Survey Finds Enterprise Architecture Teams in North America Are Slow To Adopt TOGAF: TOGAF's Effectiveness in Question

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EAdirections released findings regarding the effectiveness of TOGAF in North America. The findings were based on survey data collected from 135 points of participation in an EAdirections webinar entitled "Putting the 'E' in TOGAF". The participants were almost entirely North American with 95.6% of the attendees from the U.S. or Canada. EAdirections published four major findings from the survey data.

Putting the 'E' in TOGAF

EAdirections released findings regarding the effectiveness of TOGAF in North America. The findings were based on survey data collected from 135 points of participation in an EAdirections webinar entitled "Putting the 'E' in TOGAF". The webinar was presented in September 2008 in conjunction with IIR, the sponsor of the Enterprise Architectures Conference. The webinar analyzed challenges in applying TOGAF to enterprise-wide architecture efforts and made specific recommendations on strategies that can make TOGAF, or any other EA framework more effective at an enterprise level.

The participants were almost entirely North American with 95.6% of the attendees from the U.S. or Canada. The vast majority were large private sector organizations, including companies from the financial services, aerospace, telecommunications, manufacturing, energy, and various manufacturing industries. In addition, there were attendees from the public sector and higher education.

Larry R. DeBoever, a Managing Director of EAdirections commented, "We were surprised at the number of companies that joined the webinar which indicates the interest in this issue. While TOGAF is rich in content, our experience mentoring clients to increase their effectiveness has led us to the conclusion that TOGAF does not provide adequate guidance on analyzing and presenting an enterprise view, linking EA to overall business strategy, addressing issues of culture and politics, sequencing and prioritizing EA tasks, or communicating EA deliverables to leadership."

"We surveyed the webinar participants at the beginning of the webinar to get a better understanding of their experience with TOGAF," said George S. Paras, a Managing Director of EAdirections. "We didn't expect the results to be as insightful as they were."

EAdirections published four major findings from the survey data.

Finding #1: The majority of organizations in North America do not use TOGAF. Among those that do use TOGAF, only 16.4% use TOGAF as their primary enterprise architecture (EA) framework. Almost two-thirds of those that report they use TOGAF (65.6%) use it as a reference tool.

Less than half of the participants, 45.2%, report that they use TOGAF in any form. Among those who report they use TOGAF:

  •     16.4% use TOGAF as their primary EA framework
  •     18.0% use certain pieces of TOGAF
  •     65.6% use TOGAF as a reference tool

Finding #2: Only 11.1% of TOGAF users described TOGAF as "very effective" for solution architecture efforts. The remainder described TOGAF as "somewhat effective" or "mostly ineffective" for solution architecture.

"This finding was very surprising," said Tim Westbrock, a Managing Director of EA of EAdirections. "Frankly, we feel that TOGAF's strengths are in solution architecture where there are clearly articulated, bounded requirements. I think what these results may indicate are the challenges leveraging TOGAF as it is a very complex document and the sections do not always link well to each other."

Finding #3: Only 6.7% of TOGAF users described TOGAF as "very effective" for enterprise-wide architecture efforts. The remainder described TOGAF as "somewhat effective" or "mostly ineffective" enterprise-wide architecture.

"This finding is at the core of why we held the webinar and our experience working with clients," said Mr. DeBoever. "Despite TOGAF's comprehensiveness and great reference models, there is very little guidance on how EA teams should approach the top-down, business strategy-driven, holistic, unbounded issues that exist at an enterprise level."

Finding #4: It appears that, among webinar participants, the more a firm relies on TOGAF, the more likely they are to evaluate TOGAF as "effective". The opposite also appears to be true.

  •     Of those that use TOGAF as their primary EA framework, 28.6% describe TOGAF as "very effective" for solution architecture and 14.3% describe TOGAF as "very effective" for enterprise-wide architecture
  •     Of those that use selected portions of TOGAF, 22.2% describe TOGAF as "very effective" for solution architecture and 11.1% describe TOGAF as "very effective" for enterprise-wide architecture
  •     Of those that use TOGAF as their reference model, none describe TOGAF as "very effective" for either solution architecture or enterprise-wide architecture

"TOGAF is an important contribution to enterprise architecture," said Mr. Westbrock. "We expect that The Open Group will continue to extend and expand TOGAF's content well beyond the upcoming release of version 9.0. Hopefully, they will address some of these issues we have been talking about in our role as 'loyal opposition'."

A podcast of the webinar, copies of the presentation and answers to participant questions can be access at http://www.EAdirections.com.

About EAdirections

EAdirections is a relationship-based research and advisory company focused on improving the effectiveness of EA teams, IT leaders, and business executives. Our managing directors are world-renowned experts in the discipline of enterprise architecture. With over 50 years of combined experience as consultants, analysts, and enterprise architects, we are uniquely positioned to deliver world-class support to your Enterprise Architecture, Business and IT strategic planning, Business Transformation and Innovation efforts. EAdirections satisfies the market demand for practical, objective and immediate real-world EA advice at an affordable cost. The company is headquartered in Cincinnati and can be found of the web at http://www.EAdirections.com.

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Larry R. DeBoever
EAdirections
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