A SOM solution supervises and controls the delivery of a service from a service provider to a service requester. (It can also be seen as superising and controlling the consumption of services by a requestor from a number of providers - same view, different perspective) A SOM solution should be able to manage any service from any technology, without requiring code changes, special deployment or special development environments. In a lot of respects, SOM solutions are runtime solutions rather than development or deployment solutions.
The top 10 basic characteristics of a good SOM solution (in no particular order) are:
1. Manage the 'Service Use' not the 'Underlying Technology'. A good SOM solution will not be tied to a specific technology or platform, and will manage the delivery of services rather than deployment or implementation properties
2. Service Authorization in order to provide a flexible delivery capability in a highly secure environment
3. Scalability and High Performance because the cost of managing Qos should not outweigh the gains
4. Non-invasive to Service Requestors and Service Providers with minimal impact to infrastructure
5. Highly desirable for no customization, instrumentation, or special deployment environments
6. Support for mixed IT infrastructure environments
7. Out of the box support for the most common platforms and technologies
8. Be able to identify and apply individual service contracts to each service and requestor.
9. Should support monitoring, quality of service management using SLA's, routing, prioritization, and reporting.
10. Focus on runtime and operational management issues rather than development or deployment issues.