Is SOA governance DOA?

Many things are going right in SOA-ville, but good governance is hard to find

Some of you may have caught the InformationWeek article entitled "State Of SOA," by Roger Smith.

There is some good information in there, and it validates some of the accretions I've been making here. Read for yourself:

Reports of SOA's demise have been greatly exaggerated, according to the 270 business technology professionals InformationWeek Analytics surveyed for this report on the state of service-oriented architecture. But that's not to say there isn't trouble in SOA-ville: Just 23% of respondents say that their organizations have deployed a SOA, and a mere 7% of these report that the resulting systems are available for external use. Twenty-nine percent are experimenting or in development, while 31% have no plans. Much-touted business benefits of SOA, such as increased flexibility and business agility, reduced costs, and improved time to market, weren't major factors speeding increased adoption. The percentage of overall software reuse within organizations rose by just 7 points after initiating a SOA project, from 32% to 39%.

One of the core findings of this report is that, as I've been saying, reuse has not been the core benefit of SOA, with only marginal increases in reuse by those implementing SOA. Most find SOA a positive movement within IT around architectural improvement and agility, but the lack of SOA education is hurting adoption.

Part of the problem: The percentage of overall software reuse within organizations was only marginally higher after initiating SOA, with a 32% reuse rate cited before the SOA project versus 39% after. The key for maximizing Web service reuse in an enterprise is good SOA governance. However, good governance is hard to find in many IT shops, especially those with outdated incentive structures that encourage developers to write pages of code rather than reuse existing Web services components.

I agree with that assessment. Indeed, many issues with governance have been around neglecting the people and processes within IT, and instead tossing technology at the problem. Far too many times I see IT looking to promote service reuse by policy management or just the act of doing SOA, and the reality is that it's good old-fashioned education that needs to be the focus.

The core theme of the article seems to be responding to the whole "SOA is dead" thing. No one is really saying SOA is dead, it's just changing. You have to read the entire blog, and not just the headlines.

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