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Issue XL, June 2010

SOA Scorecard

Prabhu Kapaleeswaran, Robert Laird

Prabhu Kapaleeswaran
Robert Laird

Measuring the performance of any initiative is imperative for its success. "If you don't measure it, you won't improve it" is something that we've found to continually be true. In the past few years, the Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) has become an accepted architectural paradigm, but SOA metrics have not kept up. While, some organizations have had success utilizing SOA, this has typically been in spite of lack of SOA metrics, not because of it. Organizations often struggle in translating technology value of an initiative into business value that the business organization can really understand. Though SOA is supposed to help in technology connecting with the business, there is very minimal prescriptive literature and framework that can guide us in terms of aligning the business and IT. This article looks at utilizing a strategic performance management tool. A "Balanced Scorecard" is a concept that has been around for some time, used for measuring the overall impact of an initiative or department (for example, an "IT Balanced Scorecard"). Extending this concept to SOA makes sense and will be useful for measuring the performance of SOA. Instead of looking at which specific business initiatives SOA can support to drive the revenue numbers, this article looks at SOA itself as a business and should help you to initiate the creation of a Balanced Scorecard for SOA...

Understanding SOA Governance

Anne Thomas Manes

Anne Thomas Manes

Effective governance is a critical element in fostering a successful SOA initiative. SOA promises to deliver a number of important business benefits, including faster time-to-market, lower costs, better consistency, and increased agility. But with great benefits come high risks. SOA requires fundamental changes to the planning, development, and operation of application systems, and it requires new levels of collaboration among project teams within the IT department and across lines of business. In fact, current IT practices, which typically focus on individual projects, time-to-market, and cost containment, frequently discourage SOA adoption. SOA governance helps the organization succeed with SOA by mitigating these risks through established rules, processes, and decision-making authority. A SOA governance program helps people do things according to the organization's goals and best practices. An effective governance program empowers people to handle ambiguity, balance short- and long-range goals, and reduce conflict within the organization. This following article provides an introduction to governance, explains how it works, and differentiates it from management. You will find this content useful if you have not been involved in establishing a governance program before or if you would like to gain another perspective on the mechanics of governance...

Understanding Service Composition
Part III: Dealing With Data

John deVadoss

John deVadoss

To their detriment many service-oriented architecture efforts tend to prioritize and focus on the technology connectivity (such as SOAP, HTTP, and WS-*), between and across services, over the business connectivity (such as, the task of exchanging and communicating business concepts and entities and their semantics). The ability to harmonize business entities and concepts across multiple services is critical to successful service composition. How does this manifest itself? Let us once again consider the self-service application scenario; but this time, let us consider a customer scenario in a large bank. The customer service representatives require a single view of the customer in order to enable superior customer service, to enable better decision making and to enhance the relationship with the customer, both to retain existing customers as well as to acquire new ones. The challenge with building a service-oriented architecture to support these requirements is that often there is no single store of customer data in the bank; and, the customer data is fragmented across multiple legacy business systems. In the real world there is often no single identifier for the customer data - the bank may have built some applications in-house, such as it may have acquired some other applications off-the-shelf and some services have been brought on-board as part of recent mergers with other smaller banks. Combining data to provide a single view of the customer is hard enough, but without a common identifier it is that much harder...

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