Organizations have invested in service-oriented architecture because it delivers proven advantages: decreasing time to deliver new capabilities, lowering development and maintenance costs, and improving the ability to share data and functionality across system and organizational silos. When applied to solve business problems, these advantages translate into a variety of business benefits, such as faster time to market for new products and improved customer service across multiple business channels. However, effective SOA governance is essential to achieve these benefits. Without SOA governance, companies can instead find themselves spending more time and money compared to traditional development and losing control of the expected business benefits as their SOA spins out of control.

By definition, SOA shifts the focus of IT from building monolithic applications to creating a suite of modular software services. Traditional development approaches created monolithic, tightly coupled applications designed for a single purpose. In contrast, SOA development results in modular, pluggable and ready-for-use services that can be discovered, shared and combined to support any number of business applications across the enterprise. However, it also results in a dramatic increase in the number of interdependent moving parts in the systems environment.

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