Bottle 'governance'? No way

All the vendors are talking 'governance' these days, but it's not for sale
Written by Joe McKendrick, Contributing Writer

'Governance' may be this year's buzzword among vendors in the SOA space, but it's not something that can be bottled and sold.

This morning, I had the chance to sit down with Dr. Vasant Dhar, director of New York University's Center for Digital Economy Research and a former principal at Morgan Stanley. Dr. Dhar had just concluded a panel discussion related to an IBM announcement, in which he helped connect the dots between information and its value to the organization.

In the early 1990s, long before anyone thought it was possible, Dhar had launched a massive data mining and analytics effort at Morgan Stanley. He observed that it was a "painful" process back then, in which he had to design the data mining and analytical tools, as well as build a data warehouse, from scratch. (Yow -- talk about non-trivial tasks!) These days, integrating system and data silos is now relatively cheap and easy by comparison, he adds.

However, there still are a couple of requirements that will never go away, and, if anything, are even more critical for any type of organizational and technology transformation, he said. Those are the qualities of creativity and governance.

Nick Carr's argument that IT is no longer a competitive differentiator is "fallacious thinking," Dhar said. Successful IT projects that make a difference are driven by the creativity of the organization and people behind it. "We are only limited by our creativity, and creativity is something that will never become a commodity."

The other essential ingredient, governance, is also something that has to come from within organizations, not from the raft of "governance" tools and platforms that are appearing on the SOA market. The ultimate force that makes technology profitable, he said, is a combination of the two -- creative governance. "Governance has to come from within the organization, not from toolkits" Dhar said.

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