Category Archives: UNIX

Brand Marketing of Standards

By Allen Brown, President and CEO, The Open Group

Today everyone is familiar with the power of brands. Managed well, they can develop strong biases amongst customers for the product or service, resulting in greatly increased revenues and profits. Managed badly, they can destroy a product or an organization.

I was sitting in San Francisco International Airport one day. A very loud couple was looking for somewhere to get coffee. The wife said, “There’s a Peet’s right here.” Angrily the husband replied, “I don’t want Peet’s, I want Starbucks!”

A jewelry retailer in the UK had grown, in six years, from having 150 stores to more than 2,000, with 25,000 staff and annual sales of £1.2 billion. Then at the Institute of Directors conference at the Royal Albert Hall in 1991, he told an audience of 5,000 business leaders the secret of his success. Describing his company’s products, he said: ‘We also do cut-glass sherry decanters complete with six glasses on a silver-plated tray that your butler can serve you drinks on, for £4.95. People say “How can you sell this for such a low price?”  I say, because it’s total crap.’  As if that were not enough, he added that his stores’ earrings were ‘cheaper than a prawn sandwich, but probably wouldn’t last as long’.

It was a joke that he had told before but this time it got into the press. Hordes of people queued at his stores, immediately that word got out, to return everything from earrings to engagement rings. The company was destroyed.

The identity of a brand emerges through communication backed up by a promise to customers. That promise can be a promise of quality or service or innovation or style. Or it can be much less tangible: “people like you buy this product”, for example.

Early in my career, I worked for a company that was in the business of manufacturing and marketing edible oils and fats – margarines, cooking oils and cooking fat.   When first developed, margarine was simply a substitute for the butter that was in short supply in the UK during wartime. But when butter once again became plentiful, the product needed to offer other advantages to the consumer. Research focused on methods to improve the quality of margarine–such as making it easier to spread, more flavorful and more nutritious.

At the time there were many brands all focused on a specific niche which together amounted to something like a 95% market share. Stork Margarine was promoted as a low cost butter substitute for working class households, Blue Band Margarine was positioned slightly up-market, Tomor Margarine for the kosher community, Flora Margarine was marketed as recommended by doctors as being good for the heart and so on. Today, Unilever continues to market these brands, amongst many others, successfully although the positioning may be a little different.

Creating, managing and communicating brands is not inexpensive but the rewards can be significant. There are three critical activities that must be done well. The brand must be protected, policed and promoted.

Protection starts with ensuring that the brand is trademarked but it does not end there. Consistent and correct usage of the brand is essential – without that, a trademark can be challenged and the value of the brand and all that has been invested in it can be lost.

Policing is about identifying and preventing unauthorized or incorrect usage of the mark by others. Unauthorized usage can range from organizations using the brand to market their own products or services, all the way up to counterfeit copies of the branded products. Cellophane is a registered trademark in the UK and other countries, and the property of Innovia Films. However, in many countries “cellophane” has become a generic term, often used informally to refer to a wide variety of plastic film products, even those not made of cellulose,such as plastic wrap, thereby diminishing the value of the brand to its owner. There are several other well-known and valuable marks that have been lost through becoming generic – mostly due to the brand owner not insisting on correct usage.

Promotion begins with identifying the target market, articulating the brand promise and the key purchase factors and benefits. The target market can be consumers or organizations but at the end of the day, people buy products or services or vote for candidates seeking election and it is important to segment and profile the target customers sufficiently and develop key messages for each segment.

Profiling has been around for a long time: the margarine example shows how it was used in the past.   But today consumers, organization buyers and voters have a plethora of messages targeted at them and through a broader than ever variety of media, so it is critical to be as precise as possible. Some of the best examples of profiling, such as soccer moms and NASCAR dads have been popularized as a result of their usage in US presidential election campaigns.

