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What Is TOGAF? The Open Group Architecture Framework

Jul 16, 2020 by Bunny Tharpe

The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF) is a type of enterprise architecture (EA) framework.

In this post, we’ll cover:

What Is TOGAF?

TOGAF is one example of an enterprise architecture framework.

Enterprise architecture frameworks help organizations regulate the methods and language used to create, describe and administer changes to an enterprise’s architecture.

Where enterprise architecture is concerned, an “enterprise” refers to any organization or groups of organizations working toward a common goal. Therefore, The Open Group’s framework and other (but not all) EA frameworks are used in organizations ranging from businesses to government agencies.

In this context, “architecture” refers to the systems and assets available to an enterprise.

Therefore, enterprise architecture involves an organization’s efforts to describe the systems and assets available, the relationships between them, and making changes to them.

An EA framework is a methodology that can be used to achieve the above.

History of TOGAF

The Open Group Architecture Framework was introduced in 1995 and initially drew heavily from the Technical Architecture Framework for Information Management (TAFIM), used by the U.S. Department of Defense.

Numerous iterations have been introduced since then, with many of today’s enterprises using TOGAF 9.2, launched in April 2018.

TOGAF Architecture Development Method

At the heart of The Open Group’s Framework is the Architecture Development Method (ADM).

ADM is a proven methodology for the development of an IT architecture to meet business needs. It helps organizations bridge the gap between the framework to a more organization-specific view of the EA.

ADM serves as a good starting point for enterprise architecture Kanban boards as it provides an EA lifecycle for developing concepts.

Below is an example of The Open Group’s ADM:


Each phase in the ADM contains concepts and deliverables that can be represented as a stage in a Kanban board. This is demonstrated in the following example:


The Benefits of TOGAF

TOGAF was built to enable organizations to achieve their goals in a cost-effective manner.

As with other frameworks, it is an attempt to standardize development efforts to encourage a process that works, can be replicated and reduces errors.

The benefits of TOGAF include:

  • Efficiency in communicating and changing EA
  • Standardization, preventing EA information silos
  • Adaptability, evolving over time to reflect changes in the way we do business and refining the methods that already exist within the framework
  • Globally recognized and affordable certification
  • Versatility with applications within any organization regardless of industry or size

Is TOGAF Free?

The Open Group’s framework is free, although they specify that it is for “non-commercial purposes.”

Organizations that wish to use TOGAF 9.2 for commercial purposes, must have a TOGAF Standard, Version 9.2 Annual Commercial License.


The Open Group’s framework is well-established as one of the most popular EA frameworks, owed in large part to its potential range of applications.

Even in cases with similar nomenclature, this versatility doesn’t apply to all frameworks.

The Open Group’s framework is largely application-agnostic, but frameworks such as the Department of Defense Architecture Framework (DODAF), the Ministry of Defense Architecture Framework (MODAF), and the NATO Architecture Framework (NAF) are EA frameworks drafted by and for specific institutions.

Implementing an EA Framework

Considering the benefits, it’s no surprise that many organizations have implemented or are implementing an EA framework.

To do so, organizations introduce enterprise architecture management suites (EAMS).

An EAMS or an enterprise architecture tool is used to formalize the management of an enterprise’s architecture.

One such enterprise architecture tool is erwin Evolve.

erwin Evolve users enjoy an EA tool with wide ranging support for enterprise architecture frameworks as well as:

  • A host of collaboration-friendly features
  • High-performance, scalable and centralized repository
  • Harmony between business process and enterprise architecture use cases

For more enterprise architecture education and information on enterprise architecture frameworks and methods, download the free e-book:

Enterprise Architecture and Innovation Management: How to Move from Ideas to Delivery with Agility” was written by industry experts Martin Owen and Alan Burnett.

The erwin Experts' Definitive Guide to Enterprise Architecture

A guide to the enterprise architecture techniques and best practices the erwin Experts have seen benefit clients during the past 20 years.

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Martin has led the ArchiMate and UML mapping initiatives at The Open Group and is part of the capability-based planning standards team.

Alan was part of the ArchiMate and TOGAF harmonization team at The Open Group.