The Open Group has released TOGAF version 9, an industry consensus framework and method for enterprise architecture (EA). The framework can be used as a tool for understanding how all of the business, technical, and project pieces within an enterprise work together and affect one another. TOGAF provides a tool for uniting different methodologies
TOGAF 9 dives into more details on how organizations can implement the framework within their own business process than previous versions. Len Fehskens, Vice President and Global Profession Lead of The Open Group, said, "The new version was driven by the desire to better align IT with business needs. Earlier versions were more technology focused."
TOGAF 9 includes new materials that show in detail how the Architecture Development Method (ADM) can be applied to specific situations, such as service-oriented architecture (SOA) and security architecture. In addition, the new Architecture Content Framework includes a detailed content meta-model that formalizes the definition of an enterprise architecture and also establishes clear links between business and IT objects.
Judith Jones, CEO of Architecting the Enterprise, a UK consultancy and an integral member of The Open Group's Architecture Forum which developed the new framework, said, "What we have done over time is develop the framework around how we populate the information as opposed to what exactly the information is. A lot of the work on TOGAF 9 was around not just what an architecture should have, but how to make it work. There has been a shift from the original TOGAF framework to a process oriented approach that focused on how to do architecture as well as some of the cultural issues."
For example, previous versions of TOGAF would specify some ambiguous task, such as "resolve any conflicts." TOGAF 9 gets into more detail with more granular steps that are easier to follow.
Another key enhancement in TOGAF 9 is the introduction of a seven-part structure and reorganization of the framework into modules. Jones explained, "You might decide in your version of doing the architecture that you want to modify the business architecture but not the other sub-areas. For example, you might decide that you are going to use HP hardware as opposed to Dell hardware in the deployment phase."
The framework intends to help companies make sense of various methodologies and best practices for different domains like project management (PMI or Prince 2) or service delivery and support (ITIL). TOGAF 8 was the first implementation that mapped to DODAF, ITIL, PMI and Prince 2. TOGAF 9 includes more permanent hooks between the different frameworks. It shows how all the outputs of these methodologies relate across specific versions of those standards. These could be industry standards, or business reference standards, or government standards.
Jones explained, "TOGAF 9 has the ability to put all of these reference models together, and we end up with the architectural capability framework. This shows you from the business vision to the business operations how that business capability is put together. We are trying to use TOGAF as a way of helping the architects do what they need to do and give them some tools and techniques to do that in a standards way. They have their own ways of doing this, but they all need to have some standards and understanding of what the rest of the world can do. You need a baseline of standards and architectural services to do this. You can flog as much technology as you like, but if you cannot put it all together in a meaningful way, it is all going to be the flavor or the month. "
For large companies, one of the challenges of deploying SOA is that different groups within the company use different languages and models to describe what they are doing. Consequently they end up re-implementing the same functionality over and over again. TOGAF aims to provide a kind of Rosetta stone for understanding all of these different ways of describing the same things. Jones said that it can help a company define a service like "billing with variance," rather than implementing 57 different billing systems.
The TOGAF framework is free to any organization wishing to develop an enterprise information systems architecture for use within that organization. TOGAF certification programs help standardize the implementation of the framework. Over 7500 individuals have been certified, and over 90,000 copies of the framework have been downloaded.
TOGAF 9 is available for free download at: http://www.opengroup.org/togaf/
This was first published in February 2009