Friday, February 29, 2008

You Can't Buy SOA Governance

Customers and software vendors have now a brand new keyword: SOA Governance! That is, if you listen to vendors, about the set of practices and (mainly!) products which help the enterprise to manage complex ecosystem of technical and business services, with their related meta-data. You can have a look at this Wikipedia definition for a concise definition of SOA-Governance.

That sounds good, isn't it? But usually when I listen to both customers and software vendors I find their ideas about governance quite misleading. Few points of mine:

1. SOA governance is about a conceptual organizational and operational framework which aims to align IT governance with business analysis procedures: people first, then technicalities.
2. You can't buy SOA, you can't buy SOA Governance. It is an organizational process, if you don't change the way you operate your IT projects you cannot achieve neither SOA nor any governance;
3. You need to build a set of SOA practices together with a governance strategy, and the human factor here is more important than any possible product: there is no magical SOA-in-a-box product.
4. You can't have a SOA without governance, you can't build a SOA governance strategy without an established service-oriented analysis process (because you end having nothing to govern...)

IT is broken: we clearly see this simple and true fact daily, but I hardly find organizations able to recognize the fact that they need to reconcile their IT operations with their business needs first through organizational changes. They too often just try to buy the next magical box and hope that plugging it into their IT department it will fix problems.

Again and as usual: lot of money, few successes and SOA is becoming another abused bad word.