A new IT governance system has boosted the adoption of service-oriented architecture (SOA) technology at the Carphone Warehouse.

The mobile phone retailer and broadband provider moved to an SOA-based infrastructure in 2005 and saw considerable benefits.

However the Carphone Warehouse also encountered some difficulties. It found some 53 percent of new service designs were initially failing its governance test - a manual process.

The company also found that it was accidentally duplicating some of the services it provided.

To address these issues the company trialled HP Systinet, an automated SOA governance tool designed to manage services from design to retirement, and last month,went live with a full system.

Pawel Maszczyk, enterprise architect at the Carphone Warehouse, told CIO sister title Computerworld UK that the company had brought in HP as soon as the extent of the savings to be made through governance automation became apparent. Now 95 percent of new service designs pass the governance test under the new software.

The system is projected to deliver savings of £526,000 over three years. Most of the projected savings, some £320,000, is expected to come from avoiding the accidental duplication of services. Another £93,750 will come from time saved managing governance, and £113,500 from time saved reviewing services.

Maszczyk said automating its governance procedures was allowing the Carphone Warehouse to build the right services in the right way.

“We gained visibility. If you’re looking for a service that does something in particular, you can identify it and reuse it quickly," he said.

“It also automates processes, so we know if there is a change to approve. Before Systinet, we had to go and find out if there was something that we needed to do. It automatically carries out mundane checks so we can launch new services more quickly.”

Governance has also enabled the IT department to deliver new services “in the shortest possible time”, in response to management needs.

The Carphone Warehouse said it is considering governance to cover actual process run time, rather than just the design stage. “We could get something that reports run time service statistics back to Systinet,” Maszczyk said.

He agreed with advice issued by other SOA project managers to involve all areas of management in SOA work. Adopting SOA also means adopting a new “mentality” on IT, he said. “It’s not an easy change. You have to explain what you’re trying to achieve."

The Carphone Warehouse, which operates in seven European markets and generated revenues of £4bn last year, is also engaged in a number of other key IT projects. Last November, it said it had cut the time needed to extract business intelligence data from 12 hours to 30 minutes after upgrading to an improved data integration tool from Informatica. It also runs Enigmatec IT process automation and management software to improve its support for critical applications.