Service-oriented architecture is clearly the gateway to step improvements in IT solution development, but it requires more than just a new approach to how IT works with business users. It calls for a radically different approach to IT governance.
Accenture observes that while most leading companies' IT organizations are well on the way to adopting service-oriented architecture (SOA) capabilities, many find their progress slowed by big questions about who now owns the business services - and who controls them. While there are plenty of scenarios in which applications ownership and control is muddy, the questions are much trickier when they touch on who is in charge of and who pays for IT development in an SOA environment. And those questions are downright difficult when they get into who foots the bill for ongoing changes and maintenance.
When IT takes a services perspective, clarity of ownership becomes very cloudy. A high-level business service will combine component services and multiple business processes that span several different systems and applications. So how does IT know it is exposing the right services for a given business process - and that those services are documented, managed and maintained properly? At the same time, multiple departments and functions may benefit from the service. Everyone - and therefore no one - may own the actual business service that IT is supporting.
IT leaders are learning that if they are to achieve high performance with an SOA strategy and implementation, they must update and extend their IT governance structures so they provide guidance for the development and maintenance needs unique to SOA. SOA governance supports more efficient management of the overall SOA journey. Just as important, such governance supports better ways of funding, managing and operating the IT organization in support of SOA implementation.
Accenture's experience shows that organizations that adopt an SOA governance discipline increase their efficiency, improve their business responsiveness and realize their SOA business case sooner - and with less risk.