SOA Governance: New Report Suggests It's Part of Problem


Lately, there's been a(nother) rash of articles about where SOA went wrong.


From Gartner's accusations of a herd adoption mentality to Forrester's more expansive list of five reasons why people mistrust SOA, there's not shortage of fault-finding-even as the argument still wages over whether, in fact, SOA is failing or not.


One of the actions that's frequently mentioned as an inoculation, of sorts, against SOA failure is SOA governance. Companies are often admonished to pursue SOA governance, with the big debate being over when you need it.


But what if SOA governance isn't part of the solution, but part of the problem? A new report by global analyst and consulting firm Ovum suggests that, given the elitist approach to SOA governance, it could be contributing to the SOA backlash we've seen since spring of last year.


"Research: SOA Governance Duplicates Costs for IT companies," touts a recent IT World article, quoting the report's finding that SOA governance could actually increase development costs when it's treated as a separate process from application lifecycle management. And that's not as uncommon as you'd think, particularly with tools designed to focus solely on SOA.


When it's implemented in this way-by elite architects and developers-it causes the very problems SOA was supposed to solve, Tony Baer, senior analyst at Ovum, told IT World:

"Full blown SOA governance often recreates duplication that SOA architecture was supposed to eliminate. ... The disconnect of SOA from the mainstream of the software development lifecycle has contributed to the backlash that it has suffered over the past 12-18 months."

Fortunately, SOA governance isn't a total wash. Baer says SOA governance practices can and should be used to improve the software development lifecycle. Baer advises companies take a middle ground approach, applying the principles of agile development to enterprise architectural practices.


In other words, remove the silo around SOA and SOA governance, a theme ZD Net's SOA blogger, consultant Joe McKendrick, picks up in his post on the report, "Is SOA Governance also Its Own Silo?"


McKendrick offers a few more details on how Baer believes SOA could help the traditional application development lifecycle. According to McKendrick, Baer suggests cross-fertilization of SOA practices, including support for reuse, an awareness of runtime and the use of service contracts for "conventional software development."


If you'd like to read the full report-and have a spare $1,050 sitting around on PayPal-it's available online at MarketResearch.com.