Better Goverance for IT Results

Few topics in today’s organizations present such a diverse set of both business and technology challenges as governance. Governance consists ofestablishing chains of responsibility, policies that guide the organization, control mechanisms to ensure compliance with those policies, and communication and measurement amongst all parties. However, what constitutes a policy and what activities and tools the organization requires for governance are questions that have a broad diversity of answers.

Nowhere are the differences among various definitions of governance more pronounced than in the contrast between lines of business and information technology (IT). From the business perspective, top executives as well as government regulators set policies for the organization, which explain in often broad terms how various individuals within the company must act in certain circumstances. From the IT perspective, however, governance covers a range of policies that span the gamut from purchasing and hiring policies all the way to firewall and coding policies and enforcing service-level agreements.

Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) is a well-adopted approach to organizing IT resources to better meet the changing needs of the business. Governance is essential to ensuring that organizations realize the business benefits of SOA consistently through their IT implementations. Furthermore, as such firms adopt SOA, they become better able to provide more flexible governance overall. The big win for SOA governance, therefore, extends well beyond the SOA initiative and applies the lessons of SOA governance into all parts of the organization.

This paper explores the relationship among SOA, IT and corporate governance, defines the key lessons of SOA governance, and summarizes how these best practices expand well beyond SOA to deliver better governance overall.