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SOA Governance: SOA requires changes in IT organization

Silos are not an accident, they exist for at least two reasons:

  1. The organization units (i.e. departments) managers tend to defend the ownership on the software applications that cover the processes falling under their competence. Unfortunately many E2E processes trespass the organizational borders of a single unit.
  2. In software development projects, the project manager (PM) success is measured with two simple KPI: time-to-delivery and development costs. This brings the PM to aprioristically refuse everything that is not under its direct control. Even the most open minded manager will try to avoid the use of shared facilities (like virtual servers or SOA services) because he perceives those facilities as potential threat to the achievement of his goals.

The behaviour of both kinds of managers are justifiable and often forced. However it brings to the building of silos to the detriment to E2E processes execution.

time-to-delivery and development costs. This brings the PM to aprioristically refuse everything that is not under its direct control

The project manager success is measured with two simple KPI: time-to-delivery and development costs. This brings the PM to aprioristically refuse everything that is not under its direct control

 

Enhancements in E2E process executions, reuse of common assets (like SOA services), more agility, cannot be achieved if “vertical drivers” that bring to silos are not balanced by “horizontal drivers” that aim the reuse of shared assets.
The enterprises gain savings and agility in  the mid-long term when a reuse policy is enforced

The enterprises gain savings and agility in the mid-long term when a reuse policy is enforced

Organizations must commit a different organizational unit, with no vertical interest (i.e. SOA centre of excellence, the Enterprise Architecture team) to pursue an enterprise-wide reuse strategy. This unit must have the power to contrast vertical interests when they are counterproductive for the whole organization.

The role of SOA Governance

The role of SOA Governance

The life-cycle of software initiatives must be re-examined in order to allow the “horizontal unit” to look for reuse opportunities, to suggest best practices and to check for the rise of new silos. 

The very nature of SOA

One of the most critical challenge for organizations is to enhance their effectiveness and efficiency in the execution of “end-to-end processes”.  E2E processes are sequences of business activities triggered by a business event which terminate when the event is handled in all its aspects.
customer-centric organizations must enhance their E2E processes

customer-centric organizations must enhance their E2E processes

Every obstacle (technical or organizational) to the straightforward execution of the process and to its traceability reduces the quality of service perceived by the customer.

Customers are not the only external interface that triggers E2E processes: other stakeholders can be citizens, partners or authorities.

Business processes are progressively integrated in longer and longer value chains that create an unbroken line linking the internal (or externalized) activities with the external terminal interfaces. In this way is much easier to measure the capacity of the organization to stay successfully in the market.

This trend has progressive and radical impacts on the enterprise application’s architecture. The following picture shows a possible evolution in this sense.

horizontal processes vs. vertical application silos

horizontal processes vs. vertical application silos

In order to better execute, control and track horizontal E2E business processes, IT systems have to break the vertical walls, or silos, that software applications build at their borders.