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Governing the Infrastructure.

David A. Kelly

Is Operational Governance Real?

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We've got IT governance, SOA governance and even plain old "governance." Do we really need to add "operational governance" into the mix? If you ask Vitria (and perhaps some other people), the answer is yes. In fact, Vitria's new white paper Formalizing Operational Governance: Ensuring the well-managed enterprise makes a pretty good case for operational governance. In effect, of course, operational governance is just another facet of a good overall governance strategy, whether you're calling it operational governance, plain old governance, or something else. Putting the adjective "operational" in front of governance, does, of course, call attention to the role of that governance can (and should!) play in ensuring the appropriate governance policies, once defined, are actually followed through on, from an operational perspective. As with any good business policy or strategy, they're only truly effective if they're applied consistently and continually. The goal of operational governance is to see that that process happens. While I'm not going to argue with the need for just about any time of governance (depending on the situation), I'm not sure I'm fully on-board with the idea of the term "operational governance." It does seem to serve a useful marketing tool, for Vitria and other software vendors who want to enable their prospective customers to identify specific governance capabilities that may be lacking in their IT environment, but at the same time, I feel that good operational governance is really just part of the functionality and requirements of the broader IT governance landscape. Calling it out can be helpful in certain circumstances, and it certainly distinguishes it from solutions that focus more on defining and reporting governance policies than on implementing, managing and monitoring them. But it also a potentially misleading term that implies SOA governance, or IT governance solutions or strategies don't implement operational governance. As a result, that while the idea of operational governance may be a good point for starting a governance analysis or discussion, I'd certainly recommend that organizations go broader with their thinking and wrap their operational governance initiatives into an overall IT governance strategy. But what do you think?

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David A. Kelly's blog explores how organizations can increase the effectiveness and efficiency of their business processes and IT infrastructure through proper governance.

David A. Kelly

David A. Kelly is a monthly columnist and Blogger for ebizQ. View more

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