Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) is being embraced by many organizations as way to both, become more efficient and increase responsiveness and speed. A study by McKinsey and Company reports that 60% of the CIOs surveyed planned to use SOA projects to achieve their objectives. Although some organizations are beginning to realize benefits from SOA implementations, many are struggling with the very thing that is at the core of SOA: sharing services across organizational silos.
This is demanding a more matured governance that was required before. According to Gartner a successful SOA program "necessitates new processes, ranging from governance, through development, to operations." The more organizations that share in the development and consumption of shared services, the greater the return in the initial and on-going investment. However, this complicates the speed and quality of decision making unless the appropriate IT governance is quickly designed and implemented.
Governance at its essence is effective decision making. As such, after ensuring we have a clear and compelling strategy we need to focus on selecting the governance decisions that matter most. There are many, many decisions that need to be considered; however, an organization needs to prioritize them based on their impact to strategic objectives, their impact to business failure if not properly done, and their financial impact. We shouldn't underestimate the work that is required to properly govern just one decision: defining the decision making criteria, the roles and authority, and the governance processes needed to make the decision. This is why we need to be careful to start with the most critical decisions and grow the number of decisions that are in governance control.