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The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF®)

TOGAF® is an open, industry-neutral enterprise architecture framework developed by the Open Group Architecture Forum. The core of TOGAF® is the Architecture Development Method (ADM), a method for creating systems or whole enterprise architectures [Kel11].

TOGAF Foundations

The TOGAF® framework is the de facto global standard for EAM. It is an open enterprise architecture framework, meaning that it is applicable across all industries [BBL12]. The Open Group Architecture Forum, comprising more than 200 enterprises, develops and maintains the TOGAF® standard and publishes successive versions at regular intervals. The latest release is TOGAF® version 9.1 published in late 2011 [11b].

The TOGAF® framework comprises a detailed method for developing architectures as well as a set of supporting tools [Kel11]. Generally, an architecture can be developed for single systems or subsystems, clusters of applications systems or for blueprints of the top level architecture of an enterprise [Kel11]. The term enterprise architecture is defined as “A formal description of a system, or a detailed plan of the system at component level to guide its implementation.” [11b].


TOGAF® Architecture Development Method (ADM)

The core of TOGAF® is the Architecture Development Method (ADM), a method describing the activities and artifacts necessary to transform an EA from a current state towards a target state [11b]. In order to do so, the ADM addresses a business need through a process of visioning, architecture definition, transformation planning, and architecture governance. The whole process consists of ten phases including the preliminary and the requirements management phase as depicted in Figure 1 [11b].

Figure 1: TOGAF® Architecture Development Method (ADM). [Based on: The Open Group. 2013. TOGAF Version 9.1.]

Each of these phases is split up into several steps necessary to achieve the goal of the respective phase [11b]. Additionally, for each phase a list of artifacts necessary as input and a list of documents that will be produced as output of the phase is given [11b]. The ADM is an iterative method, encouraging iterations over the whole process, between phases, and between steps [11b]. Further, it is a generic method, meaning that it is necessary to modify or extend the ADM to meet specific needs of certain enterprises [11b]. Summarizing, ADM can be seen as a condensed checklist guiding enterprise architects through the development of a certain architecture [Kel11].


Additional TOGAF® Tools

Additional tools supporting the ADM are the Architecture Content Framework, the Enterprise Continuum, Reference Models and the Architecture Capability Framework[11b]. The Architecture Content Framework is a meta-model which is used for structuring and storing the artifacts produced during the execution of the ADM [11b; Kel11]. The Enterprise Continuum is a view on the repository, which stores all architecture artifacts an enterprise wants to re-use [11b]. Additionally, two reference models are provided, namely the Technical Reference Model (TRM) and the Integrated Information Infrastructure Reference Model (III-RM) [11b]. The major benefit of these two reference models is the establishment of an extensive taxonomy with regards to applications, application platforms and their communication infrastructure [11b]. Finally, the Architecture Capability Framework provides support on topics relevant for establishing an EAM function in an enterprise [11b; Kel11].


Advantages and Challenges of TOGAF®

An advantage of TOGAF® is its compatibility with other recognized enterprise frameworks, meaning that the ADM can be used for developing the products associated with e.g. the Zachman, FEAF, TEAF or C4ISR/DoD framework [11b; Kel11]. Also, TOGAF® it is an internationally accepted standard and the ADM is a mature and extensive method [Kel11]. Additionally, trainings and certificates as well as TOGAF® compliant tools are available.

On the downside, TOGAF® version 9.1 has some 690 pages and is a major challenge to read, making it difficult for non-experts to get access to the topic. Further, strategic EAM tasks like IT strategy development or IT portfolio management are not addressed [Kel11]. Finally, the process description in the ADM is very generic and coarse-grained [Hau+14].

In summary, TOGAF® is a standard with an emphasizes on the development of architectures and not so much on other EAM tasks [Kel11]. Nevertheless, it enables organizations to foster a common language between stakeholders, avoids a lock-in on proprietary solutions for EAM and allows cost reduction due to the more effective use of EAM resources.

TOGAF® Version 9.1 can be downloaded or viewed online.



W. Keller. TOGAF 9.1 Quick Start Guide for IT Enterprise Architects. Tech. rep. Wolfgang W. Keller, 2011.


S. Bente, U. Bombosch, and S. Langade. Collaborative Enterprise Architecture: Enriching EA with Lean, Agile, and Enterprise 2.0 Practices. Elsevier, Inc., 2012.


TOGAF® Version 9.1, an Open Group Standard. Standard. The Open Group, 2011.


M. Hauder, D. Münch, F. Michel, A. Utz, and F. Matthes. “Examining Adaptive Case Management to Support Processes for Enterprise Architecture Management.” In: 9th Trends in Enterprise Architecture Research Workshop (TEAR). Ulm, Germany, 2014.