What is TOGAF®? Everything You Need to Know

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What is TOGAF?

TOGAF, or ‘The Open Group Architectural Framework’, is an award-winning enterprise architecture framework. It offers a set of rules and best practices for how companies can better define the current ‘architecture’ of their organizational structure, how it needs to evolve, and how the transformation from A to B can take place as quickly and cost-effectively as possible.

The framework itself offers guidance on how an organization can create, interpret, analyze and make use of different elements within a single strategy. Alongside clearly defined EA terminology, this enables simple communication between departments and a sizable reduction in the likelihood of wasteful errors.

How, then, has a single set of guidelines become so popular? After all, some of the world’s most powerful and profitable organizations use TOGAF architecture governance and EA practices. Meanwhile, certified professionals can often enjoy far better salaries and career opportunities than their peers.

The first reason is simply a matter of scale and complexity. Enterprise architects need to maintain a clear vision of exactly what their organizations are progressing towards. At the same time, they must keep in mind the needs and capabilities of different departments in relation to the overall enterprise. This is a lot to organize, even for a seasoned professional! Pushing forward without a well-established planning framework risks severe delays and wasted resources. Worse yet, it will likely produce an end result that fails to satisfy expectations or requirements. In the corporate world, a single mistake can cost thousands!

TOGAF offers a solution by helping businesses to establish clear ROIs, solid lines of communication, and enough shared perspective to tie everything together in successful enterprise transformation initiatives.

The second reason is that even after nearly 25 years, the framework is still at the top of its game. The first version was based on the ‘Technical Architecture Framework’ developed by the Department of Defense. This framework was then handed over to the Open Group, which has continued to refine it ever since. Indeed, former Open Group president CEO Allen Brown once said that “TOGAF is a work in progress”, and the organization even recently released TOGAF® 10th Edition.

Updates to the framework are developed by:

  • Practitioners in The Open Group Architecture Forum
  • Business architects
  • Leading universities
  • Government groups
  • Other large-scale enterprises

So, going back to our original question, what exactly is TOGAF? For enterprise architects, it is a roadmap that helps to keep organizations on track, steering them away from time-wasting detours and expensive pit stops.

How Does TOGAF Work?

TOGAF works according to three key elements used for enterprise architecture (EA) development.

The first is the clear and well-established terminology used during the development process. Without a clear idea not just of what its professionals are saying but also how they are saying it, an organization will inevitably suffer confusion and delays. TOGAF enterprise architecture principles can be learned and applied by practitioners as part of a clear collaborative environment. This also ensures greater clarity of vision for stakeholders, as well as business and IT professionals working towards individual goals. TOGAF’s terminology can even help certified professionals to communicate across different companies and industries.

The second is a set of clearly defined processes offered by TOGAF’s ‘Architecture Development Method (ADM)’. The TOGAF ADM is a cycle for enterprise architecture development that outlines several key steps for professionals to follow. It guides users via a clear and versatile methodology, helping them to apply and develop their knowledge in practice.

The ADM starts by helping practitioners to develop a clear description of the architecture they already have. Next, it helps them to clarify the exact makeup of the framework that they want to create. Finally, it outlines four key elements to focus on in order to bridge this gap:

  • Data architecture (including logical and physical data components)
  • Technology architecture
  • Applications architecture
  • Business architecture

These areas are also constantly evolving, with areas like TOGAF Data Architecture and Business Architecture now receiving significant consideration in their own right.

This process enables enterprises to create detailed developmental roadmaps. It does this by providing a foundation for them to build on, rather than a stringent ‘one size fits all’ approach. The framework even remains fluid enough to incorporate other frameworks such as COBIT and ITIL.

As for the final element, the standard provides all the necessary assets required to carry out architectural development. For example, the framework outlines a clear procedure to manage and document changes as they occur. TOGAF reference architectures and artifacts can even be reused for future ADM cycles, cutting down on how much time is required for future EA initiatives.

