Infosys’ blog on industry solutions, trends, business process transformation and global implementation in Oracle.

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Do we need SOA Governance ?

Guest post by
Prasad Jayakumar, Technical Lead, Oracle Practice, Enterprise Solutions, Infosys Technologies Ltd.


In my recent client discussion the ever pondering question popped up, "Do we need SOA Governance?" Definite YES, I told without second thought. If they would have asked me "Do we need SOA?" the answer would have been based on whether business is ok to WALK or wants to DRIVE.  Since the question was about governance, it is as simple as saying "If you want to drive safely, better hold a valid driving license."

Is driving a metaphor of some kind? Why am I repeating it?  Let me give a try to convenience my alter ego.  

   Real World   SOA World
 People  Driver
 Police Officer
 Process  Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV)
 Traffic Rules & Regulations
 Sign Boards
 SOA Organization
 Service Life Cycle
 Service Principles & Guidelines
 Technology  Fancy Cars  Oracle
 What if, Governance is not in place?  Accident prone
 Traffic congestion
 Chaotic, need luck to reach home
 Rouge Services
 Sub-optimal solutions
 Chaotic, no clue on ROI

People, Process and Technology is the critical chain of SOA Governance. Dr. Eliyahu Goldratt (Business Management Guru) says in his famous novel "Critical Chain" - "Here is the weakest link. I strengthen this link. The whole chain becomes stronger. I strengthen it again, the chain becomes even stronger. I strengthen it again, Nothing happens.  Why? It's not the constraint anymore.  So, we have to avoid inertia and go back to step one."

Based on this learning if we think, Process would be weakest link in our critical chain.  We need to strengthen by defining-

  1. SOA Organization -
    • Who should be part of the Organization?
    • What is he/she responsible for?
    • How should he/she execute?
    • Are the few things that has to be clearly defined
  2. Service Life Cycle
  3. Service Principles & Guidelines and many more

Once Process is no weaker, the next possible candidate would be People.  Until People follow the Process by practice, People are weaker.  Finally Technology will come.  Ironically Technology has grown stronger by many manifolds and that's the reason for all the discussions.

Happy SOA Journey! 


Very good analogy and explained well correlating with realworld example. SOA governance, I belive, is the first and foremost requirement for successful SOA implementation.

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