In the mid-1990’s X/Open (now part of The Open Group) started using branding to promote the market adoption of open standards. The members of X/Open had developed a set of specifications aimed at enabling portability of applications between the UNIX® systems of competing vendors, which was called the X/Open Portability Guide, or XPG for short.

The target market was the buyers of UNIX systems. The brand promise was that any product that was supplied by the vendors that carried the X/Open brand conformed to the specification, would always conform and, in the event of any non-conformance being found, the vendor would, at their own cost, rectify the non-conformance for the customer within a prescribed period of time. To this day, there has only ever been one report of non-conformance, an obscure mathematical result, reported by an academic. The vendor concerned quickly rectified the issue, even though it was extremely unlikely that any customer would ever be affected by it.

The trademark license agreement signed by all vendors who used the X/Open brand carried the words “warrant and represent” in support of the brand promise. It was a significant commitment on the part of the vendors as it also carried with it significant risk and potential liability.   For these reasons, the vendors pooled their resources to fund the development of test suite software, so they could better understand the commitment they had entered into. These test suites were developed in stages and, over time, their coverage of the set of specifications grew.

It was only later that products had to be tested and certified before they could carry the X/Open brand.

The trademark was, of course protected, policed and promoted. Procurements that could be identified, which were mostly government procurements, were recorded and totaled in excess of $50bn in a short period of time. Procurements by commerce and industry were more difficult to track, but were clearly significant.

The XPG brand program was enormously successful and has evolved to become the UNIX® brand program and, in spite of challenges from open source software, continues to deliver revenues for the vendors in excess of $30bn per annum.

When new brand programs are contemplated, an early concern of both vendors and customers is the cost. Customers worry that the vendors will pass the cost on to them; vendors worry that they will have to absorb the cost. In the case of XPG and UNIX, both sides looked not at the cost but at the benefits. For customers, even if the vendors had passed on the cost, the savings that could be achieved as a result of portability in a heterogeneous environment were orders of magnitude greater. For vendors, in a competitive environment, the price that they can charge customers, for their products, is dictated by the market, so their ability to pass on the costs of the branding program, directly to the customer, is limited. However, the reality is that the cost of the branding program pales into insignificance when spread over the revenue of related products. For one vendor we estimate the cost to be less than 100th of 1% of related revenue. Combine that with a preference from customers for branded products and everybody wins.

So the big question for vendors is: Do you see certification as a necessary cost to be kept as low as possible or do you see brand marketing of open standards, of which certification is a part, as a means to grow the market and your share of that market?

The big question for customers is: Do you want to negotiate and enforce a warranty with every vendor and in every contract or do you want the industry to do that for you and spread the cost over billions of dollars of procurements?

brown-smallAllen Brown is President and CEO of The Open Group – a global consortium that enables the achievement of business objectives through IT standards.  For over 15 years, Allen has been responsible for driving The Open Group’s strategic plan and day-to-day operations, including extending its reach into new global markets, such as China, the Middle East, South Africa and India. In addition, he was instrumental in the creation of the Association of Enterprise Architects (AEA)., which was formed to increase job opportunities for all of its members and elevate their market value by advancing professional excellence.

 

 

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Filed under Brand Marketing, Certifications, Standards, Uncategorized, UNIX

Evolving Business and Technology Toward an Open Platform 3.0™

By Dave Lounsbury, Chief Technical Officer, The Open Group

The role of IT within the business is one that constantly evolves and changes. If you’ve been in the technology industry long enough, you’ve likely had the privilege of seeing IT grow to become integral to how businesses and organizations function.

In his recent keynote “Just Exactly What Is Going On in Business and Technology?” at The Open Group London Conference in October, Andy Mulholland, former Global Chief Technology Officer at Capgemini, discussed how the role of IT has changed from being traditionally internally focused (inside the firewall, proprietary, a few massive applications, controlled by IT) to one that is increasingly externally focused (outside the firewall, open systems, lots of small applications, increasingly controlled by users). This is due to the rise of a number of disruptive forces currently affecting the industry such as BYOD, Cloud, social media tools, Big Data, the Internet of Things, cognitive computing. As Mulholland pointed out, IT today is about how people are using technology in the front office. They are bringing their own devices, they are using apps to get outside of the firewall, they are moving further and further away from traditional “back office” IT.

