Information Technology Directory

Effectively Harness SOA and Improve Business Processes with a SOA Governance Plan

Creating a new SOA service may seem like an easy goal to accomplish. You have an idea that will further automate a particular process at your company, which you hope will make things function more effectively.

So in the spirit of initiative, you create and implement this new SOA service that does just that. Others at headquarters catch wind of it and find it useful for their operations as well. Before you know it, people you have never heard of are using your SOA service for things you never expected.

But all the new demands on the service cause it to run slow or crash altogether, creating frustration among customers and co-workers. Next thing you know, co-workers and superiors are calling you on your day off to complain about your service and demand you come into the office and fix it. Before long, you abandon the effort since so many seem unhappy about it.

Without effective SOA governance, expect to experience circumstances like this, or much worse

Avoiding problems like this is the main goal of SOA governance, which differs from management in that governance sets policies while management follows those decisions.

Governance determines what decisions need to be made, identifies who is responsible for making them and develops policies for making consistent decisions. A SOA center of excellence, or a group of experienced SOA consultants, establishes and supervises these policies.

Decisions regarding SOA governance are made within the context of a service, a service component’s lifecycle and business processes.

Specifically, SOA governance establishes chains of command, methods to determine effectiveness of a SOA service, policies to meet organizational goals, mechanisms to ensure compliance and communication so stakeholders are kept in the loop.

Consumers of services and providers of services require close coordination since each of them work in different processes that are developed and managed by different departments.

A successful SOA system uses multiple applications all developed at different times using different methods and technologies. Meaning, services need to be common and reusable. SOA governance issues like this are much more complex than in the days of simpler applications and reusable codes and components.

SOA governance is more of a political challenge than a technological or business one

Consumers and providers have to agree how they will work together – each must agree on what they can expect to receive (consumers) and what they are obligated to provide.

While the practice of SOA governance inevitably deals with technological and business issues, its primary task is to ensure everyone is working together and their efforts are done in unison.

A service-level agreement (SLA) codifies agreements worked out between consumers and providers. In effect, a SLA is a contract where consumers understand what they are getting and providers understand what their obligations are.

Bookmark and check back soon with the information technology knowledge center for a more in-depth look at who should be involved and methods of employing successful SOA governance policies.


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