Talking Points on Rationale for Vendors Participation in Standards Efforts

By Terence Blevins, Portfolio Manager, The MITRE Corporation

The following are simple communication messages responding to two high level questions; what messages are useful when trying to get a company to decide on engaging in a standards effort, and next, what type of people should get engaged?

Regarding what messages are useful when trying to get a company to decide on engaging in a standards effort? I have used 5 key points:

  1. Marketing – if a company has openness and/or interoperability as part of its messaging, it is important to be seen as participating in open standards consortia. It demonstrates corporate commitment – without participation customers will not really believe the company is walking the talk
  2. Cost of selling – if a company does not support industry standards they are constantly asked to rationalize why they do not support industry standards, which increases the time and cost to sell. Sometimes you don’t even get on the short list. When you have products that are certified and have the label this becomes less an issue.
  3. Cost of developing interface standards – interface standards are just plain expensive to develop; if you become involved with an industry group, like The Open Group, you are leveraging others to get a standard done that is likely to have a long healthy shelf life at a lower cost than developing it yourself.
  4. Cost of developing solutions – again by implementing a standard, it is cheaper than developing and testing an interface on your own.
  5. Ability to set the standard – if one already has a product suite that is connected with sound interface specifications; a Platinum member of The Open Group can submit that as the standard in the fast track and actually be seen as setting the standard. This promotes the company in the leadership position and commitment to the interoperability message.

To the other question what type of people should get engaged? I typically emphasize the following:

  • There are 2 roles – the high level participation at the board and then the standards detail role.
  • The high level role needs to be filled by someone with the strategic view of the company, and the participant needs to be promoting true interoperability and demonstrating a willingness to cooperate with others.
  • The standards detail role needs to be filled by someone close to the architecture and engineering side of the house and should be someone that can contribute to the standards process – whether standards development or establishing the certification program.

©2013-The MITRE Corporation. All rights reserved.

blevins_1 Mr. Blevins is a department head at MITRE. He is a Board Member of The Open Group, representing the Customer Council.

He has been involved with the architecture discipline since the 80s, much of which was done while he was Director of Strategic Architecture at NCR Corporation. He has been involved with The Open Group since 1996 when he first was introduced to the Architecture Forum. He was co-chair of the Architecture Forum and frequent contributor of content to TOGAF including the Business Scenario Method.

Mr. Blevins was Vice President and CIO of The Open Group where he contributed to The Open Group Vision of Boundaryless Information Flow™

He holds undergraduate and Masters degrees in Mathematics from Youngstown State University. He is TOGAF 8 certified.

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