Due to the rise of the Internet, the client/server model of the 1980s and 1990s that kept everything within the enterprise is no more. That model has been subsumed by a model in which development is fast and iterative and information is constantly being pushed and pulled primarily from outside organizations. The current model is also increasingly mobile, allowing users to get the information they need anytime and anywhere from any device.

At the same time, there is a push from business and management for increasingly rapid turnaround times and smaller scale projects that are, more often than not, being sourced via Cloud services. The focus of these projects is on innovating business models and acting in areas where the competition does not act. These forces are causing polarization within IT departments between internal IT operations based on legacy systems and new external operations serving buyers in business functions that are sourcing their own services through Cloud-based apps.

Just as UNIX® provided a standard platform for applications on single computers and the combination of servers, PCs and the Internet provided a second platform for web apps and services, we now need a new platform to support the apps and services that use cloud, social, mobile, big data and the Internet of Things. Rather than merely aligning with business goals or enabling business, the next platform will be embedded within the business as an integral element bringing together users, activity and data. To work properly, this must be a standard platform so that these things can work together effectively and at low cost, providing vendors a worthwhile market for their products.

Industry pundits have already begun to talk about this layer of technology. Gartner calls it the “Nexus of Forces.” IDC calls it the “third platform.” At the The Open Group, we refer to it as Open Platform 3.0™, and we announced a new Forum to address how organizations can address and support these technologies earlier this year. Open Platform 3.0 is meant to enable organizations (including standards bodies, users and vendors) coordinate their approaches to the new business models and IT practices driving the new platform to support a new generation of interoperable business solutions.

As is always the case with technologies, a point is reached where technical innovation must transition to business benefit. Open Platform 3.0 is, in essence, the next evolution of computing. To help the industry sort through these changes and create vendor-neutral standards that foster the cohesive adoption of new technologies, The Open Group must also evolve its focus and standards to respond to where the industry is headed.

The work of the Open Platform 3.0 Forum has already begun. Initial actions for the Forum have been identified and were shared during the London conference.  Our recent survey on Convergent Technologies confirmed the need to address these issues. Of those surveyed, 95 percent of respondents felt that converged technologies were an opportunity for business, and 84 percent of solution providers are already dealing with two or more of these technologies in combination. Respondents also saw vendor lock-in as a potential hindrance to using these technologies underscoring the need for an industry standard that will address interoperability. In addition to the survey, the Forum has also produced an initial Business Scenario to begin to address these industry needs and formulate requirements for this new platform.

If you have any questions about Open Platform 3.0 or if you would like to join the new Forum, please contact Chris Harding (c.harding@opengroup.org) for queries regarding the Forum or Chris Parnell (c.parnell@opengroup.org) for queries regarding membership.

 

Dave LounsburyDave is Chief Technical Officer (CTO) and Vice President, Services for The Open Group. As CTO, he ensures that The Open Group’s people and IT resources are effectively used to implement the organization’s strategy and mission.  As VP of Services, Dave leads the delivery of The Open Group’s proven collaboration processes for collaboration and certification both within the organization and in support of third-party consortia. Dave holds a degree in Electrical Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and is holder of three U.S. patents.

 

 

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Filed under Cloud, Data management, Future Technologies, Open Platform 3.0, Standards, Uncategorized, UNIX

Apple Registers Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion to the UNIX® 03 Standard

By Andrew Josey, The Open Group

Today, Apple, Inc. released the latest version of the Mac OS X, version 10.8, also known as “Mountain Lion.” In addition to the product’s release, we are pleased to announce that Mac OS X Mountain Lion has achieved certification to The Open Group UNIX® 03 standard, which is the mark for systems conforming to the Single UNIX Specification, Version 3.

