Why IT Architecture is Crucial to the Success of Your Business
Have you thought about your need for an IT Architecture? This Guide explains:
An IT architecture provides the necessary technical foundation for an effective IT strategy, which is the core of any successful modern business strategy.
Specifically, an IT architecture defines the components or building blocks that make up the overall information system. It provides a plan from which products can be procured, and systems developed that will work together to implement the overall system. It thus enables you to manage your IT investment in a way that meets the needs of your business.
An effective IT architecture is critical to business survival and success, and is the indispensable means to achieving competitive advantage through IT. Todays CEOs know that the effective management and exploitation of information through IT is the key to business success. An IT architecture addresses this need, by providing a strategic context for the evolution of the IT system in response to the constantly changing needs of the business environment.
An IT architecture enables you to achieve the right balance between IT efficiency and business innovation. It enables managed innovation within the enterprise. Individual business units can innovate safely in their pursuit of competitive advantage. At the same time, the needs of the organization for an integrated IT strategy are assured, permitting the closest possible synergy across the extended enterprise.
The technical advantages that result from a good IT architecture bring important business benefits, which are clearly visible in the bottom line:
In short, an effective IT architecture can make the difference between business success and failure. By investing in IT architecture, you are investing in:
So you need an IT Architecture. Let us introduce you to TOGAF
TOGAF is an architectural framework - The Open Group Architectural Framework. It is a valuable tool for developing a broad range of different IT architectures. Most importantly, it enables you to design, evaluate, and build the right architecture for your organization. The key to TOGAF is a reliable, proven method - the TOGAF Architecture Development Method (ADM) - for developing an IT architecture that meets the needs of your business.
Why A Framework for IT Architecture?
Using an architectural framework will speed up and simplify architecture development, ensure more complete coverage of the designed solution, and make certain that the architecture selected allows for future growth in response to the needs of the business.
Architecture design is a technically complex process, and the design of heterogeneous, multi-vendor architectures is particularly complex. TOGAF plays an important role in helping to demystify the architecture development process, enabling IT users to build genuinely open systems-based solutions to their business needs.
Why is this important?
Well, those IT users who do not invest in IT architecture typically find themselves pushed inexorably to single-supplier solutions in order to ensure an integrated solution. At that point, no matter how ostensibly open any single suppliers products may be in terms of adherence to standards, the user will be unable to realize the potential benefits of truly heterogeneous, multi-vendor open systems.
TOGAF represents the world's best practice in architecture development:
TOGAF is published by The Open Group on its public web site, and may be reproduced freely by any organization wishing to use it in developing an information systems architecture for use within that organization.
This also has the advantage that a specific customer's suppliers can easily access the underlying methodology and nomenclature when preparing project documents for the customer's consideration.
Customers who design and implement corporate architectures using TOGAF are thus ensured of a design and a procurement specification that will greatly facilitate open systems implementation, and will enable the benefits of open systems to accrue to their organizations with reduced risk.
Specifically, use of TOGAF will:
TOGAF consists of two main parts:
In short, TOGAF provides a common sense, practical, prudent, and effective method of developing an IT architecture.
TOGAF is published by The Open Group on its public Web site, and may be reproduced freely by any organization wishing to use it to develop an information systems architecture for use within that organization.
Basically, information about the benefits and constraints of the existing implementation, together with requirements for change, are combined using the methods described in the TOGAF ADM, resulting in a target architecture or set of architectures.
The TOGAF Standards Information Base (SIB) provides a database of open industry standards that can be used to define the particular services and components required in the products purchased to implement the developed architecture. The SIB provides a simple and highly effective way to procure against an IT architecture.
Let us introduce you also to the Architecture Forum
What Do I Get From Participating in The Open Group's Architecture Forum?
Firstly, immediate access to the results of TOGAF development...
The Open Group's Architecture Forum is the development program within which TOGAF is evolved, and in which TOGAF users come together to exchange information and feedback. By joining the Architecture Forum, its members gain:
...but much, much more:
The Open Group's Architecture Forum does far more than just evolve TOGAF. The Architecture Forum is an open world-wide forum for dialog between customer IT architects, IT architecture tools vendors, and IT solutions vendors, that provides significant value to all its participants.
