Please click on a letter below to show definitions for words starting with that letter:



The technique of providing summarized or generalized descriptions of detailed and complex content.
Abstraction, as in “level of abstraction”, can also mean providing a focus for analysis that is concerned with a consistent and common level of detail or abstraction. Abstraction in this sense is typically used in architecture to allow a consistent level of definition and understanding to be achieved in each area of the architecture in order to support effective communication and decision-making. It is especially useful when dealing with large and complex architectures as it allows relevant issues to be identified before further detail is attempted.


Access Control.


ACME is a simple, generic software architecture description language.


Association Control Service Element.


A task or collection of tasks that support the functions of an organization. For example, a user entering data into an IT system or traveling to visit customers.


A person, organization, or system that has a role that initiates or interacts with activities; for example, a sales representative who travels to visit customers. Actors may be internal or external to an organization. In the automotive industry, an original equipment manufacturer would be considered an actor by an automotive dealership that interacts with its supply chain activities.


High-level computer programming language developed by the US Department of Defence (DoD). Ada is used as the standard programming language for DoD. It is used for real-time processing, is modular in nature, and includes object-oriented features.


Architecture Description Language – is the generic term for a language that provides a common interchange format for the exchange of information between architectural design and analysis tools.


Architecture Development Method


Architecture Description Mark-up Language – is the ADL being promoted by The Open Group to encourage the open exchange of architectural information between different architecture tool sets.


American National Standards Institute.


See ‘Application Program Interface’.


See ‘Application Portability Profile’.


A deployed and operational IT system that supports business functions and services; for example, a payroll. Applications use data and are supported by multiple technology components but are distinct from the technology components that support the application.

Application Architecture

. A description of the structure and interaction of the applications as groups of capabilities that provide key business functions and manage the data assets.

Application Platform

The collection of technology components of hardware and software that provide the services used to support applications.

Application Portability Profile (APP)

The NIST APP is the structure that integrates US Federal, national, international, and other specifications to provide the functionality necessary to accommodate the broad range of US Federal information technology requirements.

Application Program Interface (API)

(1) The interface or set of functions, between application software and/or the application platform.
(2) The most common means by which a software programmer invokes other software functions.

Application Software

Software entities which have a specific business purpose.


Ada Programming Support Environment.

Architectural Style

The combination of distinctive features in which architecture is performed or expressed.


(1) 1. A formal description of a system, or a detailed plan of the system at component level, to guide its implementation (source: ISO/IEC 42010:2007).
(2) 2. The structure of components, their inter-relationships, and the principles and guidelines governing their design and evolution over time.

Architecture, Baseline

The existing system architecture before entering a cycle of architecture review and redesign.

Architecture Building Block (ABB)

A constituent of the architecture model that describes a single aspect of the overall model.

Architecture Continuum

A part of the Enterprise Continuum. A repository of architectural elements with increasing detail and specialization. This Continuum begins with foundational definitions like reference models, core strategies, and basic building blocks. From there it spans to Industry Architectures and all the way to an organization’s specific architecture.

Architecture, Database

The logical view of the data models, data standards, and data structure. It includes a definition of the physical databases for the information system, their performance requirements, and their geographical distribution.

Architecture Development Method (ADM)

The core of TOGAF. A step-by-step approach to develop and use an enterprise architecture.

Architecture Domain

The architectural area being considered. There are four architecture domains within TOGAF: business, data, application, and technology.

Architecture Framework

A conceptual structure used to develop, implement, and sustain an architecture.

Architecture Governance

The practice and orientation by which enterprise architectures and other architectures are managed and controlled at an enterprise-wide level. It is concerned with change processes (design governance) and operation of product systems (operational governance).

Architecture Landscape

The architectural representation of assets in use, or planned, by the enterprise at particular points in time.

Architecture Principle

A qualitative statement of intent that should be met by the architecture. Has at least a supporting rationale and a measure of importance.

Architecture, Target

Depicts the configuration of the target information system.

Architecture View

A perspective from which an architecture may be viewed in order to ensure that a specific topic is considered in a coherent manner – e.g. Security.
See ‘View’.

Architecture Vision

(1) A succinct description of the Target Architecture that describes its business value and the changes to the enterprise that will result from its successful deployment. It serves as an aspirational vision and a boundary for detailed architecture development.
(2) A phase in the ADM which delivers understanding and definition of the Architecture Vision.
(3) A specific deliverable describing the Architecture Vision.


An architectural work product that describes an aspect of the architecture.


Abstract Syntax Notation.


Active Server Pages


The probability that system functional capabilities are ready for use by a user at any time, where all time is considered, including operations, repair, administration, and logistic time. Availability is further defined by system category for both routine and priority operations.


Base-level functions

Initial or basic functions.


A specification that has been formally reviewed and agreed upon, that thereafter serves as the basis for further development or change and that can be changed only through formal change control procedures or a type of procedure such as configuration management.

