Thursday 18 December 2008

What is SOA Governance?

This is one of the frequently asked questions to me. While my answer depends on the background and motive of the person asking this question, let me state the general-purpose answer to this question in this blog.

SOA Governance is a subset of IT governance. Peter Weill and Jeanne Ross from MIT have given the definition of IT Governance as "Specifying the decision rights and accountability framework to encourage desirable behavior in the use of IT." On similar lines, we can define SOA governance as specifying the decision rights and accountability framework to realize the full value of SOA adoption in an organization.

To better understand SOA governance, let's categorize it as design-time governance and run-time governance. Design-time governance primarily includes business services portfolio planning but sometimes also includes SOA Platform planning. The business services portfolio planning involves establishing answers for following questions:

* Which services to develop?
* Which services to develop first?
* Is this really a new, reusable service?
* Who is going to pay for the development and maintenance of this service?
* Who owns this service?

By establishing answers to these questions, the reuse potential of SOA adoption can be fully exploited thus giving rise to cost reduction and IT flexibility.

The run-time SOA governance involves definition and enforcement of policies for security, SLA monitoring, routing and transformation. While design-time governance focuses on developing right services, run-time governance focuses on ensuring smooth execution of these services as per the expectations.

While governance is more to do with people behavior, some tools can be used to aid the people responsible for governance. One can use service repository as the tool for design-time governance as it stores all metadata related to services at a central location. For run-time governance, one can use a service registry and/or services management tools. Many Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) products also provide the functionality for run-time governance.

Wednesday 17 December 2008

Benefits of Enterprise Architecture

Once in a while, whenever I get time, I browse certain web sites to check whether anything new has come . I know RSS is a great mechanism to keep oneself updated on what's new on almost all web sites. But still I like this random check on my favorite sites.

One of my such favorite sites is the MIT CISR web site. This site hosts the working papers and research briefings, which are freely accessible. Today while I was going through them, I found one research briefing on Benefits of Enterprise Architecture. I found it very useful as it has given a list of both technology-related and business-related benefits of Enterprise Architecture.

The authors Jeanne Ross and Peter Weill, have described three types of technology-related benefits: IT costs, IT responsiveness and risk management. IT costs benefits include reduction in IT operations unit costs (cost of services such as helpdesk, network capacity and email) and application maintenance cost. IT responsiveness benefit includes reduction in develpment time. Finally, risk management benefits includes the following ones: reduced business risk, improved regulatory compliance, increased disaster tolerance and reduced security breaches.

The business-related benefits include the following:
  • shared business platforms - greater data sharing and integrated process standards
  • senior management and business unit management satisfaction
  • strategic business impact - operational excellence, customer intimacy, product leadership and strategic agility
The research briefing also provides details about how maturity level of enterprise architecture help organizations grow these benefits.