As SOA governance (also known as service governance refers ), the activities, decisions, roles and responsibilities ( assign roles to activities or decisions) for the regulation and control of a service-oriented architecture (SOA ) refers. Conflicts should not be avoided, but are discharged through standardized and accepted processes. In contrast to IT governance novel approaches are necessary because SOA not only the information technology (IT) encompasses, but also the business processes (BPM governance ), but also completely new issues addressed ( service governance).


Goal of SOA Governance is to strengthen the service business alignment or to allow strategies by service thinking. Here are SOA governance as a structure in the form of roles, tasks, decisions and responsibilities.

Typical goals that are to be considered at different levels, such as technical or business-related level, are:

  • Offer and use of services in the service ecosystem within interorganizational corporate networks or the Internet ( strategy through service acumen help )
  • Flexibility and agility of business processes ( Service - Business Alignment )
  • Enterprise Application Integration and Reuse ( Service - Business Alignment )

These targets have a certain degree antinomy, since, for example reuse is at the expense of flexibility. Therefore, high-level objectives are to be defined, but this is part of the SOA strategy and not the SOA governance.

SOA governance defines the appropriate structures with the aforementioned elements to achieve these goals through the SOA strategy. Both are not independent: Certain strategies require certain structures and different structures may make sense in a strategy. A structure can also apply multiple strategies. However, SOA governance has different characteristics, and subject to other conditions if there are any changes.


SOA governance must pursue the same goals and be integrated with other forms of governance in the company. Therefore, a prerequisite for SOA governance is a functioning corporate governance. In addition, the SOA governance needs to all other forms of governance of the various assets are matched (eg, IT governance, BPM governance, data governance ).


Similar to Corporate Governance SOA governance should seriously meet the long-term properties, can be modified and enforceable.


SOA Governance can be considered at different levels:

  • Lifecycle of a service
  • Composition of services
  • Services in the service ecosystem within interorganizational corporate networks or the Internet


Implement SOA governance mechanisms and support structure are dictated by activities, decisions, roles and responsibilities. Not everyone mechanism fits on any business venture because not every structure on each company fits.

Some possible mechanisms are:

  • Incentive systems for optimum results that support the goals
  • SOA Center of Excellence: The central point of the SOA in the enterprise initiated and coordinated
  • Service Level Agreement (SLA)
  • Communication policies ( both formal and informal)
  • Documentation guidelines

These mechanisms can be supported by software, such as Enterprise Service Bus, monitoring tools, policy tools, modeling tools or workflow systems.


The success of SOA governance is difficult to measure. Similarly difficult to be measured benefits of certain forms of SOA governance. This is also the case with corporate governance. However, it can distinguish between good and bad governance. A necessary condition for successful SOA governance is the efficiency ( = make things right ) of the SOA processes, which can be measured by a variety of process metrics. Sufficient condition is the effectiveness ( = the right things to make ) the SOA governance. Effectiveness can be determined, eg, based on IT Governance by Peter Weill by questioning the different roles. A science-based questionnaire for the different roles does not exist at the time. A further possibility is to measure the benchmarking. Measurements should be carried out regularly as the business environment changes and the SOA governance needs to be adjusted. However, for a change of SOA governance are based on other factors than in a SOA strategy.

Typical questions

Typical issues in SOA governance are:

  • Who is responsible for specific information and technical functionality in the enterprise?
  • How to identify services that are shareable? Who decides whether a service is provided?
  • How are shared services funded? Who bears the responsibility to provide such a service?
  • As the functionalities properties (eg reliability, response time ) and technical interfaces of services are documented?
  • How is the use of common services enforced? What rules and restrictions apply?
  • How can a service from which multiple users are subject to be changed?
  • How is compliance with the non-functional requirements ensured? In particular, the question of how necessary investments are financed in infrastructure.

Compliance with the rules is monitored as developed in the context of SOA governance. The creation and monitoring of rules form a control loop. Violations may be an indication of need to adjust the rules. If it is not, it is important for an effective SOA governance that compliance with the rules will be enforced.