Enterprise Architecture Standard Aligns People, Business Processes and Technology

Loraine Lawson

TOGAF, the Open Group’s standard for enterprise architecture (EA) methodology and framework, is no longer just a tool for better IT systems. It’s become a method for aligning business and IT by integrating people, processes and technology, Sven van Dijk (@Vandijk_S), a consultant with BiZZdesign, explained to IT Business Edge’s Loraine Lawson. Van Dijk has worked with a number of large enterprises to enact enterprise architecture using the TOGAF standard, and will share his experience at the Open Group’s first conference of the year, which will be in Newport Beach, California, Jan. 28-31.

Lawson: What particularly caught my eye was the part about TOGAF as a tool for organizing people, processes and technology in an integrated way. I think a lot of IT people know about integrating technology and organizing it, but how does TOGAF support organizing people and processes?

van Dijk: My presentation is really about how can organizations use enterprise architecture. I think the point of enterprise architecture is to attain an integrated view on the organization and with ‘integrated,’ I mean not only focusing on technology, but also integrate people and processes with that.

One important aspect of the TOGAF standards, the Open Group’s architecture framework, that helps organizations do enterprise architecture in an effective way is that TOGAF, as standards, really includes the people aspect as well as the process aspect as well as the technology aspect in its framework. So by following the TOGAF standards, you can take into account in your enterprise architecture the three aspects: people, processes and technology.

Lawson: Now, when you say the standard includes support for those, does it walk you through each aspect of those? How does it support that? What is it about it that makes it useful?

van Dijk: The core of the TOGAF standards is actually its ADM, the architecture development method. This method is a complete process of how to do architecture starting from the strategy level, and it takes you along all the important domains toward the level of implementation.

The TOGAF ADM consists of a number of phases, process steps that you take. In the beginning phases, these are about the strategy and aligning the strategy with goals for the enterprise architecture. In these phases, the TOGAF standard supports the organization to engage people, the stakeholders that have an interest in that enterprise architecture. It involves them in the process and in the subsequent phases, TOGAF circles through various architectures starting at the business level or the business architecture, then into application architecture, and then in technology architecture. In this way, it aligns based on the concerns of the stakeholders that were identified in the earlier phase and integrated enterprise architecture that connects business processes, information technology in terms of application and data, and also the technology aspects in terms of the hardware, the servers and everything that’s needed to actually execute that enterprise architecture.

So by using the ADM and following the standards, you engage the most important stakeholders and align this with the enterprise architecture going from business to the level of technology.

Lawson: You're a consultant for enterprise architecture, so do you work with organizations to implement this?

van Dijk: Yes, so I work for a company called BiZZdesign and BiZZdesign is a leader in enterprise architecture developments. We offer tooling, we offer also consultancy and we help organizations implement enterprise architecture in their organizations based on best practices and standards, particularly TOGAF.

In my work for BiZZdesign, I was involved in various engagements where we helped organizations do enterprise architecture and leverage the TOGAF standards for that. In this presentation, I really want to share my experiences on how to do that and so that’s also why my presentation is called, “Implementing TOGAF: Where to Start?”

We want to use it, we want to implement it, but where do we start?

So in my presentation, I really want to share experiences of how to implement TOGAF, what are characteristics of implementing TOGAF. I will also actually go into a specific case where I was involved in helping implementing TOGAF in a large organization in the telecommunications industry.

Lawson: Is it usually very large organizations that use TOGAF? For CIOs or EAs looking at this and thinking about engaging with TOGAF, what size organizations benefit from this?

van Dijk: TOGAF really was designed for a generic level, so potentially every enterprise can benefit from TOGAF. Large enterprises, but also smaller enterprises—all organizations that really look for the question, “So how do we adapt ourselves to our changing environments?”

All those organizations can benefit from enterprise architecture in general and standards more specifically to help them address these questions. And because TOGAF is generic, one of the key points actually is also to tailor the standards to the organization specifics.  If you're a small organization, you probably won’t need, in the beginning, all the aspects of the TOGAF standards.

TOGAF is very big. The advantage is that TOGAF is very complete. So the key to using TOGAF effectively is really to tailor it to your organization, select the elements from the TOGAF standards that you really can benefit from and start out with those.

Lawson: Businesses have been involved in a lot of sort of major disciplines over the years, like TQM and Six Sigma and these sort of things. Is TOGAF like that? It sounds a little intimidating and heavy, like it would be difficult to support. What would you say to CIOs who are skeptical about trying TOGAF? What’s the benefit?

van Dijk: I would actually say that TOGAF, as opposed to those approaches and methodologies that you mentioned, actually is a standard that includes many of those lower-level standards. Right? You should look at TOGAF, I think, more like a toolkit, and in your toolkit there are a number of techniques and a number of tools that you actually can use to address questions on an enterprise level.

So business process improvements using Six Sigma could be a focus area and you could focus on that. But if you want to do that in a more integrated way and in a more aligned way, aligning this with the people and with applications that support these processes, you can look at the TOGAF framework as a standard where you can place this effort, using Six Sigma to improve your processes in an enterprise context.

That is how I use TOGAF mostly in these engagements with organizations. Sometimes you already see that organizations do a lot of stuff to improve parts of the organization, maybe the technology landscape or they're creating a roadmap for applications. I’d use the TOGAF standard more to align all these separate initiatives and really place them into a context where the organization can derive more value from integrating these separate initiatives with each other.

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