Simple standards please, says consortium

Complicated specs cause confusion, confernce told. By China Martens

Navigating through technology standards can be puzzling and complex, and enterprise IT users would welcome more clarity from standards organisations.

That was the message from attendees at the recent Global Integration Summit held by the Integration Consortium, a non-profit organisation dedicated to easing tecnology integration.

“There’s a lot of confusion,” says John Schmidt, president of the consortium and senior vice president of architecture/engineering at Bank of America.

Specifically, standards organisations could better explain their individual technology and industry focus, and how their offerings compare with standards from other organisations, Schmidt says.

“Clearer positioning would help through an overarching standards spectrum of how [different] standards [and standards bodies] fit and complement each other,” he says.

Taking the current standards situation, “It’s easy to look at it as a mess and that it’s rather hard to understand,” Schmidt says. But he’s heartened by a growing focus on architecting entire IT systems as more and more companies start looking at SOA (services-oriented architecture).

In the past, firms tended to focus more on the design of specific pieces of their IT systems and less on taking a structured, disciplined approach to building all their enterprise applications, and ensuring all their tools and technologies embodied best practices. Bank of America is using SOA and is finding it “a very effective architectural strategy,” Schmidt says.

Members of the Integration Consortium include American Express, Pfizer, hardware and software vendors, and academic institutions.

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