5 Tips for Buying SOA Governance
By michael.stamback on Jul 14, 2008
SOA Governance is hot these days. It’s widely believed that governance is required if you want to succeed with SOA, which is a correct assumption. It’s ironic though that agility and simplicity comes at the cost of complexity. That almost seems contradictory- the efficiency that SOA offers breeds complexity – so what are you to do? Governance is the answer. Manage the complexity in a controlled manner and the benefits SOA offers are much more obtainable.
However, customers, analysts, vendors, bloggers…everyone seems to be talking about governance, so how do you get through the FUD to make an accurate buying decision on supporting your governance needs? Here are 5 tips for buying governance.
Tip #1: You can’t buy governance!
That’s right, you can’t buy governance. Governance is a process, not something you buy. The technology that vendors are offering out there should be used to automate the governance process, but technology can’t solve the problem on its own. In order for governance technology to be effective, you need to first establish what it is you want to govern and how you are going to govern it. The technology should then be applied to automate that process. That being said, the rest of the tips will focus on identifying the right technology.
Tip #2: Look for a vendor that can explain how their technology is applied
This one is key. You need to look for a vendor that not only has governance technology to offer but can also walk you through how their technology is applied to the governance process. Don’t go for a vendor that only explains what their technology does. For example, many vendors will tell you that you need a registry/repository for visibility. While this is true, you also need to understand where in the lifecycle it’s important to have that visibility and how it’s achieved. Is it a manual process, which reduces the possibility of adoption? Or is there some way to automate the collection of artifacts at different triggering points in the lifecycle? Remember, you’re trying to automate the process as seamlessly as possible, not create more work.
Tip #3: Beware of the kitchen sink!
Trying to establish control over your SOA is hard enough without making it more complex by adding a truckload of more software. Don’t look at solutions that make you feel like you need to buy the whole store to get the one comfy chair you really need. Doing so only has you buying technology for technology sake without the understanding of how to apply it and when. This ultimately leads to failure for the governance program because it’s too complicated. It’s rare you’ll need a whole giant stack of products to address governance, at least in the beginning. The KISS principle definitely applies here. Don’t try to over govern early on.
Tip #4: Start small and expand
When looking at governance, focus on what is causing you immediate pain or frustration and then expand from there. Make sure you invest in the right technology that can not only solve your tactical pain, but can also help you strategically down the road when looking at the bigger picture. For example, excel spreadsheets might work fine in the near term for cataloging assets, but what about long term? How well will it evolve as you evolve? Start in the area that you see the most value to your governance program and then expand as your needs expand or as you start to realize the value of adding additional components.
Tip #5: Look for an integrated solution
Having an integrated solution just makes the governance process that much easier. You want to eliminate as many manual points as possible, as governance should be something under the covers that gets applied to the environment. This will enable higher rates of adoption for your governance program as it appears less disruptive to those that are being governed. Look for vendors that provide a solution whose technology components are integrated to support the lifecycle from end to end, regardless of the number of products they throw at you.
Keep these 5 tips in mind when evaluating purchasing decisions surrounding governance. Remember that governance is more people and process then it is technology, so make sure the technology you choose provides the best support for your culture and process.