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Microservices Expo: Article

Optimizing the Benefits of EDM and SOA by Coordinating Strategies

Introducing the C-SODA Framework & CMM

From the SOA Perspective
This perspective is intended to help SOA-focused stakeholders better understand the SOA-EDM coordination points, including:

  1. SOA governance and services stewardship with data governance and stewardship
  2. IT roadmap releases for interrelated services/data
  3. SOA services portfolio and release management with EIA and Enterprise Data Model
  4. SOA services releases with EIA releases
  5. SOA services' designs with master data and MDM
  6. SOA service initiatives' designs with MDM and metadata management
  7. SOA services with metadata and metadata management
  8. SOA components' metadata (e.g., services' WSDL, ESB configuration, and security settings) with metadata management
  9. SOA services' initiatives design processes and tools with EIA, MDM, and metadata management processes/tools
  10. Enterprise architecture releases, including technical architecture supporting ESB and integration points to data stores and consumers as well as to EIA and its database references
  11. SOA initiatives' services architecture/development with EIA, MDM, and metadata management
  12. Initiative-level SOA services architectural processes and roles with those for EIA, MDM, and metadata management

Additional COE or ICC Coordination Points
In mature EDM/SOA environments that have Center of Excellence (COE) or Integration Competency Center (ICC) capabilities, additional coordination points for EDM/SOA programs are:

  • COE/ICC with data - SOA governance, SOA services portfolio/releases, EIA, and Enterprise Data Model
  • COE/ICC roadmap development, releases with EIA releases, Enterprise Data Model, and SOA services portfolio/releases

With a more enlightened SOA approach that is consistent with EDM objectives, services and data are reused. Hence, another reason to coordinate these strategies is to facilitate these natural synergies.

Coordinated Data - SOA Governance as a Linchpin
Besides strong dependencies between EDM/SOA strategies that alone justify coordination, there are significant opportunities for economies and the ability to manage each strategy more effectively when jointly governed.

SOA governance is the foundation for key coordination points with EDM at both the strategic (e.g., MDM and EIA) and tactical (e.g., service-data stewardship, metadata management) levels. Governance of both services and data is the primary linchpin for coordinating both strategies and underlying processes, quality checkpoints, and artifacts.

Early in establishing coordinated data-SOA governance, both services/data should have stewards designated through their respective governance programs. Service-data relationships form virtual stewardship "communities." Service stewards will employ the appropriate data stewards (i.e., for data utilized by services) in requirements, designs, testing, and services evolution. Coordinated data-SOA governance processes/roles manage these relationships.

Significant MDM & SOA Dependencies & Synergies
Master data can help break down operational silos, which is a natural synergy with the SOA mission to do the same via cross-domain services and their reusability.

Master data is the consistent set of identifiers (data) and extended attributes (metadata) that describe core enterprise entities used across business processes/services. Master data is not all your data, just the subset required for sharing and standardization. By definition, it's changed infrequently and is referenced by business processes, transactions, and reusable services. This is the undeniable linkage between master data and MDM to SOA strategies/activities.

The scope of master data includes core subject-area elements, maintained in a referenceable repository. Additionally, standard (e.g., SOA) services for manipulating/reusing data objects are developed as part of MDM change management and governance processes.

When organizations use master data at an enterprise level, the need for separate departmentally maintained "versions of the truth" are alleviated. Although users often say they want a "single view of data," what they really want are multiple views for stakeholders. This is where metadata relates directly to MDM, where referenceable interpretations of master data to the "gold standard" source can be managed for stakeholder views/services.

There are also related impacts on real-time transformations between data stores and users, generally requiring metadata transformations of "in-flight" data. Hence, progressive SOA capabilities raise new data management issues beyond those addressed by traditional EDM, MDM, and data governance for "static" data.

SOA naturally exposes data issues to more people, processes, and integrated systems. A focus on EDM is needed when in support of an SOA. Through EDM, and primarily MDM, organizations achieve consistency, accuracy, and integrity of information assets in support of key strategic initiatives, such as the successful migration toward an SOA environment.

What MDM Can Learn from SOA
MDM and SOA share similar design principles. For example:

  • Contract First: Interfaces in MDM and services definitions (i.e., WSDL) in SOA
  • Reusability: Data conformance in MDM, and fundamental and composite service designs in SOA
  • Discoverability: Data through the master data repository in MDM and services through the SOA services registry
  • Abstraction: Source data system complexity and MDM, and underlying services complexity with SOA

Additional SOA paradigms can contribute to the maturity of MDM. For example, extending MDM with "loose coupling" (i.e., a federated approach) allows support for SOA's semantic conformance needs and can create an agile MDM system. Such a service-oriented MDM system provides data quality, conformance, and other MDM functionality as business or data services, enabled for human, application, or business service consumption.

MDM systems should also be configured to handle extensible data types (XML, HTML, PDF, etc.) to expose the Master Data Model for services consumption. Architects should develop unifying schemas for merging content types; with XML's increasing adoption as the standard for information exchange, barriers to content convergence (e.g., via business or presentation services) can be mitigated.

EDM and SOA are integral parts of the same EA puzzle and neither can mature successfully without the other. As with the many dependencies and synergies for simultaneous implementation of both these strategies, a common framework and maturity model can lend itself to the evaluation of organizational readiness as well as to the planning of roadmap initiatives for these strategies in a coordinated fashion.

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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