acts as a document that contains all details pertaining to the enterprise architecture and any relevant projects, and it includes ideas, designs, frameworks, policies, process, and so on.
Enterprise Continuum: This document addresses the more abstract concepts in the framework by establishing how everything defined in the architecture repository fits into the process and how each asset relates to one another and to the TOGAF framework. It’s also how businesses can help IT and other business units relate to one another with a common language, to improve communication and reduce confusion.
ADM Guidelines and Techniques: This expands on information in the ADM, including how to apply it within your organization, when it should be used, how it relates to TOGAF and security considerations.
TOGAF certification and training
The TOGAF certification from The Open Group consists of two levels: Level 1 TOGAF Certification, which covers the foundations of the TOGAF 9.1; and Level 2 TOGAF Certification, which covers your working knowledge of TOGAF and all relevant technology, tools and concepts. Certification is offered through The Open Group at both individual and organizational levels and it does not need to be renewed. However, if a new version of TOGAF comes out, you may need to get certified in the latest version of the framework in the future.
The TOGAF certification is especially useful for enterprise architects, since it’s a common methodology and framework used in the field. It’s also a vendor-neutral certification that has global recognition. Earning your TOGAF certification will demonstrate your ability to use the TOGAF framework to implement technology and manage enterprise architecture. It will validate your abilities to work with TOGAF as it applies to data, technology, enterprise applications and business goals.