Want SOA? Got Data Governance?

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I had a topic in the hopper that I wanted to talk about soon, something along the lines of…”Want SOA at your organization? You better have Data Governance. Well, Neil Hepburn beat me to the punch, sorta, with his article titled SOA without IT Governance = Goodluck, which I might add is a great title.

Neil has a compelling discussion that boils down to the fact that to implement a SOA strategy, without managed data and metadata is, “like boarding a ship with an incompetent navigator. Will you get to your destination? Sure, but it’ll take you a lot longer, and cost you a lot more.”

Ed Tittel has a great article about SOA and Data Governance. While Data Governance and IT Governance are distinctly different, they are both essential to successful SOA. SOA involves the highest level of reusability for any services performed in an organization. In order for this to be truly reusable, you absolutely must have your data governed…. because yes, the services are systems talking to one another, that is the infrastructure. But what is being passed between the services? Data.

The Data Governance aspect for SOA is that all systems are using the same calculations for enterprise fields, all terminology is the same across fields (this gets messy with mergers and acquisitions), that the metadata is matching for like fields (length, type), etc. If you don’t have all of these governance aspects already in place for the data, it will make implementing SOA at your organization that much harder.

Analyzing Feedback
Another aspect to data governance that is often overlooked is reviewing customer feedback. How often is the company getting requests for name changes, address changes, typos fixed, errors corrected, etc? The company may be losing thousands of dollars or more a month changing data that, if managed correctly, would not have been wrong in the first place. A solution worth looking into are the many different enterprise feedback management systems available by a plethora of vendors.