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Business Transformation in Action

Joe McKendrick

SOA or JBOWS? How Governance Made the DIfference for One Retailer

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Yes, as we've been preaching incessantly on these pages for the past couple of years, governance does make the difference between SOA success and ending up with Just a Bunch of Web Services, or JBOWS.

In a new ComputerWorld report, Carphone Warehouse, a mobile phone retailer based in the UK, credits a new design-time governance system with boosting the adoption of its SOA effort, now in its third year.

The company was experiencing many of the issues that occur with JBOWS architectures, such as creating duplicate services, and resorting to time-consuming manual checks of services. More than half of the service designs were not in compliance with corporate standards.

The company recently acted to remedy the duplication and confusion by putting an automated governance system in place. Right away, things started falling in place. For starters, 95 percent of the service designs now being put into production conform to governance standards, according to Pawel Maszczyk, enterprise architect at Carphone Warehouse.

Even better, the article relates, by avoiding accidental duplication of services, the automated governance system (from HP Systinet) is projected to deliver savings of £526,000 over three years. Another £93,750 will come from time saved managing governance, and £113,500 from time saved reviewing services. That's a total of £733,000, or the equivalent of US$1.5 million at the current exchange rate.

“We gained visibility. If you’re looking for a service that does something in particular, you can identify it and reuse it quickly," according to Maszczyk. “It also automates processes, so we know if there is a change to approve. Before, we had to go and find out if there was something that we needed to do. It automatically carries out mundane checks so we can launch new services more quickly.?

The company plans to put automated runtime governance in place as its next goal.

As always, Maszczyk pointed out, the organizational issues are the most vexing in moving SOA forward. Adopting SOA also means adopting a new “mentality? on IT, he said. “It’s not an easy change. You have to explain what you’re trying to achieve."

If the organization sees SOA evolving rather than JBOWS, it's much more likely to sign on to the effort -- perhaps even with greater enthusiasm.

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In this blog (formerly known as "SOA in Action"), Joe McKendrick examines how BPM and related business and IT approaches can promote business transformation.

Joe McKendrick

Joe McKendrick is an author and independent analyst who tracks the impact of information technology on management and markets. View more

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