enterprise architecture framework comparison

Enterprise Architecture Framework Comparison: Which Is Right for You?

There’s no one-size-fits-all in business and this is exemplified by the number of different enterprise architecture frameworks there are. These frameworks all have similar goals – to make enterprises more efficient, but they go about it in very different ways.

With so many different architecture frameworks to choose from, which is the right one for you?

We take a look at your options with this enterprise architecture framework comparison. 

What Is Enterprise Architecture Framework?

Enterprise architecture frameworks are systems that are designed to reduce complexity and make businesses more efficient. They define how enterprise architecture should be implemented, and provide principles on which architecture can be built.

It sets a blueprint for how enterprise architecture should be analyzed, planned, designed, and implemented. 

There are many different enterprise architecture frameworks that are used throughout the world, each build on slightly different principles. Each system has its own benefits and drawbacks, and many businesses will find they draw on elements of different frameworks. 

Four of the most commonly used frameworks tend to be TOGAF, Zachman, FEAF, and DoDAF. We’ve created an enterprise architecture framework comparison to look at the merits of each framework.

4 Common Enterprise Architecture Frameworks

Frameworks are simply a way of thinking about enterprise architecture. Each enterprise is unique, so they will approach these frameworks differently and have slightly different requirements. 

This enterprise architecture framework comparison will help you see the benefits and drawbacks of each one.

The Open Group Architectural Framework (TOGAF)

TOGAF is the most widely used enterprise architecture framework and accounts for over 80 percent of business framework structures

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Alt Text: TOGAF – enterprise architecture framework comparison

It’s an extremely reliable framework that ensures consistent standards, methods, and communication. Enterprise architects who excel at the TOGAF are highly respected within the industry and enable their clients to utilize their resources more efficiently, realizing greater returns on investment. 

Pros 

  • Interoperability
  • Knowledge Repository
  • Standards

Cons

  • Maturity Assessment

The Zachman Framework

The Zachman Framework provides a comprehensive architecture enterprise framework that goes beyond IT. It suggests structural connections that can fit any aspect of an enterprise. 

This framework focuses on six foci: data, function, network, people, time, and motivation, and six perspectives: planner, owner, designer, builder, subcontractor, and enterprise. The ways these focuses interconnect and come together give a powerful insight into how a business operates. 

By understanding how each point connects to the others, you create a powerful framework that allows you to streamline and optimize your operations. 

Pros

  • Taxonomy

Cons

  • Business/ IT Strategic Alignment
  • Business Architecture
  • Reference Models

Federal Enterprise Architectural Framework (FEA)

FEA, an enterprise architecture framework created by the US Federal Government is something of a cross between the Zachman Framework and TOGAF. 

It aims to combine the great taxonomy of the Zachman framework with the interoperability, knowledge repository, and standards of TOGAF using five reference models. 

These five reference models: business, service, components, technical, and data were used to restructure right at the top of the US government, and the framework has been widely implemented by many other businesses around the world. 

Pros

  • Reference Models
  • Maturity Assessments
  • Interoperability

Cons

  • Business/ IT Strategic Alignment
  • Business Architecture

Department of Defense Architecture Framework (DoDAF)

The DoDAF enterprise architecture framework was developed by the US Department of Defense in the mid-2000s. It provides visualization infrastructure through tabular, structural, behavioral, ontological, pictorial, temporal, graphical, probabilistic, or alternative conceptual means. 

https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/skyscraper-network-connection-concept-538335931

Alt Text: DoDAF – enterprise architecture framework

This system is well suited to large enterprises with a central focus on operational views that offers a detailed overview to key stakeholders. 

The DoDaF framework starts with clearly defined operational views, then creates specific products that describe them, before implementing the steps needed to develop the chosen deliverables. 

Pros

  • Governance 
  • Interoperability
  • Standards

Cons

  • Business/ IT Strategic Alignment
  • Business Architecture

Conclusion: Enterprise Architecture Frameworks

The complicated nature of business means there will be lots of different enterprise architecture frameworks that offer value. When choosing a framework to learn or implement, it’s often a good idea to choose a holistic approach. 

Every framework has some areas where it excels and others where it has slight blind spots, and this is why the more you learn the different frameworks, the more innovative solutions you will be able to come up with. 

As a starting point, it’s hard to beat the TOGAF framework though. Its holistic approach has seen it become the industry standard in enterprise architecture and it has very few weaknesses. This makes it a natural starting point for would-be enterprise architects. 

Join our practical hands-on enterprise architecture training. 

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