TOGAF: Interoperability Requirements

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Defining Interoperability

There are different ways of defining interoperability. Here are 3 ways of looking at it.


Many organizations find it useful to categorize interoperability as follows:

  • Operational or Business Interoperability defines how business processes are to be shared.
  • Information Interoperability defines how information is to be shared.
  • Technical Interoperability defines how technical services are to be shared or at least connect to one another.

From an IT perspective, it is also useful to consider interoperability in a similar vein to Enterprise Application Integration (EAI); specifically:

  • Presentation Integration/Interoperability is where a common look-and-feel approach through a common portal-like solution guides the user to the underlying functionality of the set of systems.
  • Information Integration/Interoperability is where the corporate information is seamlessly shared between the various corporate applications to achieve, for example, a common set of client information. Normally this is based upon a commonly accepted corporate ontology and shared services for the structure, quality, access, and security/privacy for the information.
  • Application Integration/Interoperability is where the corporate functionality is integrated and shareable so that the applications are not duplicated (e.g., one change of address service/component; not one for every application) and are seamlessly linked together through functionality such as workflow. This impacts the business and infrastructure applications and is very closely linked to corporate business process unification/interoperability.
  • Technical Integration/Interoperability includes common methods and shared services for the communication, storage, processing, and access to data primarily in the application platform and communications infrastructure domains. This interoperability is premised upon the degree of rationalization of the corporate IT infrastructure, based upon standards and/or common IT platforms. For example, multiple applications sharing one infrastructure or 10,000 corporate web sites using one centralized content management/web server (rather than thousands of servers and webmasters spread throughout the country/globe).

A custom interoperability model defined by the Canadian government is:

  • Information Interoperability:
    • Knowledge management
    • Business intelligence
    • Information management
    • Trusted identity
  • Business Interoperability:
    • Delivery networks
    • e-Democracy
    • e-Business
    • Enterprise resource management
    • Relationship and case management
  • Technical Interoperability:
    • IT infrastructure


Enterprise Operating Model

Refining Interoperability

Determine Interoperability Requirements

Reconciling Interoperability Requirements with Potential Solutions

Related ADM Guidelines & Techniques