In the world of SOA, the concept of SOA governance is getting a lot of attention. However, how SOA governance is defined and implemented really depends on the SOA governance vendor who just left the building within most enterprises. Indeed, confusion is a huge issue when considering SOA governance, and the core issues are more about the fundamentals of people and processes, and not about the technology.
SOA governance is a concept used for activities related to exercising control over services in an SOA, including tracking the services, monitoring the service, and controlling changes made to the services, simple put. The trouble comes in when SOA governance vendors attempt to define SOA governance around their technology, all with different approaches to SOA governance. Thus, it's important that those building SOAs within the enterprise take a step back and understand what really need to support the concept of SOA governance.
The value of SOA governance is pretty simple. Since services make up the foundation of an SOA, and are at their essence the behavior and information from existing systems externalized, it's critical to make sure that those accessing, creating, and changing services do so using a well controlled and orderly mechanism. Those of you, who already have governance in place, typically around enterprise architecture efforts, will be happy to know that SOA governance does not replace those processes, but becomes a mechanism within the larger enterprise governance concept.
People and processes are first thing on the list to get under control before you begin to toss technology at this problem. This means establishing an understanding of SOA governance within the team members, including why it's important, who's involved, and the core processes that are to be follow to make SOA governance work. Indeed, when creating the core SOA governance strategy should really be independent of the technology. The technology will change over the years, but the core processes and discipline should be relatively durable over time.