SOA Process: Compliance Governance is the Key

With service-oriented architectures (SOA) on the rise, IT groups are increasingly discovering that they need to add SOA governance into the mix as a means of controlling what services are deployed and how those services are used.

Without some level of architectural governance in place, organizations can quickly end up producing overlapping and redundant point services that add minimal value to the business as a whole.

Conversely, once a proper level of governance is in place, many enterprises discover that they are finally able to effectively begin aligning their IT assets with high-level business objectives.

While many SOA projects are in their infancy -- just moving from the planning stage to incremental implementation -- it's not premature to be concerned with governance issues. In fact, the analysts at ZapThink LLC believe ". . . there is no reason for even the earliest SOA pilots to fall outside the governance process"-[ See Note 1] and recommend that companies be proactive about SOA governance in order to maintain the necessary visibility and control of their projects.

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SOA governance includes both development (architectural and service development life cycle) and runtime (performance and operational) governance. Proper architectural governance provides the necessary project-specific prioritization to guide development while keeping the broader objectives of SOA in mind -- in particular, maximizing the flexibility and reusability of produced services by looking past specific project requirements to the broader needs of the business.

Such governance also helps to ensure that services are built with sufficient security, quality and consumabililty, while also giving potential users an easy way to discover, understand and register their use of services in application and business process integration projects.

Organizations need to apply appropriate review points in the service life cycle and identify a team to complete those reviews. This will ensure that services are properly aligned with the organization's enterprise architecture, use proper implementation techniques and technologies, and provide enough supporting information to enable potential consumers to rapidly discover and understand them.

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