The Single UNIX Specification is an open specification that defines the set of required interfaces for a conformant UNIX system. Support for the Single UNIX Specification permits wide portability of applications between compliant and compatible operating systems. High reliability, availability and scalability are all attributes associated with certified UNIX® systems. By registering operating systems as compliant with the Single UNIX Specification, UNIX system suppliers assure their users of the stability, application portability and interoperability of their products.

Over the years, Apple has been a great supporter of the UNIX standard, and today, Mac OS X is the most widely used UNIX desktop operating system. Apple’s installed base—over 50 million users— and commitment to the UNIX standard as a platform is significant to the UNIX certification program. We look forward to continuing to work with Apple and our other UNIX partners in promoting open and interoperable operating systems as the specification continues to evolve.

Andrew Josey is Director of Standards within The Open Group. He is currently managing the standards process for The Open Group, and has recently led the standards development projects for TOGAF 9.1, ArchiMate 2.0, IEEE Std 1003.1-2008 (POSIX), and the core specifications of the Single UNIX Specification, Version 4. Previously, he has led the development and operation of many of The Open Group certification development projects, including industry-wide certification programs for the UNIX system, the Linux Standard Base, TOGAF, and IEEE POSIX. He is a member of the IEEE, USENIX, UKUUG, and the Association of Enterprise Architects.

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UNIX® is Still as Relevant as Ever

By Andrew Josey, The Open Group

Despite being as old as man landing on the moon, the UNIX® operating system is still as relevant today as it was in 1969. UNIX is older than the PC, microprocessor and video display at 43. In fact, few software technologies since have since proved more durable or adaptable than the UNIX operating system. The operating system’s durability lies its stability – this is why the UNIX programming standard is crucially important. Since 1995, any operating system wishing to use the UNIX trademark has to conform to the Single UNIX Specification, a standard of The Open Group. In this blog we identify some of the reasons why this standard is still relevant today.

One of the key reasons is that the UNIX standard programming interfaces are an integral and scalable foundation for today’s infrastructure from embedded systems, mobile devices, internet routers, servers and workstations, all the way up to distributed supercomputers. The standard provides portability across related operating systems such as Linux and the BSD systems and many parts of the standard are present in embedded and server systems from HP, Oracle, IBM, Fujitsu, Silicon Graphics and SCO Group as well as desktop systems from Apple.

The Single UNIX Specification provides a level of openness which those without the standard cannot, ensuring compatibility across all these platforms. Because the standard establishes a baseline of core functionality above which suppliers can innovate, applications written to the standard can be easily moved across a wide range of platforms. It enables suppliers to focus on offering added value and guarantee the underlying durability of their products with the core interfaces standardised. UNIX interfaces have found use on more machines than any other operating system of its kind, demonstrating why having a single, maintained standard is incredibly important. The UNIX standard enables customers to buy with increased confidence, backed with certification.

The Open Group works closely with the community to further the development of standards conformant systems by evolving and maintaining the value of the UNIX standard. This includes making the standard freely available on the web, permitting reuse of the standard documentation in open source projects, providing test tools, and developing the POSIX and UNIX certification programmes.

The open source movement has brought new vitality to UNIX and its user community is larger than ever including commercial vendors, operating system developers and an entirely new generation of programmers. Forty years after it was first created, UNIX is still here, long after Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong hung up their moon boots. With the right standards in place to protect it, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t continue to grow in the future.

 UNIX is a registered trademark of The Open Group.

Andrew Josey is Director of Standards within The Open Group. He is currently managing the standards process for The Open Group, and has recently led the standards development projects for TOGAF 9.1, ArchiMate 2.0, IEEE Std 1003.1-2008 (POSIX), and the core specifications of the Single UNIX Specification, Version 4. Previously, he has led the development and operation of many of The Open Group certification development projects, including industry-wide certification programs for the UNIX system, the Linux Standard Base, TOGAF, and IEEE POSIX. He is a member of the IEEE, USENIX, UKUUG, and the Association of Enterprise Architects.

