by Sarah K. White

What is TOGAF? An enterprise architecture methodology for business

May 30, 20228 mins
Enterprise ArchitectureIT Governance FrameworksIT Leadership

TOGAF is an enterprise architecture framework that helps define business goals and align them with architecture objectives around enterprise software development.

building framework architecture
Credit: Adrien Olichon

TOGAF definition

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 by 2016, 80% of Global 50 companies and 60% of Fortune 500 companies used the framework. TOGAF is free for organizations to use internally, but not for commercial purposes. Businesses can, however, 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.

In 2022, The Open Group announced the latest update to the framework and released the TOGAF Standard, 10th Edition, to replace the previous TOGAF Standard, 9.2 Edition. This update to TOGAF promises to make it even easier for businesses to adopt TOGAF and implement the best practices into the organization. The Open Group states that the 10th Edition will help businesses operate more efficiently and will provide more guidance and simpler navigation for applying the TOGAF framework.

TOGAF framework overview

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.

TOGAF 10 brings a stronger focus to organizations using the agile methodology, making it easier to apply the framework to an organization’s specific needs. The latest edition uses a modular structure that is simpler to follow and implement, making the framework easier to implement in any industry.

The TOGAF framework is broken into two main groups, which include the TOGAF fundamental content and extended guidance. The fundamental content includes all the essentials and best practices of TOGAF that create the foundation for the framework. The extended guidance portion of TOGAF includes guidance for specific topics such as agile methods, business architecture, data and information architecture, and security architecture. The extended guidance portion of TOGAF is expected to evolve over time as more best practices are established, whereas the fundamental content offers a basic starting point for anyone looking to apply the framework.

The Open Group states that TOGAF is intended to:

  • Ensure everyone speaks the same language
  • 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
  • Provide a holistic view of an organizational landscape
  • Act as a modular, scalable framework that enables organizational transformation
  • Enable organizations of all sizes across all industries to work off the same standard for enterprise architecture

TOGAF 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 among 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 enterprise architecture and 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. With the modular updates to the TOGAF Standard 10th Edition, creating a custom TOGAF framework should be easier than ever. Organizations can start with the core fundamentals, and then pick and choose parts to adopt from the extended guidance portion of the document.

What’s new in TOGAF 10?

The biggest change to TOGAF is its new modular format. The TOGAF Fundamental Content branch of the framework contains all the basics of TOGAF. This is where most businesses will start in implementing TOGAF and learning the basics and best practices of TOGAF. This is also the part of TOGAF that is the least likely to change significantly over time, whereas the extended guidance portion is expected to expand and evolve.

The fundamental concepts module includes documentation on:

  • Introduction and core concepts
  • Architecture development method (ADM)
  • ADM techniques
  • Applying the ADM
  • Architecture content
  • Enterprise architecture capability and governance

The extended guidance includes topics such as:

  • Establishing an enterprise architecture team
  • Security architecture
  • Business architecture
  • Data and information architecture
  • Agile methods
  • Reference models and methods

The newest edition of TOGAF also brings a stronger focus to agile environments and promises to be easier to apply for businesses using agile methods. The Open Group also streamlined the documentation, removing anything redundant or outdated. And TOGAF 10 also promises to be easier to update, so changes can be implemented as needed and without disrupting best practices.

TOGAF certification and training

The TOGAF 9.2 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 level and it does not need to be renewed.

The TOGAF certification is especially useful for enterprise architects, because 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.

There’s currently no information on updated guidelines for TOGAF 10 certification, but the article will be updated as new information is released.

According to PayScale, a TOGAF certification can boost your salary for the following roles:

Job TitleAverage SalaryWith TOGAF Certification
IT enterprise architect $137,188 $144,831
Solutions architect $121,579 $140,648
IT architect $120,772 $139,759
Software architect $128,451 $134,876
IT director $122,363 $153,459

To earn your TOGAF certification, you can choose from multiple online and in-person programs designed to prepare you for the exam, including the following:

For more IT management certifications, see “17 IT management certifications for IT leaders.”

TOGAF tools

The Open Group keeps an updated list of TOGAF certified tools, which includes the following software:

  • Alfabet AG: planningIT 7.1 and later
  • Avolution: ABACUS 4.0 or later
  • BiZZdesign: BiZZdesign Enterprise Studio
  • BOC Group: ADOIT
  • Orbus Software: iServer Business and IT Transformation Suite 2015 or later
  • Planview: Troux
  • Software AG: ARIS 9.0 or later
  • Sparx Systems: Enterprise Architect v12

For more tools that support enterprise architecture and digital transformation, see our list of the top 20 enterprise architecture tools.

The evolution of TOGAF

TOGAF is based on TAFIM (Technical Architecture Framework for Information Management), an IT management framework developed by the US Department of Defense 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. TOGAF 9.1 was released in 2011 and the most recent version, TOGAF 10 was released in 2022.

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