Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Realizing Business Flexibility Through Integrated SOA Policy Management

Executive summary

Increasingly, companies are looking to service-oriented architecture (SOA) to reconcile and unify IT systems and business processes, and to support a more flexible and agile business. But the benefts of SOA are sometimes not immediately visible because it takes time to clearly defne sets of governance processes and business goals, and to establish a way to enforce and monitor processes and goals.

Policy management, however, can be a powerful vehicle to achieve a SOA evolution. It plays a key role in enabling SOA governance practices, designed to help businesses identify and focus on key critical services. Adding policies establishes points of control and agility for business and IT, accelerating the adoption of SOA solutions by providing fexibility and responsiveness.

IBM defnes SOA policy management as a methodology and a set of elements (software architecture, tools, infrastructure and processes) in an SOA solution that focus on the consistent authoring, transformation, deployment, enforcement, monitoring, and auditing of directives and requirements related to the operation of SOA-based services. Key activities for SOA policy management include the expression of a desired state—or an action to be performed—that
is recognizable by humans; the creation of elements and attributes that can be understood and automated by machines; and the enforcement and monitoring of a desired state or action.

Within SOA governance, policy management makes business and technical decisions visible to the organization. Good SOA management practices enable business and IT to converge on a common strategy to achieve SOA. And using policy management, rather than hard coding application logic, to achieve business goals can drive business agility and fexibility.