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What are TOGAF benefits for large enterprises' architectures?

Enterprise architects should value a standardized architecture framework, especially during microservices adoption. Here's how TOGAF helps control enterprise software development processes.

Enterprises cannot usually work like startups -- there's a large group of employees with diverse skills and focuses, as opposed to a closely knit group building something with intense collaboration at every step. An enterprise can almost seem like a collection of startup teams working in silos independent of each other and, sometimes, even contrary to each other. Enterprise organizations typically deal with problems associated with architecture scalability.

If an enterprise adopts a distributed architecture style, like microservices, this problem is further exacerbated. Yet, the utopia for any enterprise is to have all teams align to the same goals to resolve bottlenecks at every step. This is where the benefits of a standards framework, like The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF), come into play.

Where TOGAF fits in

Enterprises looking to scale their development processes often face bottlenecks at every step. A framework like TOGAF can help overcome obstacles and bring a faster pace of development that's a fit with the organization's larger business goals.

TOGAF recognizes various levels of abstraction within an enterprise IT implementation, and it helps ensure that priorities and goals set at the business architecture level trickle down to the technology architecture level. To obtain TOGAF benefits in the long run, the organization must implement a change management process. The April 2018 update to TOGAF, version 9.2 of the framework, was designed to provide better organization of documents that define the framework in the form of a TOGAF library.

TOGAF's purpose is to align business goals with IT priorities. TOGAF looks to drive efficiency, consistency and predictability across various teams developing enterprise applications. By embracing open standards that teams can customize and reuse, it also helps to fend off vendor lock-in.

TOGAF is particularly of interest to enterprise architects, solutions architects, IT architects and software architects. The job of an architect is to ensure the different technology teams across the organization don't hinder each other but instead work seamlessly. They must also ensure their systems can stand the test of time and evolve along with the organization's complexity. TOGAF helps them meet these goals so that they can implement consistency across the technology landscape and provide alignment between various teams.

TOGAF and microservices

As enterprises look to meet aggressive business goals with digital enablement, they increasingly turn to the microservices model of software delivery. However, this distributed, componentized architecture greatly increases complexity and puts entire projects at risk of failure when teams are not completely on board with the operating model. For microservices adoption, a framework like TOGAF can be used to standardize best practices that govern software and IT teams. The approach helps them operationalize the microservices methodology at a large scale.

This was last published in April 2019

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Is TOGAF certification a worthwhile endeavor for enterprise architects and similar job roles?
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