The reference architecture also embodies accepted industry best practices, noting numerous criteria specific to the industry of the product being developed, as well as often listing required functions, recommended processes to follow, and suggesting the optimal delivery method for specific technologies.

The ultimate purpose of a reference architecture is to provide developers, technicians, engineers, and their staffs with guidelines – a rough template – to keep in mind as they research, plan, develop, and produce a new product or system, without being so restrictive that it becomes an obstacle to innovation. In fact, one goal of the reference architecture is to provide just enough core prerequisites that the developer can avoid wasting time on immutable details and focus on the new solutions.

In addition, the process of creating a reference architecture is also a way for a client organization to clarify and double check all of the details in their own minds before it goes to a developer, which helps shorten the development time, contains costs, and can serve as a check-off sheet to keep everyone involved on the same page throughout the project.

What industries use reference architectures? All professional technology developers use reference architectures to clarify necessary development processes, avoid roadblocks, keep teams on track, avoid cost overruns, and verify end results with their clients. Also, the organizations hiring software and hardware developers use them for all of the previously-noted reasons. There are software reference architectures, banking reference architectures, automotive reference architectures, watercraft reference architectures, and so on. The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), one of the world’s largest organizations that procures development of cutting-edge technologies via private developers in the defense community, publishes detailed, rigorous Technical Reference Architectures (TRA) for every new technology developed on behalf of the United States.

Reference architectures reduce costs and cut development times of new products, for all parties involved, and the smartest development partners both welcome and advise using them.


This information page is provided as a service to our readers by BAE Systems, Inc., a U.S.-based world leader in aerospace, defense, power, and intelligence solutions. Learn more about us here.

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