The objective of this document is to provide guidance to developers and reviewers of standards of The Open Group to help develop a set of coherent and cohesive standards for the digital market.


This document presents a set of principles that should be incorporated into the creation of the standards and guides that are targeted for what is loosely defined as the “digital market”; that is, standards or guides of The Open Group that are intended to provide guidance to digital enterprises, or documents intended to provide guidance on how to restructure an enterprise to become a digital enterprise, sometimes called Digital Transformation.

It should be noted that the digital market is evolving very rapidly, as is our understanding of the standards and guidance needed. This makes providing a crisp definition of “digital standard” hard; nevertheless, it is desirable to establish a workable definition in order to position our standards in the marketplace. This document uses a working definition:

A digital standard (or guide) is one that helps an enterprise succeed as a digital enterprise; i.e., one that has a “digital-first” business model. Pragmatically, standards or guides that have “Digital” in their title should be expected to adhere to this definition and incorporate these principles.

This definition focuses on digital; the establishment of a digital-first enterprise. As such, digital standards and guides are expected to focus primarily on business, management, operational, and governance topics. This may include some amount of digitization – i.e., the use of technology to improve business effectiveness, or examples of technology essential to a digital business model – but that is not the core focus of these principles.

These principles follow the TOGAF® Standard definition for Architecture Principles (see Referenced Documents).

In this case, these principles guide the architecture of how standards for the digital market are created and relate to one another. These principles address issues of positioning, consistency, and quality for such standards and guides. These principles do not intend to define the specific contents of such documents – as long as they meet the overall consistency standards, the details of how they provide guidance is left to the domain experts writing the documents.

Structure of Principles

This document uses the template for principles recommended in the TOGAF Standard, as follows:

Item Description


Should both represent the essence of the rule as well as being easy to remember. Specific technology platforms should not be mentioned in the name or statement of a principle. Avoid ambiguous words in the name and in the statement such as: “support”, “open”, “consider”, and for lack of good measure the word “avoid” itself; be careful with “manage(ment)”, and look for unnecessary adjectives and adverbs (fluff).


Should succinctly and unambiguously communicate the fundamental rule. For the most part, statements of principles for managing information are similar from one organization to the next. It is vital that the principles statement is unambiguous.


Should highlight the business benefits of adhering to the principle, using business terminology. Point to the similarity of information and technology principles to the principles governing business operations. Also, describe the relationship to other principles, and the intentions regarding a balanced interpretation. Describe situations where one principle would be given precedence or carry more weight than another for making a decision.


Should highlight the requirements, both for the business and for IT, for carrying out the principle – in terms of resources, costs, and activities/tasks. It will often be apparent that current systems, standards, or practices would be incongruent with the principle upon adoption. The impact to the business and the consequences of adopting a principle should be clearly stated. The reader should readily discern the answer to: “How does this affect me?”. It is important not to oversimplify, trivialize, or judge the merit of the impact. Some of the implications will be identified as potential impacts only, and may be speculative rather than fully analyzed.