These days, enterprise architecture (EA) is virtually synonymous with the TOGAF framework. TOGAF has set a global standard in EA over several decades, to the extent that the majority of the world’s largest companies now utilize the framework. And with the drive for digital transformation going stronger than ever, there is no sign that this is about to change.
A large part of TOGAF’s strength is that it has been updated on a fairly regular basis in order to keep up with developments in business and IT. This is essential, given IT’s prominence in the Digital Age and its capacity to make or break a business’s ability to generate value. The recent pandemic has only made IT more of a strategic asset, and TOGAF practitioners are eagerly looking to the Open Group for the next big official update.
The current version of TOGAF, TOGAF 9.2, was released back in 2018. Since then, the Open Group has made several updates to the TOGAF Library and has even addressed how popular topics like digital transformation relate to TOGAF. However, as far as new developments go, there has not been a new comprehensive version of TOGAF to tie them all together.
So, is TOGAF 10 or TOGAF 9.3 on the horizon? And, if so, what do we know so far?
When will the next TOGAF come out?
While there have been several rumors about the next version of TOGAF, none are very reliable. Take a look online, and you will see that people have even been asking about TOGAF 10 since before version 9.2 was released.
As far as the next full version of TOGAF is concerned, it seems that the Open Group is keeping its cards close to its chest. However, that does not mean that there have not been developments with TOGAF or wider Open Group EA projects as a whole.
The future of TOGAF
There have been a few developments in the world of EA since 2018, and the Open Group has not been sitting idly:
- In 2020, it released the ‘Architect’s Toolkit’, “a portfolio of the most pertinent” tools “for Architects together in one place.”
- The Open Group is also set to release TOGAF guides throughout 2021. These will focus on how to use TOGAF in different environments and in a way that complements other frameworks.
However, by far the biggest development in the world of EA has been ‘Agile enterprise architecture’. As a management philosophy, Agile encourages greater flexibility and autonomy for teams, combined with incremental targets that allow for short-term gains and adaptability. As more businesses use Agile on a large scale, the need to marry its speed with the control and visibility of EA has increased. It is even arguable that speedy and responsive Agile teams can enable architectural transformation far more quickly than those using traditional management. This, in turn, has led to a sizable demand for a demonstrably effective Agile enterprise architecture framework.
This has not gone unnoticed by the minds behind TOGAF. In an interview with TechTarget, CEO and President of the Open Group, Steve Nunn, stressed that “there is absolutely nothing about the TOGAF standard that can’t be used in an Agile way.”
“There’s a perception there are all these steps or phases to go through, and it’s heavyweight. But we have plenty of evidence of how it can be used in timeframes that are completely consistent with Agile approaches, scrums, standups and all sorts of those approaches. So, you’ll see more guidance about how TOGAF can be used in that way coming out from us over the course of this year.”
The Open Group also chose to address the need for Agile EA with a new framework, ‘Open Agile Architecture (OAA)’.
What is Open Agile Architecture (OAA)?
The Open Group has not just been talking about TOGAF itself in an Agile context. In September 2020, it announced the ‘Open Agile Architecture (OAA) standard’, which fully embraces Agile EA and offers valuable guidance for applying it in an Agile digital context.
Andrew Josey, Vice President of Standards and Certification, stated: “In today’s business environment where everything is digital, the need for organizations to demonstrate agility is a priority. Agile teams drive Digital Transformation within organizations by inventing new business models, delivering a superior customer experience, and building digital products and highly automated operating models.”
“Yet, in a lot of cases, deploying Agile at scale comes at the expense of architecture, causing a number of business-critical set-backs,” Josey continued. “In reality, Enterprise Architecture is crucial to the transition to an Agile, digital-first culture – and must be made a main focus throughout the process.”
The press release continued: “Enterprises utilizing O-AA will benefit from the provision of a proven change management approach, helping key stakeholders navigate the shift towards business agility and accelerate Digital Transformation. By delivering guidance on Agile strategy and governance, it also enables organizations to build business resilience and safeguard against future disruption. In addition, by leveraging Design Thinking and Artificial Intelligence, the standard allows enterprises to effectively transform both the customer and employee experience.”
OAA is designed to enable businesses to pursue complex and controlled enterprise architecture initiatives at an Agile pace. It also takes a decidedly human-centric approach, working to embed Agile practices within a business for the sake of facilitating EA. Finally, OAA will also introduce its own vocabulary, which, given the popularity of the Open Group, is sure to prove crucial for career enterprise architects moving forwards.
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