How Can TOGAF Certification Help My Business?

We have already looked at how the TOGAF standard provides the tools and clarity required for effective enterprise architecture development. For those unfamiliar with the basic concepts of enterprise architecture, however, it may seem like we have failed to get down to brass tacks.

So, exactly how can TOGAF benefit both businesses and practitioners?

For businesses:

  • Strategic vision: TOGAF enterprise architects can transform strategic goals into actionable plans. TOGAF solution concept diagrams clarify complex EA processes and plans for managers, executives, and stakeholders, both explaining and advocating for different courses of action while also helping audiences understand the respective benefits and drawbacks.
  • Greater efficiency: TOGAF helps to develop clear paths for creating enterprise architectures. It also provides all the tools necessary to establish working EA frameworks. While paying for this kind of guidance is completely optional, the alternative often results in severe wastage in terms of both time and resources.
  • Increased collaboration: The common vocabulary established by the framework eases communication both within and between organizations. This can be a huge advantage when it comes to ensuring that an architectural development process runs smoothly.
  • Creating processes for future development: The TOGAF ADM phases establish a staged approach to enterprise architecture that is nonetheless fluid enough to be adapted based on the needs of individual organizations. While crafting such an approach might seem difficult at first, having a bespoke process in place will greatly facilitate future architectural development. In other words, it helps organizations to create systems that can be used again and again.

For enterprise architects:

  • High demand: Top-tier organizations put a great deal of faith in frameworks that set a global standard. Pursuing TOGAF training via an accredited course can be an excellent option for both budding and experienced enterprise architects, especially as many businesses treat certification as a prerequisite for high-level EA positions
  • Price: As valuable as getting certified can be, it doesn’t need to cost the moon. TOGAF certification salaries can also more than make up for training costs!
  • Experience and perspective: TOGAF combines technical and managerial aspects of IT. Aspiring enterprise architects can learn how to manage multiple elements simultaneously through an accredited training course. More importantly, they can learn the perspective required to design and adapt information systems architectures within a wider EA framework.
  • Networking: Since TOGAF is so widely used, professionals the world over are familiar with its terminology and framework and regularly discuss how the methodology is evolving. All this can create excellent networking opportunities for architects who are on the lookout for new ideas and opportunities.
  • No qualifications necessary: It helps to start a TOGAF course with at least a basic knowledge of enterprise architecture. However, there are no prerequisites required to become certified. Even university students can learn the essentials of the framework to set themselves up for the start of their careers.
  • Learn in your own time: The structure of Good e-Learning’s TOGAF courses allows students to choose when and how they study. A professional could learn everything they need to know about the framework in just a few days or over several months as necessary. With accessibility for all web-enabled devices, candidates can also return to training at virtually any time.
  • Future proof: Even though each version of the framework introduces new features, the core TOGAF principles and ADM generally remain the same. Because of this, you can continue to use the framework even as updates are released. You can also join The Open Group’s Architecture Forum to stay up to date with topics such as Agile enterprise architecture, EA for blended working setups, and so on.

Why Study TOGAF With Good e-Learning?

Good e-Learning delivers industry-leading online certification courses, and we aren’t just saying that. In 2018 our TOGAF 9 Certified course was awarded the ‘Outstanding Certification Product’ award by The Open Group – the organization which created the framework in the first place!

Our online courses offer a results-driven and cost-effective solution for both individuals and corporate customers. Good e-Learning packages feature:

Regardless of how well you already understand the subject, we can help you get to the next stage. Whether you are completely new to enterprise architecture or a seasoned professional looking to update your knowledge, Good e-Learning can offer the best courses to suit you.

All Good e-Learning TOGAF courses are accredited by The Open Group. Users can also enjoy:

  • Hours of course materials
  • Practice exams
  • Tutor support
  • Visual and video content
  • FREE exam vouchers and resits

Want to find out more? Contact a member of the Good e-Learning team, or take advantage of a free trial today!

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TOGAF® 9 Foundation

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