Baseline Architecture

The existing defined system architecture before entering a cycle of architecture review and redesign.

Batch processing

Processing data or the accomplishment of jobs accumulated in advance in such a manner that each accumulation thus formed is processed or accomplished in the same computer run.

Boundaryless Information Flow

(1) A trademark of The Open Group.
(2) A shorthand representation of “access to integrated information to support business process improvements” representing a desired state of an enterprise’s infrastructure specific to the business needs of the organization.
An infrastructure that provides Boundaryless Information Flow has open standard components that provide services in a customer’s extended enterprise that:
– Combine multiple sources of information
– Securely deliver the information whenever and wherever it is needed, in the right context for the people or systems using that information.

Building Block

A specification that has been formally reviewed and agreed upon, that thereafter serves as the basis for further development or change and that can be changed only through formal change control procedures or a type of procedure such as configuration management.
Building blocks can be defined at various levels of detail, depending on what stage of architecture development has been reached. For instance, at an early stage, a building block can simply consist of a name or an outline description. Later on, a building block may be decomposed into multiple supporting building blocks and may be accompanied by a full specification. Building blocks can relate to “architectures” or “solutions”.

Business Architecture

A description of the structure and interaction between the business strategy, organization, functions, business processes, and information needs.

Business Domain

A grouping of coherent business functions and activities (in the context of a business sector) over which meaningful responsibility can be taken. For example, Finance, Human Resources (HR), Automobile Manufacturing, Retail, etc. The phrase is often used to identify specific business knowledge (a business domain expert).

Business Function

Delivers business capabilities closely aligned to an organization, but not necessarily explicitly governed by the organization.

Business Governance

Concerned with ensuring that the business processes and policies (and their operation) deliver the business outcomes and adhere to relevant business regulation.

Business Service

Supports business capabilities through an explicitly defined interface and is explicitly governed by an organization.

Business scenario

A technique that may be used prior to, and as a key input to, the development of the architecture, to derive the characteristics of the Technical Architecture directly from the high-level requirements of the business. It is used to help identify and understand business needs, and thereby to derive the business requirements that the architecture development has to address.

Business system

Hardware, software, policy statements, procedures and people which together implement a business function.



An ability that an organization, person, or system possesses. Capabilities are typically expressed in general and high-level terms and typically require a combination of organization, people, processes, and technology to achieve. For example, marketing, customer contact, or outbound telemarketing.

Capability Architecture

A highly detailed description of the architectural approach to realize a particular solution or solution aspect.

Capability Increment

A discrete portion of a capability architecture that delivers specific value. When all increments have been completed, the capability has been realized.


Consultative Committee on International Telegraph and Telephone.


An application component which requests services from a server.


Common Management Information Service


Common Management Information Protocol


Control OBjectives for Information and related Technology


Acronym for Common Business-Oriented Language. COBOL is a computer programming language used extensively in mainframes and minicomputers for business applications.

Communications and Stakeholder Management

The management of needs of stakeholders of the enterprise architecture practice. It also manages the execution of communication between the practice and the stakeholders and the practice and the consumers of its services.

Communications Mechanism

Hardware and software functions which allow Application Platforms to exchange information.

Communications Network

A set of products, concepts, and services, that enable the connection of computer systems for the purpose of transmitting data and other forms (e.g. voice and video) between the systems.

Communications Node

A node that is either internal to the communications network (e.g. routers, bridges, or repeaters) or located between the end device and the communications network to operate as a gateway.

Communications System

A set of assets (transmission media, switching nodes, interfaces, and control devices), that will establish linkage between users and devices.


The key interests that are crucially important to the stakeholders in a system, and determine the acceptability of the system. Concerns may pertain to any aspect of the system’s functioning, development, or operation, including considerations such as performance, reliability, security, distribution, and evolvability.

Configuration Management

A discipline applying technical and administrative direction and surveillance to:
(a) identify and document the functional and physical characteristics of a configuration item.
(b) control changes to those characteristics and,
(c) record and report changes to processing and implementation status.

Connectivity Service

A service area of the External Environment entity of the technical Reference Model that provides end-to-end connectivity for communications through three transport levels (global, regional, and local). It provides general and applications-specific services to platform end devices.


An external factor that prevents an organization from pursuing particular approaches to meet its goals. For example, customer data is not harmonized within the organization, regionally or nationally, constraining the organization’s ability to offer effective customer service.


Common Object Request Broker Architecture.


Data Architecture

A description of the structure and interaction of the enterprise’s major types and sources of data, logical data assets, physical data assets, and data management resources.

Data Dictionary

A specialised type of database containing metadata, which is managed by a data dictionary system; a repository of information describing the characteristics of data used to design, monitor, document, protect, and control data in information systems and databases; an application of data dictionary systems.

Data Element

A basic unit of information having a meaning and that may have subcategories (data items) of distinct units and values.


Structured or organised collection of information, which may be accessed by the computer.

