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A primer on SOA governance

The ground rules

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What are the critical success factors for SOA governance?

The most critical success factors are (a) to start thinking about it early and before it becomes an operational imperative, (b) to view governance as a moving target where policies have to be managed as entities with their own lifecycles, and (c) to choose a technology platform that can help you address your immediate governance needs as well as those that will appear as your SOA infrastructure scales.

And, how do you know you've achieved it?

Although it is conceivable to set up objective goals for achieving SOA governance, I think it is more meaningful to measure how well the internal goals for governance have been met. This is typically done through an internal audit. As the SOA industry matures further I am convinced that automatic tools will be created that can help in automating at least part of this audit.

How do you communicate your 'state of good governance' to third parties such as business partners and regulators?

That's a tricky question. External parties care mostly about the rules, regulations, and agreements that your business has to comply with, but not the governance that you institute to run your business better. However, while the former leaves little leeway, since you typically just state your compliance status, the latter means you can proactively embed governance in your business and show your customers by action rather than statement that you take governance seriously.

Finally, what is the single biggest barrier to SOA governance, in your opinion? And the single biggest enabler?

Despite representing a technology vendor, I would definitely say that not realising the need for governance is currently the biggest barrier. However, governance technologies in general and service virtualisation in particular are key enablers to make governance happen.

Dr Stefan Farestam is regional director customer marketing EMEA at TIBCO. Prior to joining TIBCO, Dr Farestam was the co-founder and CEO of IGIS, one of the first internet start-ups in Sweden where he pioneered the use of web technology for intranets in major corporations.

Dr Farestam holds a PhD in Computational Fluid Dynamics from CERFACS/Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse (France) and an M.S. in Engineering Physics from Chalmers University of Technology (Sweden).

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