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The Case for Coordinated EDM and SOA Strategies

And what strategic EDM & SOA components require attention to facilitate the appropriate coordination - Part 1

4. When establishing governance, stay away from dictatorships
As shown in Figure 7, there are three general governance approaches for organizations:

  • "Wild West": Non-existent or ad hoc and uncoordinated governance. Lack of enterprise-level coordination, with minimal governance processes/roles developed out of necessity in selected domains.
  • Federated: Coordinated independent efforts between domains. Selective enterprise coordination, but standards, best practices, and tools are inconsistent between domains. Also inconsistent coordination points with business requirements, etc., between domains.
  • Dictatorship: Centralized control of all data or service assets; all assets considered from an enterprise perspective, which is not as effective for domain-specific assets. Here, everything is coordinated at the cost of domain flexibility.

The goal is not to progress to dictatorial governance. While "Wild West" is a problem with lack of control/coordination, dictatorships swing the pendulum too far toward centralized control of all decisions regarding enterprise-wide and domain-specific assets (data or services).

Establishing balanced governance is facilitated by coordinated:

  • Data and SOA governance roles and processes
  • Enterprise-level EDM assets (EIA, MDM, metadata management) with enterprise-level SOA assets (enterprise architecture, SOA services model, and services portfolio)
  • Enterprise-level EDM and SOA architecture and design processes/tools

5. Establish a Center of Excellence (COE) to provide guidance, governance, and coordination
A well-organized and managed EDM or SOA environment should establish a COE to:

  • Involve appropriate stakeholders (business/IT) early and often
  • Facilitate necessary coordination between interdependent projects, programs, and organizational divisions

Mature EDM/SOA strategies include development and management of a supporting COE. However, there is the danger of organizations developing disparate EDM/SOA COEs when pursuing both strategies, despite overlapping roles, dependencies, and synergies.

As Figure 8 demonstrates, an Integration Competency Center (ICC) does more than a traditional COE by providing a design, development, prototyping, and testing sandbox for data and services integration.

An ICC provides processes/tools for EDM and SOA environments, and facilitates coordinated services and information architecture and development to achieve, among other things, service-data normalization.

An ICC coordinates with data-SOA governance and the EIA, as well as overall enterprise architecture concerns. It identifies key components managed within governance for which instances will reside in the ICC and/or production implementations.

Establishing a services-data COE/ICC for stakeholders and interdependent projects is facilitated by coordinated:

  • Data and SOA governance roles and processes
  • EIA and its enterprise data model, with SOA services portfolio and releases
  • EIA, MDM, and metadata management processes/tools with SOA services' initiatives architecture and design processes/tools
  • Enterprise-level EDM assets (EIA, MDM, and metadata management) with enterprise-level SOA assets (enterprise architecture, services model, services portfolio)
  • Enterprise-level EDM and SOA architecture and design processes/tools

6. Start with the right program size in the right area of emphasis
Starting too big with EDM or SOA can lead to mistakes. Think strategically, but act tactically with an emphasis on launching a realistic program that can become successful initially and grow. Develop a coordinated long-term vision for your EDM/SOA programs, and implement these incrementally in support of each other. Coordinated data-SOA governance programs, and a supporting COE/ICC that addresses data and services (see Best Practice # 5), can support the scoping and launch of a "right-sized" program.

For example, you can design sets of services around selected business and data models. The data model can be used to encapsulate business data, and the business model can link further business processes of applications with its software implementation (i.e., services). Business services typically consume data services that are usually not exposed outside the enterprise.

Alternatively, the data model may become primary design criteria for an application; the data model would be the best choice on which to base application services, user interfaces, and business process designs.

Implementing an appropriately sized and focused EDM-SOA program is facilitated by coordinated:

  • Data and SOA governance organizations and processes
  • EDM/SOA COEs (or ICCs) with the EIA and enterprise data model, and the SOA services portfolio and release management

7. Invest in systematically designed core services initially, allowing for rapid opportunistic extensions later
An SOA program may be launched tactically with flexibility and scalability to systematically incorporate program scope under the guidance of governance and an ICC.

Key intermediary services that intercept and handle operations common across services that should be reused include: authentication, logging, monitoring, and routing.

A common data services layer:

  • Provides abstraction between producers and consumers of data; service and data consumers are insulated from complexity, location, and changes in source systems
  • Presents services/data consumers, whether human, application, or services, with aggregated views from multiple sources
  • Manages, monitors, and reports on the enterprise views of data/metadata

SOA strategies cause organizations to implement an EIA and infrastructure in support of services, including common data services capable of supporting producers and consumers with timely and consistent information.

The main categories of data services include:

  • Enterprise Data Services: Directly around the data (e.g., retrieve, update). Also enablement of traditional MDM functionality (e.g., data quality/harmonization across systems exposed as services).
  • Enterprise Metadata Services: Around metadata (e.g., retrieve master data schema). SOA designers/developers creating business services, and those consuming them, reference organizational master data schemas via services.
  • Enterprise Data Platform Services: Around services/data platforms, including management, monitoring, and reporting.

Within other services, and across the data services layer, common infrastructure methods for search, access, creation, update, and deletion functionality are made available.

Systematically/progressively designing services is facilitated by coordinated:

  • Data and SOA governance organizations and processes
  • EIA and its enterprise data model, with SOA services portfolio and releases
  • EIA, MDM, and metadata management processes/tools with SOA services' initiatives architecture and design processes/tools
  • EDM/SOA COEs (or ICCs) with the EIA and enterprise data model, and SOA data with infrastructure services releases

Conclusion
This article demonstrates the case for coordinated EDM and SOA strategies and capabilities in organizations. It further shows what strategic EDM and SOA components require attention to facilitate appropriate coordination.

This article shows that organizations should develop a coordinated data-SOA governance program, as coordination needs to be established at leadership levels to enable the optimal value of their services and data. This is the highest priority toward coordinated EDM-SOA capabilities.

Initial data/SOA governance models should be coordinated for processes, checkpoints, and ownership. We rarely develop these strategies and governance models in coordination from scratch though hopefully this article will spark this. Hence, it's important to adapt appropriate processes and checkpoints between separate models and (re)define roles to support coordinated data-SOA governance.

Organizations should scale progressive EDM-SOA initiatives with shared data-SOA governance, processes, and communications complemented by educating EDM/SOA resources/stakeholder to effectively leverage each other in joint data-services development.

Ensure business- and data-modeling analysts are involved in services design (e.g., not just services analysts), so business functionalities are reflected rather than technical partitioning of software/data. An appropriate COE/ICC will facilitate diverse stakeholders working proactively to drive phases of coordinated EDM-SOA initiatives. Last, promote a culture of collaboration as an underpinning of successful EDM, SOA, and coordinated programs.

Part 2 of this series on EDM and SOA will introduce the coordinated service-oriented data architecture framework and the capability maturity model (CMM), including how to use the C-SODA framework and CMM to drive assessments and improvement roadmaps for organizational maturity.

More Stories By Keith R. Worfolk

Keith R. Worfolk is a senior architect with Hitachi Consulting. He has more than 21 years of senior IT management and executive-level success in strategic enterprise architecture, software development, and large-scale systems integration. He has strong international and Big 5 project experience. Keith earned an MBA from Duke University.

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