Understanding the Levels of Governance

April 18, 2008

While there are a number of ways to look at governance, let’s look at some of the different levels (or types) of governance that are happening (or should be happening) in an organization:

– Service level governance. Service level governance typically has to do with the definition, the modeling, the provisioning, etc. of services that are part of an SOA solution.

– SOA governance. SOA related governance deals with how to manage the lifecycle of services and processes within an organization. As noted above, SOA governance should include processes that handle the entire SOA lifecycle, from service requirements through service design, development and deployment, and all the way to on-going maintenance, upgrades, re-use and even service retirement.

– IT governance. IT governance has a much broader perspective than simply the governance of services. Instead, IT governance deals with business and IT alignment and managing IT initiatives so they’re consistent and supportive of business needs. IT governance basically includes the structures, processes and accountability aspects for ensuring that an organization’s IT department is supporting business needs.

– Corporate governance. Corporate governance is the biggie. Corporate governance has to do with the overall polices and processes within the greater corporate organization and ensuring that an organization follows consistent practices and supports and meets regulatory and business requirements.

Understanding the different levels of governance is important when trying to build a business case for SOA and trying to ensure that your organization is taking the appropriate steps to reduce risk and align business and IT.

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