Disadvantages of Closed Standards in e-business Architecture
There are a number of disadvantages to using closed standards.
The risks of closed systems include:
- Integration: Interfacing with other systems could prove difficult and expensive, and impose restrictions on the functionality of some systems.
- Cost: Vendors can and do charge extremely high amounts for support and supply of accessories and related items that can only be supplied by that single vendor.
- Complacency: Vendors may become complacent, and allow their levels of service to drop, knowing that their customers cannot easily move elsewhere.
There is also the risk of the vendor going out of business or changing their product line, which could force customers to change their systems, possibly at a sudden and risky time for them.
- Costs of change: If the system requirements change, it is difficult and expensive to move to another system.
- Increased training costs: Staff training is more difficult and costly. It also is more costly to retain staff with uniqueskills.
- Keeping ahead of technology: With rapid prototyping in technology, there is a risk that the gap between the latest cutting-edge technology in the open systems arena and the technology provided by a proprietary vendor will increase,
or that standards will move in different directions altogether. The longer a company retains a closed standards system, the more difficult the transition to an open system becomes.
Official standards organizations
Most official computer standards are set by one of the following agencies:
- ANSI (American National Standards Institute)
- ITU (International Telecommunication Union)
- IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers)
- ISO (International Standards Organization)
- VESA (Video Electronics Standards Association)
These and other standards-setting organizations are described in more detail on the Resources page.
The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)
The primary standards organization for the Internet is the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).
The IETF is a community of researchers, developers, vendors, and operators who coordinate and monitor the development of the Internet.
This is done with the aid of a system involving Requests For Comment (RFC). Anyone can submit an RFC that introduces a potential new standard or modifies an existing one.
If this RFC gains enough interest, it can be adopted as a new standard.
Other Internet standards bodies include the IAB (Internet Architecture Board), IESG (Internet Engineering Steering Group), and the ISOC (Internet Society).
The standards body concerned with the World Wide Web is known as the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium).
The W3C is mainly concerned with the standards for HTTP and HTML, and related issues that are the standards used by the World Wide Web (which uses the Internet).