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Ronan Bradley's FinanceTech Directions

Ronan Bradley

SOA Governance is not a product

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SOA Governance is a term that I am having an increasing level of discomfort with. The reason for my discomfort is the large gap between what certain vendors and some analysts define as SOA Governance and what the end-users I talk to define as SOA Governance.

Specifically, some vendors and analysts focus primarily on the software tooling such as registries and repositories (and even somewhat surprisingly on management). Most end-users, excepting those recently indoctrinated, interpret it to mean the definition and 'human' enforcement of policies associated with effective SOA roll-out and maintenance. This is hardly surprising – end-users assume that SOA Governance is going to be related to governance first and enabling tools secondly. While SOA does present significantly different governance challenges, it starts in the same place as 'traditional' governance: definition of governance policies and processes for creating and evolving these policies. Todd Biske seems to of a similar mind-set when he writes in his excellent blog:

“I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Governance is about people, policies, and process. Tooling really only comes into play when you start looking at the process portion of the equation. I don’t want to dismiss tooling, because it absolutely is an important part of the governance equation, but if you don’t have the people or the policies, tools won’t help.?

If you wonder why I am getting hot under to collar on this one, this is why: The focus on SOA Governance tools does not help most organizations deliver on SOA governance. In fact it is a distraction as the best tools in the world cannot deliver the organizational and cultural changes necessary and may lull the organization into a false sense of complacency.


1 Comment

Having spent lots of my time with a Governance product, I must admit that the title of the post is quite intimidating at first :)

In the end, I agree with you that SOA and SOA Governance is more about having a mind-set rather than having product suites. However I still believe that it's more than having an advantage using a Governance product to define, share and execute design-time/run-time policies for the sake of a trustworthy SOA.

So, I'd put it this way: SOA Governace is not "only" a product :)

Ronan Bradley's blog on infrastructure technology news and trends in the retail banking, captial markets and beyond.

Ronan Bradley

Ronan Bradley has specialized in business integration technologies and their application for over 15 years, View more

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