Describe an Architecture Framework

The TOGAF standard definition for an Architecture Framework is

A conceptual structure used to develop, implement, govern and sustain an Architecture

TOGAF Standard Definition

To expand on the TOGAF definition, think of an Architecture Framework as:

  • A set of structures which are able to be used to develop a wide range of differing Architectures.
  • An Architecture Framework should describe a way to design a set of of building blocks (And their relationships) in terms of the state of an enterprise.
  • There should be a set of standards, guidelines and compliant products on which the building blocks can be implemented.
  • There should be a common vocabulary and set of tools.

Why use an Architecture Framework such as TOGAF?

The main reason for using an existing Architecture Framework such as TOGAF is that an existing framework adheres to what actually works in a real life scenario. Using an existing framework will simplify and expedite any new architecture development and allow for future organisation growth.

Another reason for using an existing framework is that a framework such as TOGAF contains an existing set of resources such as templates, patterns and other artifacts that are immediately available for use.

Finally, by it’s nature, the design of Architecture is a complex and extremely technical process. TOGAF is able to provide a strong guideline about what works and what does not which enables organisations to create open systems based solutions that will meet the immediate and growing needs of the business.

The core of the Architecture Development Method – ADM

The diagram below displays the core of the TOGAF Architecture Development Method otherwise known as the TOGAF ADM. The TOGAF ADM provides a step by step approach to Enterprise Architecture

TOGAF Architecture Development Method

It is important to understand that TOGAF consists of six different components – The six components are:

  1. The TOGAF ADM (As shown above)
  2. An Architecture Content Framework – This framework is used to model the work products that will form the architecture. The Architecture Content Framework contains artifacts, deliverables and the building blocks (Otherwise known as Architecture Building Blocks or ABBs) that the deliverables will represent.
  3. Techniques and guidelines that are able to be used by an organisation when following the Architecture Development Method process.
  4. The Architecture Capability Framework that can be used to define roles, skills, responsibilities and other reference and guideline materials needed to create and operate an Enterprise Architecture within an organisation
  5. The Enterprise Continuum – A model that provides a way for an organisation to structure an Architecture Repository. The Enterprise Continuum also provides a way for classifying solution and architecture artifacts.
  6. The TOGAF library – The TOGAF library is a supporting reference library that contains templates, guidelines and other reference material to help expedite the creation of Enterprise Architectures.

The four Architecture Domains within Enterprise Architecture

The are four Architecture Domains that form Enterprise Architecture

  1. Business Architecture
  2. Application Architecture
  3. Data Architecture
  4. Technology Architecture

It is suggested by TOGAF that a complete Enterprise Architecture should address all of the four architecture domains specified above. Each of the Enterprise Architecture domains are detailed below.

Business Architecture
Think of Business Architecture as a way of defining the business organisation, the business strategy and the key processes that form the business

Application Architecture
Application Architecture is a way to develop a template or blueprint for the deployment of the systems within the Application. Application Architecture also describes the relationships between the business processes and how they interact.

Data Architecture
Data Architecture details the definition and structure of an organisations physical and logical assets as well as the data management resources and assets

Technology Architecture
Technology Architecture provides a method to describe the software and hardware necessary to support the release of the organisations main applications

How can Enterprise Architecture benefit businesses?

There are many ways that Enterprise Architecture can benefit organisations – some of these are:

  • Helping a business or organisation achieve its business strategy
  • Allow new capabilities or innovations to get to market faster
  • A more consistent and streamlined business process with better information across organisational units
  • Better security and reliability
  • Less risk
  • Streamlining IT and business operations
  • Reduced risk in terms of future investment and a better return for existing investments
  • Easier and more streamlined procurement at reduced cost

Describe Enterprise Architecture

When describing Enterprise Architecture there are two main things we need to know:

  1. According to the MIT Center for Information Systems Research Enterprise Architecture is the business process logic for Information Systems infrastructure which reflects the standardization and integration requirements for the firms operating model
  2. A blueprint (Conceptual) that defines the operation and structure of an organisation. The intent of an Enterprise Architecture is to resolve how organisations can effectively achieve their current and future goals.

Describe an Architecture

In its simplest form, think of an Architecture in terms of TOGAF as the central properties or concepts in a system; specifically:

  • The individual elements that form the system
  • The fundamental principles that govern the systems evolution and design
  • How the elements in the system relate to each other

Describe an Enterprise

Think of an Enterprise in the terms of Architecture as a set of business or organisations that share a set of common goals. Examples of an Enterprise may be:

  • A large multinational company that spans multiple countries
  • A single company or corporation
  • A subset or part of a company or corporation

It is important to understand that a large company or corporation may consist of multiple enterprises. An enterprise may even extend out to other businesses such as a companies customers, suppliers and any other business partners.

Essentially, an Enterprise in terms of Architecture can be summarised as a set of entities that are working together to reach a common goal.

What does “Architecture” mean?

People often ask, what is the meaning of “Architecture” when talking about the TOGAF standard?

Whilst TOGAF does embrace the IEEE Standard 1471 it does not strictly adhere to it.

Briefly, the term Architecture in the context of TOGAF has two different meanings and these two meanings are different depending on the context. In terms of TOGAF Architecture can be defined as:

  • A plan or formal description detailing a system broken down into components to help guide the implementation – Or
  • The structure and relationships between components as well as the principles and guidelines that govern the evolution and design of a system over a period of time

TOGAF Certification; An Introduction

Why would you want to use the TOGAF standard as an Architecture Framework?

The TOGAF Architecture Framework is a good place to start when implementing an Architecture Framework because it:

  • Provides a set of baseline resources that can be re-used
  • Simplifies and speeds up Architecture Development
  • Provides complete coverage of the specified solution
  • Allows for future growth as the needs of the business grow

Because Architecture design is complex, frameworks such as TOGAF are able to provide a way for businesses to demystify the architecture process. This demystifying of the Architecture Development process allows businesses to create open systems-based solutions that will fit the needs of the business moving forward.