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Open Standards Mean Less Complexity

The IT industry is undergoing another period of major changes. New technologies such as autonomic computing, web services, and grid computing are opening the door to tremendous opportunities for taking business to the next level of profitability and decreased complexity. The potential of these technologies to transform business is amazing. And, just as open standards were crucial to the emergence of the Internet and the first generation of e-business, they will play a critical role in these next-generation systems by reducing the levels of complexity in the organization.

We can define open standards as the interfaces or formats that are openly documented and have been accepted in the industry through either formal or de facto processes, and that are freely available for adoption by the industry. Some examples include HTTP, HTML, WAP, TCP/IP, VoiceXML, XML, and SQL. Software engineers and programmers typically build such systems for software companies who collaborate with industry standards organizations such as W3C, OASIS, OMA, and IETF.

The open standards communities count major vendors such as IBM, HP, Sun, Microsoft, Cisco, and Oracle among active contributors. Other members include Red Hat, Apple, Intel, and thousands of other companies, as well as institutional contributors such as Stanford, Berkeley, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Why are major IT vendors and software companies increasingly interested in open standards? Primarily because investing in these communities makes good business sense. The global computer industry must cooperate in developing the necessary open standards and interfaces to make future technology work and to establish standards that will support a less complex computing environment.

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