SOA Best Practices
Service Oriented Architecture is regarded as the key to improve efficiency of Information Technology. But in order to implement Service Oriented Architecture at a Business, one needs to have a lot more than just technical expertise. It is essential to hone skills in management practices. In this article, we will focus on the governance principles that have become widely regarded as the best practices in relation to Service Oriented Architecture.
Today’s competitive environment has seen Information Technology chains and Businesses merging at an increasing rate. Service Oriented Architecture and enterprise architecture are spoken of as independent from Information Technology implementations. With this drastic change in the Business environment, it is vital to seek out new ways to structure Businesses while retaining Information Technology integrity. The key to this is finding ways to define and develop such architectures as Service Oriented Architecture.
Motivation & Objections
Owing to the numerous issues and challenges that exist within the computing industry, the role of Information Technology has been significantly altered. In this era, Information Technology has to react in a fast and efficient way in order to enable Business transactions to occur in real time. Information Technology is forced to manage and design part of a complex, highly integrated enterprise wide architecture. What this means is the boundaries between Business side of an operation and Information Technology side is increasingly getting blurred.
Governance is meant to provide a structure that will support the Business objectives of customers on a number of levels, including strategy, functioning, and operations. Governance is meant to provide rules, metrics, processes, as well as organizational constructs that are necessary for effective planning, steering, decision making, and control of Service Oriented Architecture engagement as a means of achieving the Business needs of customers as well as their challenging targets. An effective Service Oriented Architecture governance model should define what is to be done, how to go about accomplishing it, as well as how it should be measured effectively.
Following are some of the most important questions that help in defining a good governance structure within Service Oriented Architecture engagements.
- What are some of the advantages for the customer in such an engagement? What are the expectations and objectives of the customer?
- What are the roles, procedures, structures, and responsibilities that are already in place at the customer’s site for Information Technology planning, decision making, and steering?
- How can competency in leadership and skill be developed?
- What are the guidelines and principles that are necessary for the optimization of the alignment of Information Technology and Business?
- What is a good way for structuring Business and Information Technology so that the two will interact in a way that will maintain consistency while also keeping flexibility open enough to rapidly adapt to new changes that occur?
- What level of service, description, and service definition standardization is appropriate?
- How will services and service providers best be measured and controlled? Who should monitor, authorize, and define changes to services that currently exist?
- How should the sourcing strategy of services be decided upon?
- What are the current problems? How can the client be helped to solve them?
Based on our experience, it appears like a formalized and accepted governance model is really the key for the successful attainment of Business objectives. Thus, it is advisable to establish governance functions in Service Oriented Architecture engagements.
The governance model must simultaneously address the fundamental requirement of incremental adaptation, while focusing on utilizing the lessons that have been learned in every step as a means of defining and executing the next step. In order for the governance model to succeed, a new governance body must be created for the implementation and adaptation of the Service Oriented Architecture. In order to attain a fast and high rate of acceptance, it is advisable to utilize the client’s existing organization, working together with them to adapt it to Service Orientation Architecture engagement.
Models of Governance
Critics studying Service Oriented Architecture governance have in recent years arrived at the conclusion that there has been a major drawback in the typical approaches that have been made in this area. While every single Service Oriented Architecture governance product does take into account the control and usage of services, a lot of individuals working in this field tend to unintentionally ignore data management issues. Services can be thought of as transactional behavior that fronts data.
While a lot of services may be built as true data services, they are still services and have to be dealt with; they must also deal with data management themselves. Both run time and design time Service Oriented Architecture governance products tend to take in to account service as a conceptual entity while ignoring the concept of data management – particularly the concept of abstraction from the physical database, not to mention the management of changes from orchestrations to abstractions, composites, and physical data.
When taking in to consideration Service Oriented Architecture governance, data must be dealt with and taken in to consideration in an effective manner. Services are quite important, but they tend to deal with information. We must pay attention to all sides of the problem in order to get the job done effectively.
The governance model is an effective combination of joint processes, organizational structure, and relationships that are based on ground rules known as governance principles as well as strategic direction. The approach has been developed based on experiments in large and complex engagements.
The defining of a customer’s strategic direction is necessary to achieve success in the development of an appropriate Service Oriented Architecture while simultaneously staying focused on the needs of the Business. A firm understanding of both the Business objectives and strategy is needed for both Information Technology and the Business side of the operation.
Governance principles and guidelines are necessary to form the primary basis of any major decision. Such principles are needed to shape the solution area, while also defining the way in which effective collaboration will occur. Thus, governance principles should be well understood by all those working in the executive management level. One of the primary guidelines is the governance approach. The two main approaches are outlined below:
- Central Governance. This is best for an enterprise. The governance council is represented with members of each tier of the service domain. There are also present subject matter experts who are capable of communicating with the people responsible for implementing key technological solution components. This council will review any additions or deletions to the service list, while also reviewing changes to existing services and authorizing any necessary change implementation.
- Distributed Governance. This model works best for distributed teams. Every Business unit will have control over how it is to provide services within its own organization. Thus, a functional service domain approach is necessary in this scenario. Guidelines and standards are provided to different teams by the central committee.
Every principle must be defined with a rationale that expounds upon the principle’s implications and main purposes. The guiding principles are meant to define strict ground rules for the utilization, development, and maintenance of Service Oriented Architecture.
The main principles for architectural design and service definition may be extract from these main guiding principles that are focused on particular themes. Such principles characterize the intrinsic behavior for the type of design to be implemented, while also covering the guiding principles and specific architectural principles of the project.
Through the possession of a complete understanding of Service Oriented Architecture principles, a wise decision can be made regarding the applicability of Service Oriented Architecture to design problems. Such principles drive many characteristics that are necessary for a service’s design. Each of the characteristics may be traced back to one or more Service Oriented Architecture design principles that are meant to provide integrity to the principles and the characteristics alike.
Processes of Governance
Governance processes can be thought of as the processes necessary for strategic Information Technology steering and planning. These might include Information Technology planning, strategy development, portfolio management, architecture management, sourcing, and innovation management.
Within the context of Service Oriented Architecture engagement, the Architecture Management Process should be established at the very beginning of the engagement. The primary goal of the Architecture Management Process is to guarantee that the defined Service Oriented Architecture develops in a consistent and efficient manner.
A standard Architecture Management Process that is readily adoptable within the scheme of client engagements is shown below. This particular process contains four sub processes that are well defined and available as an asset utilizing IBM LOVEM notation. LOVEM, by the way, is short for the “line of visibility engineering methodology.”