Standards are good for customers… right?

Standards are good for customers. They avoid vendor lock-in. They protect the customer’s investment. Demanding standards compliance is a tool customers have to defend their interests when dealing with vendors. Right?

Well, in general yes. Except when standards become tools for vendors to attempt to confuse customers.

In the recent past, I have indirectly witnessed vendors liberally using the “standard” word and making claims of compliance with (and touting the need to conform to) specifications…

  • that have barely been submitted for standardization (SML),
  • that haven’t even been published in any form (CMDBF), or
  • that don’t even exist as a draft (CML – no link available, and for a reason).

Doesn’t something sound fishy when the logic goes through such self-negating statements as: “standards are good for you because they give you a choice of vendor. And we are the only vendor who supports standard X so you need to buy from us.” Especially when if it was true that the vendor in question implemented standard X, then it would not be their software that I would want to buy from them but their time machine.

All this doesn’t negate the fundamental usefulness of standards. And I don’t mean to attack the three specifications listed above either. They all have a very good potential to turn out to be useful. HP is fully engaged in the creation of all three (I am personally involved in authoring them, which is generally why wind of these exaggerated vendor claims eventually get back to me).

Vendors who are used to creating proprietary environments haven’t all changed their mind. They’ve sometimes just changed their rhetoric and updated their practices to play the standards game (changing the game itself in the process, and often not for the better). Over-eagerness should always arouse suspicion.

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Filed under Business, CMDB Federation, CMDBf, CML, Everything, SML, Standards

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