STANDARDS OR OPEN STANDARDS?

Compared to open standards, standards mean proprietary

By LAMIKA ZUBERI
May 29 - June 04, 2006

With standards based technology the cost of implementation is higher and there are several issues that lead one to believe that open standards is a more viable solution for third world developing countries, where companies cannot afford to spend millions of dollars in buying propriety software with expensive license fees.

Open Standards are publicly available and implement able. This allows one to put a solution together using various technologies, makes you independent and the entire process flexible. In open standards people/technologies work together openly, to collaboratively develop solutions for addressing common requirements and goals. Open standards permit everyone to utilize the resulting specification to build infrastructure and various solutions. This creates the opportunity for unlimited vendors competing on the quality of their implementations and their ability to meet the diverse needs of the end-users in the markets utilizing the open standards. Good examples of open standards are GSM, HTML, SQL and UML

Due to open standards the compatibility between various hardware and software components is increased, since anyone with the necessary technical know-how and resources can build products that work together with those of the other vendors that base their designs on the standard.

Open standards can be implemented by anyone, without royalties or other restrictions. For organizations, obtaining the advantages of open standards begins by declaring it a high priority, considering it in available options, including it planning, and improving your processes to use open standards. Initial steps you can take to lead your organization into following open standards include raising awareness about the many benefits linked with open standards.

Compared to open standards, standards mean proprietary. Good examples of standards based technology are the propriety based technologies such as hardware from IBM, Cisco or NCR etc., or in protocols-SOAP and JMS are also standards. Standard solutions are fine as hardware or as protocols, but when a hardware manufacturer enters software market and builds a total solution for the end user, the buyer gets tied down and restricted to just one party for the entire solution, and becomes totally dependent on it, which is very critical. For example, you need an upgrade or some customization and your standard solution is implemented by a foreign giant who has local offices. The process of getting approvals from abroad is time consuming and you never know if your request would be entertained or not, because the international giants have their policy and procedure which they must follow, and in the mean time your organization may have to suffer a big set back. Apart from that they may want to charge you an arm and a leg if you want to expand your solution to meet other requirements.

BENEFITS

Following are the benefits of open standards based technologies:

DURABILITY

Open standards, such as the Structured Query Language (SQL), have proven to have higher durability over time than proprietary solutions. Open standards last longer as they can be more reflective of the demands of the users, and are not subject to a single vendor's interests. There is no issue of upgrades.

FLEXIBILITY

The increased number of vendors available due to open agreement on open standards gives you more flexible options. Proprietary solutions are often incompatible with competing solutions, and can also require a high learning curve for the support specialists to make the switch. Open standards can reduce the impact of change to your systems, your support staff, and other business assets.

QUALITY

Quality is the degree to which a product or service meets your requirements. Increased vendor competition also increases capacity to meet your requirements. This capacity can be demonstrated in increased performance, scalability, features, security, or other means. Since this increase can increase the ability to meet your requirements, you have higher quality selections available to you.

OPTIMIZE INTEROPERABILITY

Interoperability is achieved when components are able to function together to share in the fulfillment of a process. In between systems you may also have middleware, which can have its own components with varying degrees of interoperability. Increasing interoperability increases your ability to connect and automate processes that transcend technologies, platforms, languages and customizations.

QUICKER INTEGRATION

The concept using of "plug and play" to integrate devices and computer components was born out of the demand for simple and quick integration. Open standards in interoperability issues helps to foster processes for quicker integration of components having standardized interfaces and increased automation of common requirements.

INCREASE RETURN ON INVESTMENT (ROI)

The higher the return you achieve with your investment, the greater the positive impact it can have on your bottom line. There are basically two ways to increase ROI. The most obvious is to decrease cost. Another is to increase benefits, or return. You can decrease costs through the use of open standards, thereby increasing ROI.

CONCLUSION

Using open standards can decrease your costs, increase your vendor choice, improve vendor independence, expand available options and resources, improve communications, reduce risk and create more durable solutions.