Quarkside

28/01/2011

Standards Slump

Filed under: Governance,Innovation,Policy,Standards — lenand @ 10:09 am
Tags: ,

I posed this question in a debate yesterday – and similarly at the latest Government ICT conference.

“Would some nationally agreed data sharing frameworks or standards help in:

  • creating better outcomes from shared services
  • speeding up the implementation of shared services
  • improving efficiency of system design and development
  • more accurate matching of data common
  • understanding and mapping of similar words
  • developing a national source of standard reference (aka master data)
  • sharing data with central government
  • joining up data sources for analysis and business intelligence
  • reducing the need for sending data to central government
  • lots more you might think of?

If the answer to many of these is yes, then why doesn’t the Government CIO financially support the establishment derivation and communication of such standards?”

Answer 1:  Standards had been an industry and the Government is spending more on deprecating old standards than developing new ones.

Answer 2: “The risk with standards are that they would either be very superficial (to cover all circumstances) and this could make them vague. Or they would be very detailed (and therefore complex and expensive to draft) but perhaps not cover the needs of every situation.”

I was not surprised at either of these answers.  The UK standards culture in ICT is to ignore them. We are seeing the results of this culture in our inability to share data and adapt to reducing budgets.

How does this tally with Martha Lane Fox’s demand for standards? Perhaps even she cannot penetrate the cultural barriers.

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