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“Making Standards Work®”

By Andrew Josey, The Open Group

Next month as part of the ongoing process of “Making Standards Work®,” we will be setting standards and policy with those attending the member meetings at The Open Group Conference, London, (May 9-12, Central Hall Westminster). The standards development activities include a wide range of subject areas from Cloud Computing, Tools and People certification, best practices for Trusted Technology, SOA and Quantum Lifecycle Management, as well as maintenance of existing standards such as TOGAF® and ArchiMate®. The common link with all these activities is that all of these are open standards developed by members of The Open Group.

Why do our members invest their time and efforts in development of open standards? The key reasons as I see them are as follows:

  1. Open standards are a core part of today’s infrastructure
  2. Open standards allow vendors to differentiate their offerings by offering a level of openness (portable interfaces and interoperability)
  3. Open standards establish a baseline from which competitors can innovate
  4. Open standards backed with certification enable customers to buy with increased confidence

This is all very well, you say — but what differentiates The Open Group from other standards organizations? Well, when The Open Group develops a new standard, we take an end-to-end view of the ecosystem all the way through from customer requirements, developing consensus standards to certification and procurement. We aim to deliver standards that meet a need in the marketplace and then back those up with certification that delivers an assurance about the products or in the case of people certification, their knowledge or skills and experience. We then take regular feedback on our standards, maintain them and evolve them according to marketplace needs. We also have a deterministic, timely process for developing our standards that helps to avoid the stalemate that can occur in some standards development.

Let’s look briefly at two of the most well known Open Group standards:  UNIX® and TOGAF®,. The UNIX® and TOGAF® standards are both examples of where a full ecosystem has been developed around the standard.

The UNIX® standard for operating systems has been around since 1995 and is now in its fourth major iteration. High reliability, availability and scalability are all attributes associated with certified UNIX® systems. As well as the multi-billion-dollar annual market in server systems from HP, Oracle, IBM and Fujitsu, there is an installed base of 50 million users* using The Open Group certified UNIX® systems on the desktop.

TOGAF® is the standard enterprise architecture method and framework. It encourages use with other frameworks and adoption of best practices for enterprise architecture. Now in its ninth iteration, it is freely available for internal use by any organization globally and is widely adopted with over 60% of the Fortune 50 and more than 80% of the Global Forbes 50. The TOGAF® certification program now has more than 15,000 certified individuals, including over 6,000 for TOGAF® 9.

If you are able to join us in London in May, I hope you will be able to also join us at the member meetings to continue making standards work. If you are not yet a member then I hope you will attend the conference itself and network with the members to find out more and consider joining us in Making Standards Work®!

For more information on The Open Group Standards Process visit http://www.opengroup.org/standardsprocess/

(*) Apple estimated number from Briefing October 2010. Mac OS X is certified to the UNIX 03 standard.

Standards development will be part of member meetings taking place at The Open Group Conference, London, May 9-13. Join us for best practices and case studies on Enterprise Architecture, Cloud, Security and more, presented by preeminent thought leaders in the industry.

Andrew Josey is Director of Standards within The Open Group, responsible for the Standards Process across the organization. Andrew leads the standards development activities within The Open Group Architecture Forum, including the development and maintenance of TOGAF® 9, and the TOGAF® 9 People certification program. He also chairs the Austin Group, the working group responsible for development and maintenance the POSIX 1003.1 standard that forms the core volumes of the Single UNIX® Specification. He is the ISO project editor for ISO/IEC 9945 (POSIX). He is a member of the IEEE Computer Society’s Golden Core and is the IEEE P1003.1 chair and the IEEE PASC Functional chair of Interpretations. Andrew is based in the UK.

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Filed under Standards, TOGAF, UNIX