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Service oriented architecture or SOA governance involves the management of specific IT assets classed as part of a service oriented architecture. Generally, this is the collection of individual software systems into a unified architecture that serves the needs of an enterprise.
At its core, service oriented architecture is the idea that multiple components or services can work together towards a comprehensive goals of a company or business. Some experts compare a service oriented architecture for a network to the role of an operating system on a single computer. Service oriented architectures work on the principle that multiple services act toward a set of greater objectives supporting business processes.
Service oriented architecture governance can take various forms. Managers pursuing this goal may look at the service oriented architecture for the value that it provides to stakeholders, as well as for compliance, change management, and effective business process support. Those doing service oriented architecture governance may also look at return on investment or ROI for a particular set of services or at the entire life cycle of services, or at benchmarks involving the agility of systems, the speed of products or services to market, or other goals. Practically speaking, service oriented architecture governance can start with an SOA registry identifying the components of the SOA, and will seek to define a plan that maintains an SOA system or creates one by adding layers or other support functionality to legacy applications.