At the present time the Forum is progressing a number of important complementary projects with the following synergistic goals:
Like TOGAF, this wider program of work offers significant business benefits to all its participants.
Benefits to End Customers:
Benefits to IT Architecture Tools Vendors:
Benefits to IT Solutions Vendors:
1. Review the information on our Web site and download TOGAF for detailed review. The latest version of TOGAF is available free-of-charge at http://www.opengroup.org/public/arch
2. Get in touch with The
Open Group (see contact information
3. Attend a TOGAF Open Day in association with The Open Group Conferences (see http://www.opengroup.org/conference)
4. Join The Open Group at the appropriate Membership level.
5. You may need help from experienced consultants. Contact Open Group staff who can put you in touch with accredited TOGAF consultants to facilitate your Technical Architecture development.
The Open Group is a vendor and technology-neutral consortium committed to delivering greater business efficiency by bringing together buyers and suppliers of information technology to lower the time, cost, and risks associated with integrating new technology across the enterprise.
Its mission is to offer all organizations concerned with open information infrastructures a forum where they can share knowledge, integrate open initiatives, and certify products and processes in a manner in which they continue to trust The Open Groups impartiality.
In the global e-commerce world of today, no single economic entity can achieve independence while still ensuring interoperability. The assurance that products will interoperate with each other across differing systems and platforms is essential to the success of e-commerce and business workflow. The Open Group, with its proven testing and certification program, is the international guarantor of interoperability in the new century.
The Business Value of a Technical IT Architecture
"The value of the technical architecture I think is immense. You just have to look back at the investment decisions that have been made in our or any organization. Hindsight is always easy, but I can tell you we have spent many millions of dollars over the last three years on technologies that were simply incorrect at the time or have been proved incorrect today, because the people who made those decisions did not have an understanding of how those technologies related to the business Frankly we could have developed 5 or 10 technical architectures for the same cost.
The value of a technical architecture is immeasurable, and the cost by comparison, I believe, is almost trivial. It is so significantly valuable to the organization that I cannot conceive in the modern age of any organization going forward without a technical architecture.
When you consider it, any business executive worth employing would tell you they have a business plan that is documented and represents the vision of where the business is going. Why should technology be exempt from that rigor? We need to have a very well considered technical strategy, and a technology governance process, and those two things need to be intrinsically linked to the business strategy. They need to assist and influence the business strategy as much as they are influenced by it, and that really is the role of the technology architecture...
We see some very real business benefits to a technical architecture - and they are expressed not in thousands but millions of dollars - we will bring those savings to the bottom line, there is no doubt about it."
TOGAF Enables Architectures that Address Business Needs
"More and more organizations are struggling to adapt to the rapid pace of technology change and take advantage of such change for business benefit. ...
Because of its open-systems pedigree, however, TOGAF promotes the development of architectures that ensure interoperability, scalability, and portability, all of which are key components in complex e-commerce projects.
TOGAF prescribes architectures that are driven top-down from a business standpoint, not bottom-up from a technical point of view. ...
Applying TOGAF tools enables the production of an architecture that is specific to your organization and its business issues and needs. The resulting architecture becomes the strategic blueprint for implementing solutions. ...
Several excellent technology planning methodologies are commercially available and in the public domain. We have found the Open Group's TOGAF model to be a solid and elegant doctrine for architectural planning. One important characteristic of TOGAF is its full cognizance and support of the organization's business requirements and objectives - which are, in fact, some of the most critical inputs to the planning process. Adaptability is also a key component of TOGAF, making it possible to mold the framework to your organization's specific requirements.
Finally, we maintain that the "business-facing" aspect of TOGAF renders it traceable, justifiable, and, ultimately, a value proposition that many organizations cannot ignore if they wish to adapt and thrive in the epoch of the Internet year."
