TOGAF is a framework - a detailed method and a set of supporting tools - for developing an enterprise architecture. It enables one to design, evaluate, and build the right architecture for an organization.
Before going to the new features in TOGAF 8, I would like to recap what an architecture is and what an architecture framework means
"A formal description of a system, or a detailed plan of the system at component level to guide its implementation.
The structure of components, their interrelationships, and the principles and guidelines governing their design and evolution over time." is the interpretation of Architecture in TOGAF against the definition of architecture in ANSI/IEEE Std 1471-2000 which says is : "the fundamental organization of a system, embodied in its components, their relationships to each other and the environment, and the principles governing its design and evolution."
At the present time TOGAF embraces but does not strictly adhere to ANSI/IEEE Std 1471-2000 terminology.
The primary reason for developing an enterprise architecture is to support the business by providing the fundamental technology and process structure for an IT strategy. This in turn makes IT a responsive asset for a successful modern business strategy.
An architecture framework is a tool which can be used for developing a broad range of different architectures. It should describe a method for designing an information system in terms of a set of building blocks, and for showing how the building blocks fit together. It should contain a set of tools and provide a common vocabulary. It should also include a list of recommended standards and compliant products that can be used to implement the building blocks.
We will need a Framework for an enterprise architecture because using an architecture 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.
What's New in TOGAF Version 8 :
Version 8 sees the most significant revision to TOGAF since the original publication of TOGAF Version 1 in 1995.
TOGAF Version 8 is the "Enterprise Edition" of TOGAF - a migration of the previous, well established framework from its focus on Technology Architecture to a focus on overall Enterprise Architecture. In addition to numerous additions directly relevant to this enhanced scope, the following other significant new items are included in TOGAF Version 8:
- The Architecture Development Method (ADM) has been significantly expanded to address the development of an overall Enterprise Architecture, including Business, Data, and Applications Architecture in addition to Technology Architecture.
- A new Reference Model supporting the Boundaryless Information Flow vision is included in Part III of TOGAF.
- The TOGAF Enterprise Continuum is integrated much more closely into the TOGAF Architecture Development method, as a "virtual repository" of reusable architecture building blocks and assets, both within an individual organization and within the IT industry at large.
- A detailed mapping of the Architecture Development Method of TOGAF Enterprise Edition to the well known Zachman Framework has been added to Part IV, Resource Base.
- A new section on Architecture Contracts has been added to Part IV, Resource Base.
- A new section on generic evaluation criteria for architecture tools has been added to Part IV, Resource Base.