Recently, an article from Harvard Business Review pointed out that proof of a good digital business minimizes costs and protects against changes in the user base, technology, and regulatory environments. It also outlined the top questions a CEO should consider in order to “protect the economic viability of his or her business while also making sure to explore the areas of greatest risk and change.”
Companies today are venturing further into the world of digital – and for good reason. Businesses wishing to remain competitive have to continually invest in building their digital footprint – doing so (or not doing so) is the difference between growth and high margins or limited growth and declining margins. An organization’s digital operation reaches into nearly every sect of the business and gets to the core economics of the company: revenue, growth, and margins.
Among the “top questions” in the HBR article is the relationship between current and future open standards. In our opinion, when it comes to developing a successful digital business, open standards and open source create an ecosystem that benefits the core economics of a company. That article points out that, “While this may result in less control and less margins for the competitor, the reduced overall costs, the ability to scale, and the increased rate of innovation afforded by open source can outweigh the benefits of a proprietary platform.”
An example of this is Google, a company that has invested into an open source Android operating system versus Apple’s proprietary and closely controlled iOS. There are clear implications for building a technology platform as part of an open source and open standards community. This type of decision requires not only an in-depth understanding of the open standards landscape, but also requires predicting and “envisioning how the digital business will fare in different scenarios.”
As we grow digital businesses, the conversation around standards will continue to have an increasing presence. Those familiar with our principles of open standards, as well as this blog, understand the importance open standards have in this conversation. When it comes to “future-proofing” technology, open standards are and will continue to be a critical area to consider.
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