TOGAF, or 'The Open Group Architectural Framework', is an award-winning enterprise architectural framework developed in 1995 by The Open Group. This refers to a clear set of rules on organizational development designed to help large enterprises achieve development goals in a quick and cost-effective manner.
The framework itself offers guidance on how an organization can create, interpret, analyze and make use of different elements within a single strategy. All while using a clearly defined terminology, this enables simple communication between departments and a sizeable reduction in the likelihood of wasteful errors.
How, then, has a single set of guidelines become so popular? Some of the world’s most powerful and profitable organizations use TOGAF, while certified professionals can often enjoy sizeable salary boosts.
The first reason is simply a matter of scale. 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!
TOGAF offers a solution by helping businesses to establish clear ROIs, solid communication and enough perspective to tie everything together under one plan. 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 millions!
The second reason is that even after nearly 25 years, TOGAF 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."
Who contributes updates to TOGAF?
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.
Establishing the meaning behind key terms early on enables efficient communication across the board. This, in turn, will ensure clarity of vision in establishing goals and the methodologies designed to achieve them. TOGAF’s terminology can even help certified professionals to communicate across different companies and disparate industries.
The second is a set of clearly defined processes offered by TOGAF’s ‘Architecture Development Method (ADM)’. The 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.
It 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)
This process enables enterprises to create detailed developmental roadmaps. It does this by providing a foundation for them to build on, rather than offering a stringent ‘one size fits all’ approach. The framework even remains fluid enough to incorporate other frameworks such as COBIT and ITIL.
Finally, 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. This helps in creating future ADM cycles, which, in turn, will cut down on how much time is required for further developments down the line.
How can a 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?
TOGAF for businesses:
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.
Common language: 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 ADM establishes a staged approach to enterprise architecture that is nonetheless fluid enough to be adapted for individual organizations. While crafting such an approach might seem difficult at first, the experience will make future architectural development much easier. In other words, it helps organizations to create systems that can be used again and again.
TOGAF 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. However, they must make sure that they take the Level 1 and 2 certification exams via a certified test center. There is plenty of unrecognized course content out there online!
Price: As valuable as TOGAF certification is, it doesn’t need to cost the moon. Courses for both the Level 1 (Foundation) and 2 (Certified) TOGAF certification cost as little as £749 via Good E-Learning.
Experience: 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. This can create excellent networking opportunities for architects who are on the lookout for new 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 a university student could learn TOGAF to set themselves up for the start of their career.
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 if necessary.
Future proof: Even though each version of TOGAF introduces new features, the core framework remains the same. Because of this, you can continue to use TOGAF even as updates are released and simply update your knowledge as you go.
Why Gain a TOGAF Certification 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!
Regardless of how well you already understand TOGAF, 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.
Good e-Learning offers a number of Enterprise Architecture courses:
Good e-Learning also specializes in corporate training for businesses looking to upskill multiple employees at once. We have already partnered with hundreds of global blue chips to design courses which take their uniqueness into account, including their location, size, business goals, corporate culture and, of course, budget.