When the Execs Don't Care: Bottom-Up SOA Governance


It's taken me a long time to realize that any time I say words like "ideally" or "should," reality is going to slap me. And hard.


I'll give you an example. SOA governance, ideally, should be enacted enterprise-wide and lead by an IT executive, say the CIO or CTO. The reality is, this isn't often the case. And the other reality is, that's going to cause problems for development teams and divisions trying to make SOA work-and yet, no problems (in the short term, at least) for the executive who's not doing what he or she "should be doing."


That's probably why "hoping for best practices" is one of the five most common SOA governance mistakes companies make, according to Dan Diephouse, chief software architect on the Mule Galaxy SOA governance platform.


Recently, I interviewed Diephouse about common SOA governance mistakes. He said organizations often think SOA governance requires expensive tools or is just for big global companies.


Services are, by nature, communally owned and deployed. Anything communal requires policies, rules, guidelines-governance-if it's going to work smoothly. So, when you come down to it, SOA governance is really just another term for making sure SOA actually works right.


What this means is, even if you don't have an enterprise architect overseeing and guiding SOA governance, you still need it. That's where bottom-up governance comes in, according to Diephouse:

"One of the issues that we've had as a company is there are so many people out there who don't really understand what SOA governance is. They think this is something for an enterprise level architect and they shouldn't really think about, so we typically focus on developers a lot. We talk about what exactly can you start doing at the developer level and working your way up."

Often, trade publications focus on the "ideal" situation or how things "should" be. But if management isn't giving you guidance, you still need SOA governance. Sometimes, it works even better than the traditional, top-down approach to SOA governance, Diephouse argued:

"A lot of people may not have the vision up top to do something and they may want to do something locally. And locally may be a huge department, right? So you can still gain some benefit there if there isn't this CTO who says, 'Here's what we're doing.' That may be better that way because a lot of times the CTO is wrong."

Someone "should" tell the CTO that. But I've already learned the hard way, so it sure as shooting isn't going to be me. In other integration news:


SOA Governance Center of Excellence. Speaking of SOA governance, IBM has created a best practice for creating a SOA Governance Center of Excellence. William Brown, the senior and master certified executive IT architect at IBM, will discuss this method and share a few customer case studies on the topic in an eBizQ webinar Dec. 2. SOA expert Joe McKendrick will moderate. It starts at 12 p.m. EST.


Real-Time BI and BPM Integration. If you're interested in real-time integration between business intelligence and BPM tools, you should check out this detailed DM Review article. This article takes a look at how BI and BPM currently interact and how they two "ought" to integrate. It looks at the business value of this level of integration. There's also a discussion of the three possible ways BI and BPM can interact: BI on process, BI embedded in the process and event-driven process. On a related note, eBizQ will offer a free webinar on Next Generation BI Wednesday at 12 p.m. Eastern Time. Boris Evelson, a principal analyst for Forrester Research, will speak, along with Dale Skeen, the chairman and CTO of Vitria, which is sponsoring the event. Controlling the Costs of Integration. This DM Review article was published last week, but it's really worthwhile and timely. It starts out by examining why application and integration costs are so high and then offers an integration strategy for controlling cost creep. The piece is lengthy and goes into some detail about what steps you should take and why.