Open Standards: Apps and Infrastructure
One valuable capability of open standards is to let customers decouple application decisions from infrastructure choices.
I recently spoke at a technology conference as a part of a panel, and one question from the audience was about which open standards were most important. My response was that there are many important open standards, but that one crucial capability that customers are looking for from open standards is the ability to make application decisions independently from infrastructure decisions.
The reason it’s valuable to be able to decouple those two decisions is that they are typically made by different groups within the enterprise and they are made for different reasons. Infrastructure decisions are made by the IT organization and are based ideally on price / performance. Application selection is typically made by line of business users, and functionality is the primary driver.
If a company cannot treat each of those layers independently then an application decision becomes simultaneously an infrastructure decision, which means that all the factors of functionality, price, and performance need to be considered together and the decision needs to be made by a combination of business people and IT folks, which complicates the process and potentially ends back up in “silo” structures that companies today are trying hard to escape.