GEFF™ or the Generalized Enterprise Function Framework was first published and presented on July 2013 during the ITHEA conference in Varna, Bulgaria. The GEFF is used to structure all so-called Enterprise Functions. An Enterprise Function is any activity that an organization must perform to accomplish their goals and objectives. An enterprise function is an activity defined without its organizational context. So no relations are made towards the organizational structure, to actors that should perform the function, with what means or resources, and resulting in what products or services.

Note: in the US an Enterprise or Business Function is often called a Capability. However, because Enterprise Architects uses the term Capability for that which an organization is able to do (or the As Is ability) Enterprise Architects uses the term Function, that has been used as such for over thirty years now. Contrary to the Capability is the Competency: that which an organization should be able to do (or the To Be ability).

The GEFF structure is defined in layers and columns. The layers represent the strategic, tactical, and operational enterprise functions. Because not all functions can be determined as part of one of these layers, an extra layer called Enterprise Support has been defined. There are nine columns that have been explicitly defined to support the definition of enterprise functions. Through the use of these columns the modeler can intuitively recognize that some enterprise functions are still missing, while others are duplicated.

The structure of the GEFF forces the modeler to define process model as a communication and behavioral process between the organization and its environment. In this way the modeler will find that he or she will have to define other Business Functions that were not foreseen in the initial process model to complete both the process model and the GEFF. Parts of the Proposition are also embedded within the column structure, making the GEFF applicable for all organizations, although they have a very different proposition.

Of course, ministries, NGOs, banks, insurance companies, industrial or trading companies are not comparable. This is why the GEFF™ structure has been stratified. At the top level the generic model and its generic enterprise functions, are defined. At the next level a decomposition based on the Line of Business (LoB) is realized. For each LoB type a further decomposition has been developed. At the lowest level, the level of the individual organization, enterprise functions are specialized for that individual organization.

Because of this generic structure, the GEFF™ is applicable to any organization. Hence, it makes the GEFF ideal as an instrument to manage and maintain knowledge, but especially to reuse already developed knowledge for other organizations: when the knowledge (Actionable, Augmented, and/or Architectural) has been defined it can be applied in other organizations.