Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Choosing standards

Most professionals are of the opinion that only sound technical standards are the best choice. From a technical perspective, this is of course always true.

However, there are more forces that influence the choice of a standard. Take for instance the historic choice between VHS and Betamax (for those that remember these systems) for video, of which the best technical solution did not win. Amongst others, forces that influence choice are substitutes, supplier strategies, government policies, etc. Examples are for instance in the implementation of the webservices standards (WS-*) compared to others like ebXML. Technically, ebXML with respect to data exchange is the most sound. However, many suppliers heavily invest in webservices and offer complete product suites for drag and drop development. Oracle is an example of such an environment. Other reasons for webservices are more in the past. Internet was not that reliable for data exchange. ebXML developed a method for reliable transfer, but many organizations invested in using queuing technology to solve this problem. MQseries was one of the most popular products. Complete EU communication networks are still based on these products.

Thus, there are a number of aspects to consider when adopting a standard. Technical sound is only one of the options.

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