Database Management System

Computer application program that accesses or manipulates the database.

Data Interchange Service

A service of the Platform entity of the Technical Reference Model that provides specialised support for the interchange of data between applications on the same or different platforms.

Data Management Service

A service of the Platform entity of the Technical Reference Model that provides support for the management, storage, access, and manipulation of data in a database.


Database Management System.


Distributed Computing Environment.


Data Definition Language.


Command which is automatically executed if none is specifically indicated.


An architectural work product that is contractually specified and in turn formally reviewed, agreed, and signed off by the stakeholders. Deliverables represent the output of projects and those deliverables that are in documentation form will typically be archived at completion of a project, or transitioned into an Architecture Repository as a reference model, standard, or snapshot of the Architecture Landscape at a point in time.

Directory Service

Part of the network services of the Application Platform entity of the Technical Reference Model that provides locator services that are restricted to finding the location of a service, location of data, or translation of a common name into a network specific address. It is analogous to telephone books and supports distributed directory implementations.


US Department of Defence Information Systems Agency.

Distributed Database

(1) A database that is not stored in a central location but is dispersed over a network of interconnected computers.
(2) A database under the overall control of a central database management system but whose storage devices are not all attached to the same processor.
(3) A database that is physically located in two or more distinct locations.


Data Management Facility.



European Computer Manufacturers Association.


Electronic Data Interchange.


External Environment Interface.

End User

Person who ultimately uses the computer application or output.


The highest level (typically) of description of an organization and typically covers all missions and functions. An enterprise will often span multiple organizations.

Enterprise Continuum

A categorization mechanism useful for classifying architecture and solution artifacts, both internal and external to the Architecture Repository, as they evolve from generic Foundation Architectures to Organization-Specific Architectures.

Enterprise Model

A high level model of an organisation’s mission, function, and information architecture. The model consists of a function model and a data model.

Environment Management

The provision and management of the environment required to support the operations of the enterprise architecture practice, including facilities, equipment, tools, and information systems.


Enterprise Resource Planning


End system.


Ability to resize objects to produce better organisation of on-screen material, usually a graphic or a window.

External Environment Interface (EEI)

The interface that supports information transfer between the application platform and the external environment.



Any specifically identified collection of information stored in the computer.

Financial Management

The management of the financial aspects of the enterprise architecture practice; e.g., budgeting and forecasting.


Federal Information Processing Standard.


Acronym for FORmula TRANslator, which is a high level computer language used extensively in scientific and engineering applications.

Foundation Architecture

Generic building blocks, their inter-relationships with other building blocks, combined with the principles and guidelines that provide a foundation on which more specific architectures can be built.


A structure for content or process that can be used as a tool to structure thinking, ensuring consistency and completeness.


File Transfer, Access, and Management.


A useful capability provided by one or more components of a system.



A statement of difference between two states. Used in the context of gap analysis, where the difference between the Baseline and Target Architecture is identified.


Government Network Management Profile.


Government Open System Interconnection Profile.


The discipline of monitoring, managing, and steering a business (or IS/IT landscape) to deliver the business outcome required.


General Security Service.


Graphical User Interface.



(1) Physical equipment, as opposed to programs, procedures, rules, and associated documentation.
(2) Contrast with software.

Human-Computer Interface (HCI)

Human Computer Interface Hardware and software allowing information exchange between the user and the computer.



The International Electrotechnical Commission, the international standards body which is responsible for electrical standards.


Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers.


Integrated Information Infrastructure


Integrated Information Infrastructure Reference Model


Any communication or representation of facts, data, or opinions, in any medium or form, including textual, numerical, graphic, cartographic, narrative, or audio-visual forms.

Information Domain

A set of commonly and unambiguously labelled information objects with a common security policy that defines the protections to be afforded the objects by authorised users and information management systems.

Information System

The computer-based portion of a business system.

Information Technology (IT)

(1) The lifecycle management of information and related technology used by an organization.
(2) An umbrella term that includes all or some of the subject areas relating to the computer industry, such as Business Continuity, Business IT Interface, Business Process Modeling and Management, Communication, Compliance and Legislation, Computers, Content Management, Hardware, Information Management, Internet, Offshoring, Networking, Programming and Software, Professional Issues, Project Management, Security, Standards, Storage, Voice and Data Communications. Various countries and industries employ other umbrella terms to describe this same collection.
(3) A term commonly assigned to a department within an organization tasked with provisioning some or all of the domains described in (2) above.
4) Alternate names commonly adopted include Information Services, Information Management, et al.


Interconnection and inter-relationships between two devices, two applications, or the user and an application or device.


(1) The ability to share information and services.
(2) The ability of two or more systems or components to exchange and use information.
(3) The ability of systems to provide and receive services from other systems and to use the services so interchanged to enable them to operate effectively together.


Information System.


Information System Architecture.


International Standards Organisation.


Information Technology.


Information Technology Infrastructure Library


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