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What is TOGAF?

The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF) is a framework - a detailed method and a set of supporting tools - for developing an enterprise architecture. TOGAF was developed by members of The Open Group.

The Open Group is a vendor- and technology-neutral consortium whose vision of Boundaryless Information Flow™ will enable access to integrated information within and between enterprises based on open standards and global interoperability. The Open Group members are most of the reputable technology companies like IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Sun Microsystems, Intel, NEC Corporation, ORACLE, SAP, EDS, etc.

open group logo

The original development of TOGAF in 1995 was based on the architectural framework developed by the US Department of Defense (DoD). Starting from this sound foundation,successive versions of TOGAF is developed each year and published on The Open Group public web site.

What is an architectural framework?

An architecture framework is a tool which can be used for developing a broad range of different architectures. It should describe a method for designing an information system in terms of a set of building blocks, and for showing how the building blocks fit together.

What kind of "architecture" are we talking about?

There are four types of architecture that are commonly accepted as subsets of an overall enterprise architecture, all of which TOGAF is designed to support:

  • A Business (or Business Process) Architecture - this defines the business strategy, governance, organization, and key business processes.
  • A Data Architecture - this describes the structure of an organization's logical and physical data assets and data management resources.
  • An Applications Architecture - this kind of architecture provides a blueprint for the individual application systems to be deployed, their interactions, and their relationships to the core business processes of the organization.
  • A Technology Architecture - this describes the software infrastructure intended to support the deployment of core, mission-critical applications. This type of software is sometimes referred to as "middleware''

Why do I need an enterprise architecture?

The primary reason for developing an enterprise architecture is to support the business by providing the fundamental technology and process structure for an IT strategy. This in turn makes IT a responsive asset for a successful modern business strategy.

Today's CEOs know that the effective management and exploitation of information through IT is the key to business success, and the indispensable means to achieving competitive advantage. An enterprise architecture addresses this need, by providing a strategic context for the evolution of the IT system in response to the constantly changing needs of the business environment.

A good enterprise architecture enables you to achieve the right balance between IT efficiency and business innovation. It allows individual business units to innovate safely in their pursuit of competitive advantage

What are the business benefits of using TOGAF?

The technical advantages that result from a good enterprise architecture based on the TOGAF framework bring important business benefits:

  • A more efficient IT operation:
    • Lower software development, support, and maintenance costs
    • Increased portability of applications
    • Improved interoperability and easier system and network management
    • Improved ability to address critical enterprise-wide issues like security
    • Easier upgrade and exchange of system components
  • Better return on existing investment, reduced risk for future investment:
    • Reduced complexity in IT infrastructure
    • Maximum return on investment in existing IT infrastructure
    • The flexibility to make, buy, or out-source IT solutions
    • Reduced risk overall in new investment, and the costs of IT ownership
  • Faster, simpler, and cheaper procurement:
    • Buying decisions are simpler, because the information governing procurement is readily available in a coherent plan.
    • The procurement process is faster - maximizing procurement speed and flexibility without sacrificing architectural coherence.

More info about TOGAF and benefits of TOGAF adoption can be found on the Carnegie Mellon TOGAF web site.

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