The Value of TOGAF as an Aid to IT Architecture
"It was very interesting to me to be able find an Architecture Forum within The Open Group that had developed an architecture framework called TOGAF, and a corresponding development method, ADM. After studying the TOGAF document, I decided we could use this as the basis for the Dairy Farm Technical Architecture, and it would cut out from the development process months and months of effort. Not only would it take time out, it would give us a clear path to follow assuring us the degree of success that otherwise would not have been the case.
We decided to supplement the use of TOGAF and the ADM with consultants from The Open Group who were skilled in the use of the technologies associated with TOGAF and the ADM.
A combination of those three things, embodied in a concept which we called the Technical Architecture Program Group, really did an astonishing thing. In a very short time, four months in fact, we produced what I think is really a world class statement of technology architecture.
And I believe that if we had not used TOGAF as the basis and had not used the ADM, and had not the great fortune to meet up with The Open Group and their consultants, we would still have been pretty much at ground zero."
The Value of the TOGAF Architecture Development Method
"Litton PRC has systems engineering processes that are encouraged for use across our organization. One of these processes is for creating and evolving systems architectures. Several years ago, when our Systems Engineering Lead Team created that process, The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF) was used as a key source. Our engineers particularly liked the practical approach of TOGAF's Architecture Development Methodology (ADM) in recognizing that architectures rarely start with a 'blank sheet of paper' and in providing a Building Block approach to defining solutions.
Our customers are usually upgrading existing environments and often require retention of key subsystems or accommodation of enterprise choices of vendor products. Thanks to TOGAF's ADM, we highlighted consideration of constraints and enterprise preferences in our process. We expected to use the process on large programs to facilitate business process reengineering or legacy system migration. However, we find that the architecture process also has real value even when used in amended form on smaller activities.
Using the TOGAF Architecture Development Method
"Using TOGAF accelerated our implementation of architectural and standards setting processes by enabling the rapid adoption of a robust framework for the way we think about architectural domains. Because we rely on this external authoritative way of viewing the problem space we save ourselves the unproductive arguments that we would otherwise have about the best way to do what TOGAF has done for us.
In our major outsourced relationships (approximately A$350m
p.a. of our spend),
Our vendors were very prepared to accept TOGAF as the model even though they have their own proprietary architectural frameworks. This is again a testimony to both the power of the Open Group forum, and the quality of the framework itself.
Use of the model is also working well from a business perspective as we now are taking more time to focus on business requirements before we select products for each of the TOGAF domains. In this mode it is not unusual to find that we already have relevant product capability to meet the business need .... sometimes it is simply the 3rd party product packaging that sells that product, not new and different technical capabilities that the product brings. TOGAF has helped us to create processes and awareness that therefore save us money.
The Value of TOGAF as an Aid to Procurement
Our Corporate IS / IT Architecture Framework (CISITAF) is based on TOGAF. The work done by The Open Group on TOGAF has proved invaluable and enabled us to make more rapid progress in our endeavours.
It has proved useful in a major procurement project to establish new IS/IT supply arrangements with the private sector. Its vendor neutrality supports our shift in emphasis from the definition of products to the purchase of services from multiple service providers. Architecture Views have provided us with an ideal means of eliciting full and comparable descriptions of proposed solutions.
Subject to agreement, it will form the basis of an architecture control service. This is intended to ensure the integration and interoperation of systems from different sources and choice of supply channels.
Quite simply, the CISITAF is a key aspect of our evolving partnership with our suppliers.
How Was TOGAF Created?
TOGAF was developed by
The original development of
The DoD gave The Open
Starting from this sound
TOGAF - The Pre-Eminent Methodology and Framework for Architecture
"TOGAF is the pre-eminent enterprise architecture methodology. Importantly it is open source, with no license fees - organizations can use it freely to develop their own internal enterprise architectures. Continuously developed over the last 7 years, TOGAF combines the best of the academic, commercial and government thinking on enterprise architectures.
As an organization we have used it with financial services, retail, government and defence clients, in Asia, USA, and Europe, and on projects ranging from whole enterprise architectures through to major system procurement. In all cases we have found that its use significantly reduces time, costs and risks.
Being open source, the methodology is transparent, verifiable and defensible - we have found these are very valuable attributes in highly politicized environments with competing architectures jockeying for CIO/CEO mind share."
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