Target state architecture

Final | October 2018 | v1.0.0 | OFFICIAL-Public | QGCDG


This guideline describes, at a general level, the activities required to develop a target state architecture. It includes the steps necessary to articulate a future state design or architecture vision, based on digital or ICT strategy document, including a service and business process architecture, information architecture, application architecture and technology architecture.

Other frameworks such as The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF), provide greater detail on how to develop an overarching Architecture Vision and target state architecture. Agencies may also have their own enterprise architecture framework.


A practitioner in the context of this guideline can include one or more of the following roles:

  • Enterprise architects
  • Digital or ICT strategic planners
  • Information managers.

Target state architecture

The development of a target state architecture should be led by an enterprise architect operating as part of an integrated planning team.

Some of the key elements of the target state architecture including the vision, objectives and strategies should have already been documented as part of the digital or ICT planning activity.

The practitioner will need to review all the outputs from the previous modules of the planning activity including the Discover and Vision workstream activities to properly understand both the current state, emerging trends in business and technology as well as the desired vision for digital or ICT enablement.

The target state architecture should be defined across all layers of an enterprise architecture including business (services and processes), information, applications and underpinning technology assets/services.

Business architecture

At the business layer, TOGAF recommends the use of modelling techniques to convey the interactions between people and information participating in the conduct of services and processes. The type of modelling employed by the practitioner will be dependent on the level of detail to be provided in the target architecture. For example, business process models are likely to be too detailed at this stage and therefore techniques that provide more of a conceptual or logical understanding of the overall business context are more appropriate. These may include modelling techniques that use domain names from the business enterprise architecture classification models used across the agency. Industry architectures and patterns may also be useful.

Business scenarios can also be used as part of the architecture vision and target state architecture. Business scenarios can be used to better identify and understand business needs the architecture must address.

According to TOGAF, a business scenario describes:

  • a business process, application, or set of applications that can be enabled by the architecture
  • the business and technology environment
  • the people and computing components (called ‘actors’) who execute the scenario
  • the desired outcome of proper execution.

A good business scenario is representative of a significant business need or problem, and enables stakeholders to understand the value to the customer and the agency of a solution. Where possible the business scenario should be linked to business outcomes and benefits identified in the strategic planning documents of the agency including the digital or ICT strategy or plan documents.

Some of the information required to construct business scenarios may already be available from the Vision planning activities, particularly in circumstances where customer journey mapping and service blueprints have been used to assist to develop the service vision.

A value chain diagram or business context diagram may also be suitable for describing the business target architecture for planning purposes.

Information architecture

The scope of level of detail at which the target state information architecture is modelled will depend on the scope of the planning engagement. If the of the planning engagement is agency wide, it may only be possible to describe a conceptual model for the information elements. This may include domains from the enterprise architecture classification frameworks to describe the future information requirements, highlighting the information elements that will be leveraged or changed as well as the information elements that are new.

If the planning engagement relates to specific architecture domains it may be more relevant to use logical information models such as entity relationship diagrams. This will provide a greater level of detail providing opportunities to describe the interactions between stakeholders as well as the information elements required.

Application and technology architecture

At the application and technology layers, the practitioner should demonstrate both the current and future application and technology components or services that are required to deliver on the digital or ICT strategic direction and vision. Industry architectures and patterns are also useful in the application and technology layers including the use of domain modelling techniques that leverage the enterprise architecture classification frameworks used across the agency.

As part of the target state architecture, it may be useful to make the distinction between the application and technology components that are foundational, optimised or transformational. This will provide greater understanding of those components that are essential to realising the longer-term vision and will represent significant dependencies in related roadmaps and plans. It will also demonstrate the level of technology capability that already exists in the organisation that can be further leveraged to provide greater, agency wide value.

Next steps

The target state architecture is iterative and it may take several rounds of consultation with stakeholders before the document can be finalised.

It may also be useful to prepare a presentation outlining the significant elements of the architecture vision and target state architecture. The presentation should be aimed at promoting understanding across the business of how the digital and technology capability proposed will deliver on the business objectives, outcomes and benefits as well as the vision for the delivery of services.

The architecture vision or target state architecture may be subject to approval from the planning sponsor as well as the agency’s Architecture Standards Board or equivalent.

Once the target state architecture has been approved a gap analysis between the current state and future state architecture can be conducted.




The Open Group Architecture Framework

Link - The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF)

Developing business scenarios

Link - Business scenarios and business goals

Sample information architecture models


Sample application and technology architecture models


Factsheet value chain analysis and business context diagrams


Last Reviewed: 24 October 2018