SOA's missing ingredient

Governance “isn’t something that you address once you’ve had some degree of success,

There are going to be many failed SOA attempts over the coming year. That’s because too many enterprises will be approaching SOA from the bottom up, attempting to fuse disparate service initiatives with no guiding set of rules or principles – governance – around impact analysis, change management, policy management and contract management.

That's the gist of a chat I recently had with Jake Sorofman, vice president of product marketing for Systinet. Sorofman's theme, which he resounded consistently throughout the discussion, is that no matter how small or early your SOA efforts, you need to start thinking governance. (Full interview here at WebServices.Org.)

Governance “isn’t something that you address once you’ve had some degree of success. Governance begets success.”

Which begs the question of 'what is a large SOA, versus small SOA?' Number of Web services is almost irrelevant, Sorofman believes. Conversely, he adds, “you can have a large number of services that have very low reuse, and very limited applicability. In that case, governance can actually be less of a critical consideration.”

Don’t wait until your enterprise develops some “critical mass” of Web services to put governance in place, Sorofman advises. Start now, even if you may only have a few services in production. “There will be SOA projects that fail, and fail in a big way, because companies see governance as something they don’t need to consider until they reach some critical mass of business services. And by the time they encounter problems, it may be too late.” Such problems may have severe repercussions for any future SOA efforts, including performance glitches, and breakdowns in trust on the part of business users.

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