Saturday, November 11, 2006

WebLayers Executes Asset Governance

Last week I saw the latest demo from WebLayers on their 'Policy Based Governance Suite'. The demo hit home for one simple reason. They've done a great job of laying out the extended SDLC from a roles / assets perspective and determining 'what' needs to be governed at each stage.

Most of the vendors in the space have approached the governance problem from a registry perspective which is an important aspect, but not exactly a holistic view. WebLayers takes a methodology / lifecycle perspective. Their tooling allows you to plug your own process with roles (Business Analysis, Application Architecture, Service Design, etc.) and identify 'what' needs to be governed in each area - then, define the policies for each asset or artifact.
Example: The Design Stage includes a "Service Designer"; this person creates a "WSDL"; and all WSDL's have a policy that "Namespaces must be used".

They do this by using an interceptor model. In essence, they've created a 'governance bus'. WebLayers provides intermediaries that sit between the asset creation tool (schema designer, IDE, etc.) and the repository that will store the asset (version control, CMDB, etc.) This allows their tool to inspect the newly created assets just after they've been created, but before they've been sent to production. The policies are applied to the assets and results displayed (pass, fail, etc.) to the author.

I've been calling this type of governance, "Asset Governance" because the emphasis in on looking at the final output that is created and determining if it complies with enterprise policies. IMHO, Asset Governance is an essential component of any SOA program that utilizes an offshore element ("WSDL is the Offshore Contract").

The product was lighter on the other two type of Governance that I look for: Process Governance and Portfolio Governance. We sum it up like this:
- Portfolio Governance focuses on finding right problem (prioritization)
- Process Governance focuses on ensuring that all the right steps are taken
- Asset Governance focuses on ensuring that the output of the steps were performed in accordance with policy

I talked with the WebLayers team about the other two types of governance and received feedback that traditional I.T. Governance & Project Management packages might solve the problem (see, Most of these vendors built their products prior to the SOA era and have not gone back and revisited the functionality. They have not killed the "application as the unit of work" and moved to "the service as the unit of work" nor have they updated ROI formulas based on "shared services" (thus reducing investment, increasing ROI).

IMHO, the SOA Governance space will eventually find a nice intersection that includes both classic I.T. Governance, and the more modern "asset & process governance". It will be interesting to see which of the vendors will have the courage to tackle the end-to-end governance problem.

No comments: