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Building Blocks of SOA Governance

Establishing demand and supply centers is a reliable approach for SOA governance

New Roles Envisaged
Some of the important managerial roles we envisage in the demand and supply centers are:

  • General Manager, Business Services (in the demand centers) who can straddle both business process and IT domains to spearhead projects on BPM and service conceptualization and liaise with senior management in the business units and supply center
  • Manager, Business Services (in the demand centers) who is responsible for mapping processes into services, services modeling, user evaluation, operating the functional helpdesk, and liaising with counterparts in the supply center
  • General Manager, Services Architecture (in the supply center) who is involved in setting the enterprise standards for SOA, services conceptualization, service portfolio assessment and rationalization, maintaining services repository, and liaising with counterparts in demand centers
  • Services Implementation Manager (in the supply center) who is responsible for making decisions on building/buying/reusing services and implementing them, program management for implementing services, identifying KPIs for successful implementation, and liaising with counterparts in demand centers
  • Services Operations Manager (in the supply center) who is responsible for technical helpdesk operations, SLA management and QoS, and liaising with counterparts in demand centers

The Balancing Act
Having a demand center in each business unit can be expensive for smaller enterprises and can sometimes be ineffective in certain business units. A floating demand center would be the preferred model in such cases.

In some cases there is a possibility that the demand centers may behave as the business units do and develop rigidities that may weaken the role of the supply center. These demand centers may want to bypass the service center and shop for services directly from vendors. Not only should the supply center have the capability to convince beyond a doubt that they are the best value service providers for the business units, but it should also have the support of the senior executives in the enterprise in their role. Often the supply center will have questions raised on the transfer price charged for the services delivered and the mechanisms for calculating the transfer price by the demand center. The calculation of the transfer pricing for services should be transparent and the rules for apportionment among different business units be should perceived as fair.

We believe that bifurcating the IT function into demand and supply centers enhances accountability to the business unit, leverages scale and scope economies for delivering services, and prescribes clear roles and responsibilities for governance in the SOA context. The transition to demand and supply centers needs to be managed carefully, keeping in mind the governance guidelines and the roles and responsibilities bifurcation.


  • CobiT, 3rd Edition, Executive Summary, CobiT Steering Committee and the IT Governance Institute, July 2000.
  • Peter Weill, "Don't Just Lead, Govern: How Top-performing Firms Govern IT," MIS Quarterly Executive (3:1), March 2004.
  • Abdelkarim Erradi, Sriram Anand, and Naveen Kulkarni, SOAF: "An Architectural Framework for Service Definition and Realization," submitted to International Conference on Software Engineering 2006 Shanghai (China), September 2005.

More Stories By Dr. Srinivas Padmanabhuni

Dr. Srinivas Padmanabhuni is a principal researcher with the Web Services Centre of Excellence in SETLabs, Infosys Technologies, and specializes in Web Services, service-oriented architecture, and grid technologies alongside pursuing interests in Semantic Web, intelligent agents, and enterprise architecture. He has authored several papers in international conferences. Dr. Padmanabhuni holds a PhD degree in computing science from University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.

More Stories By Sriram Anand

Dr. Sriram Anand is a principal researcher at Infosys Technologies, Bangalore. Prior to joining Infosys he worked in IT consulting as well as product engineering in the US for over 12 years. His interests include enterprise architecture, service-oriented architecture, and legacy integration and software engineering methodologies. Dr. Anand is experienced in designing enterprise architectural strategy for leading U.S. companies in the financial services, retail, and pharmaceutical domains. He holds a Bachelor?s degree from IIT-Madras with a PhD from SUNY-Buffalo, USA.

More Stories By N. Dayasindhu

N. Dayasindhu, PhD, is a senior research associate at the Software Engineering Technology Labs, Infosys Technologies. His research helps IT organizations align better with business functions. He has published in peer-reviewed journals and conferences and has consulted for Fortune 500 enterprises.

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