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WOA governance

WOA governance

August 26, 2008 0 Comments

Joe McKendrick wrote an interesting post on WOA winning the personality contest versus SOA.

That got me to thinking: If we need governance for SOA, do we need it for WOA also?

Some  would argue that it's the complexity of SOA itself (driven by the enterprise top-down focus) that creates the need for a formalized SOA governance initiative.  Without formal SOA governance you can't hope to succeed with SOA because it's too easy to get it wrong.

But WOA removes or bypasses many of the complexities of SOA (no need for complex tools, no need for WS-splat and all the arcane requirements that go along with that). So do you still need governance for it?

The answer is probably yes (if you're an enterprise architect, you can stop holding your breath now).  But, I think the approach to "WOA governance" is going to be fundamentally different than that of SOA governance (OK, time for the EA's to hold their breath again).

In traditional SOA governance, enterprise architects set rules for the providers and consumers of services to follow - they set the rules that govern both sides of the interaction.  This works fine in an enterprise where everyone ends up reporting to one common person when you look far enough up the chain.

But, let's look at a WOA example: Progress Software consumers services published by Salesforce.com.  If we were to apply a traditional SOA governance approach to this, we'd first appoint an "Enterprise Architect for the Internet" who would set all the policies that both Progress and Salesforce.com would have to follow.  Simple really.  Except the part about "appointing an EA for the Internet".  That might be a bit tricky. So, you can see, the top-down approach of SOA governance totally falls down when you look at WOA.

But, if a top-down approach doesn't work, what does?  Do we not have to solve some fundamental "governance" problems still?  Problems like:

  • How can a provider make it easier to on-board customers and keep them happy (all while changing the service frequently)?
  • How can a consumer establish and build trust in their service provider (that's trust as in "trust but verify")?

WOA absolutely has to address these challenges.  So, for WOA we need to achieve many of the same goals that SOA governance hopes to achieve - but we'll have to achieve them in a fundamentally different way.

dan foody

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