Why Standards Matter…And When They Don’t

Picture 1Cisco’s Data Centre Network blog today: Why Standards Matter…And When They Don’t. The  article could have been summed up with the below quote:

Ultimately customers look to us to address their problems: “I need my network to _________ fill in the blank(sic) so I can support the needs of my business—oh, and I’d like that ASAP, please”

If the proprietary solution offers the fix that the customer needs (and isn’t a fly-by-night business) it tends to wins out. That is exactly how most companies got to where they are, meeting customer needs and not doing what everyone else does. It is how you differentiate yourself in a commodity driven marketplace.

Standards are a good basis to offer the necessary re-assurance to  customers, especially if they are hesitant about a given technology and/or its future interoperability. Standards take a long time to develop and be officially released to the marketplace, look at 802.11n as an example.

Do I have  a point here?  Standards are indeed a good endgame and allow you to move on and innovate in new and exciting areas. If you and your product are being reduced to a standards argument, you’re either playing in the wrong market (an already commoditised one) or you’re not explaining the value of your product properly