A new age of ‘Openness’

Posted on September 23, 2010

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… and just in time, if reading the EU Digital Agenda and recent briefings given to members of Jesús Villasante’s team (Head of Unit European Commission – DG INFSO D3).

Cloud Computing continues to break the traditional mould as vendors increase the ‘Openness’ of their platforms. This is a direct play in recognition of the need to demonstrate and deliver interoperability that goes deeper into what was traditionally the sole territory of the proprietary and is not unique to Microsoft.

From participating in the World Cloud Computing Forum earlier this year, I was encouraged to hear and see vendors increasingly driving themselves to interoperable Openness as a commercial necessity. Cloud Computing to be successful demands interoperability at certain level’s and a vendors not offering this know they will not attract the audience they strive for. Furthermore vendors that do not engage at this stage will be side-lined in the industries self-regulating force march to some form of Standards.

The speed of change and evolution Cloud Computing introduces into the mix is a big challenge for traditional standards creation lifecycles. A new modus operandi is required to both satisfy the regulators and service the industry.

As with Cloud Apps and their kin, versions are becoming a thing of the past. Users of SalesForce.com and Microsoft Online Services are now familiar with the seamless appearance of fully commercialised and supported new features and functionality that come online without the hurt of software upgrades of the past. So too Standards if allowed by our political and industry masters, could aspire to foster the same kind of dynamism; could we see some new generation of ‘Adaptive Standards’.

‘Adaptive Standards’ that adopt the top percentile of cross industry practice by default rather than protracted debate, collusion and compromise.

As Openness goes deeper into the traditional proprietary software space, so the inclusiveness of the OpenSource community.

With inclusion comes huge benefit and gain with its own feedback loop of innovation driving greater acceleration and evolution of ICT, weaving ICT into the very fabric of business economic delivery models.

Historical reflection shows the strengths of the Commercial/Proprietary software vendors has been in the innovation, largely because of the commercial dimension which supports such speculation. With the OpenSource community championing the adaptation of these innovations. With the new Openness the gap will narrow, maintaining sufficient lead for commercial feedback return in the system, whilst capturing the necessaries for mutually beneficial co-existence. Dare I say harmony!

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