TOGAF® and BIAN – A strong proposition for the Banking Industry

By Thomas Obitz, KPMG

Earlier this year, a working group led by Paul Bonnie, ING and I published a white paper on the integration of TOGAF® and BIAN, the framework of the Banking Industry Architecture Network. Gartner even suggested that the white paper greatly aids the big problem of arriving at a consistent reference model for banks. So how does a white paper help practicing architects in banks?

Every enterprise architect knows the two most difficult questions in a complex transformation initiative: How to describe the architecture of an organization – how to break down its functions and services, and arrive at a model which makes sense to everybody; and where to get started – what needs to be done, and how do the outputs fit together?

For this second question, the industry has pretty much agreed on the answer – TOGAF. It is a best practice process with a tremendous acceptance in the market place. However, it is industry independent, and, therefore, will not provide any models describing the specifics of a bank, or even the banking IT landscape. This gap of vertical content is a significant hurdle when attempting to get architecture initiatives off the ground.

Looking at our options within The Open Group Architecture Forum to address this challenge, creating industry-specific variants of the TOGAF framework would have stretched resources a bit too thin – and so the Architecture Forum decided to find a partner to collaborate with. We found it in BIAN.

BIAN, the Banking Industry Architecture Network, publishes a reference model for the services required as building blocks in the IT landscape of a bank. Like TOGAF, it leverages the experience of its members to identify best practices, and it has the support of major banks, leading software vendors and consultancies. The current services landscape has reached a certain level of maturity, describing more than 250 services.

The white paper describes how TOGAF and BIAN fit together, and where and how to use the BIAN collateral. Adapting the frameworks together yields several key benefits:

  • The services landscape provides architects with a canvas to structure the IT landscape, to map their inherent challenges, and scope solutions quickly. Hence, it speeds up activities in the time critical mobilization phase of a transformation initiative and helps to keep momentum.
  • Once a solution has been scoped in alignment with the services landscape, vendors supporting the BIAN reference model can provide components that implement the services. Consequently, it helps in the process of vendor selection.
  • As the responsibilities of components and the business objects exchanged between them are defined, integration between components of the landscape becomes much easier, reducing integration cost and complexity.

In a recent engagement with a retail bank, I used the services landscape as the starting point for the analysis of the challenges the bank was facing and to map out potential solutions. It allowed the team to start out quickly with a structure that was accepted and natural.

So when you are looking for an approach to making a large transformation initiative fly – have a look at our paper, and use it as a tool for making your life easier. And please do give us feedback on your experiences with it via email or in the comments section of this blog post.


Thomas Obitz is a Principal Advisor with KPMG LLP in London. Building on more than 20 years of experience in the IT industry, he acts primarily as a lead architect of major initiatives, as an enterprise architect, and a business architect. He has more than 13 years of experience in the Financial Services industry, with a strong focus on Investment Banking and Capital Markets. 

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One response to “TOGAF® and BIAN – A strong proposition for the Banking Industry

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