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Standards 2010: Prospects and Challenges for Standards Development in the Next Decade

Written by Ghezal Khalili on December 10, 2009 – 3:40 pm

STAR is pleased to announce that the Feb 11th 2010 STAR General Session Keynote Speaker will be Chuck Allen, Integration Architect at SilkRoad Technologies, Inc and founder of HR-XML Consortium.

Chuck Scahill, current STAR Development Chair and VP of Business Development from Karmak, Inc stated, “I think it will be an excellent presentation.  It is both timely and consistent with our experiences, particularly this past year.”


Keynote Presentation:  “Standards 2010: Prospects and Challenges for Standards Development in the Next Decade”


As standards organizations enter the 2010s, they face very different circumstances than a decade a ago. At the dawn of the “2000s,” analysts warned us that a key risk was the creation of a “tower of babel” as industry standards groups proliferated nearly as fast as start-ups. By the end of the decade, some groups had achieved measurable interoperability gains, but at the cost of years of upfront committee time followed by implementation and revision cycles also spanning years. Today, standards organizations that have managed to survive the decade’s two boom and bust cyles face vastly different funding circumstances and participation levels. At the same time, standards organizations are challenged by an accelerating pace of technology and marketplace change.

In this session, Chuck Allen, founder of the HR-XML Consortium and an adviser to other standards initiatives, will offer a survey of the state of standards development, including key challenges and new approaches. Among topics to be reviewed are:

Development methodologies. The committee processes driving most standards development organizations (SDOs) have remained largely unchanged over the past decade (STAR standards being an important exception). Most SDOs take months or years to spec out a standard with meaningful development against the specification beginning only after publication. While standards organizations have been slow to adapt their methodologies, in the same period, many enterprises have significantly transformed their internal development processes through the adoption of a range of agile methodologies. While there is growing recognition of the need to update standards development process, the prospect of applying agile methodologies to standards development tends to be met with equal degrees of interest and trepidation.

Intellectual property. Most standards organizations manage intellectual property by requiring participants to grant royalty-free licenses to the SDO and to anyone implementing the standard. For companies with large patent portfolios, this can impose a burden of expensive patent inventory searches and monitoring. Since each SDO has slightly different licensing terms, current licensing practices also prove challenging for an implementer wanting to apply multiple standards as well as for standards development organizations trying to converge standards. Patent non-assertion policies and efforts to simplify and standardize licenses hold some promise is reigning in the complexity associated with managing IP.

Funding models. Standards cost money to develop and maintain. However, traditional funding approaches, such as pay-to-play” and “pay-for-the-standard” don’t always keep up with funding needs and can work as disincentives for adoption and engagement.  There isn’t an easy answer to the question of financial sustainability for many SDOs, particularly in these tight economic times. The answer likely lies in a combination of approaches, including doing more with less, the design of attractive sponsorships, meeting and programming fees, and taking advantage of grant opportunities.

About the Speaker:

Chuck Allen, Integration Architect at SilkRoad technologies, Inc., was the founder and Executive Director of the HR-XML Consortium, Inc. Prior to founding HR-XML in Dec. 1999, Allen worked in a variety of new product development roles for major business publishers, including Thomson (now Thomson-Reuters) and the Bureau of National Affairs. Allen has a B.A. from the University of Virginia.


Event Date: Thurs., Feb 11th 2010

Host Details: STAR Organization

Meeting Registration Information: The STAR February 2010 General Session is available only to STAR Members and approved Guests. If you are a non-member and wish to attend, please email Ghezal Khalili, STAR Executive Coordinator at .  If you are a STAR Member, please register at this link: STAR Member Meeting Registration Link

Posted in STAR, community, efficiency, interoperability, members, open standards, standards, value | No Comments »


Written by dcarver on December 8, 2009 – 6:06 pm

Interoperability when dealing with standards can be a frustrating thing, and it should not be.   The goal of a standard is to reduce the overall work that has to be done, eliminate the one offs, and allow users to exchange their data between tools.   However, the failure of many UML based tools to reliably read and exchange even the simplest of models is a lesson that we should learn from, not try to emulate.

It's been interesting following the Model Interchange Workgroup's testing of various UML 2.1 compliant tools.  The results have not been surprising.  Many tools have interoperability problems, from failing to render according to the spec, to not even being able to read a compliant XMI file.    To many large vendors there is little incentive to have interoperability as they feel it gives them a edge.  However, these vendors are just opening the door to others that can provide interoperability.   Having a unique implementation or a one off of a standard is not an advantage, it's a hindrance to your customers.

It's important for Standards to be Standard.  While it may be convenient for you to make a one off change, as soon as you role that change outside of your internal application, you provide a pain point for all of your trading partners.    In order for Standards to be Standard, members and the community need to participate.  It means contributing your requirements back to the organization, or working with the organization to find where your requirements are captured.  In many cases your use case is not unique as you think.

In order to help enable these changes, standard organizations need to respond quicker to the communities needs.  They need to adapt and make changes available sooner.   STAR currently publishes a yearly version available to the community.  However members can get updated versions in a little as a day after the request is received.   It's one of the benefits of being a member.  However, are we responding quick enough by a yearly release?  Does the community need a bi-annual release?

Organizations should also provide a testing tools for the community.  STAR provides the BOD Validation website which adopters can use to check that their STAR BOD validates against the official STAR schemas.  If you receive something from a trading partner that doesn't validate, it isn't STAR compliant.  The community needs to step up as well and make sure that your trading partners are using validly formatted BODs.  There is only so much enforcement that an organization can do.

The community needs to ask and demand for interoperability.

In general though, having non-interoperable changes may not necessarily affect your implementation, but it does greatly affect your trading partners and their trading partners as well.   Do not repeat the mistakes of the UML Tool vendors.  Let's learn from them.

Posted in STAR, community, interoperability, open standards, standards | 1 Comment »


Written by dcarver on December 4, 2009 – 5:18 pm

The STAR community in general is much more diverse than I think most realize. Too often we focus on the OEM, DMS, and Dealer relationship. However, there is a ripple affect that takes place.  Each of these entities deal with other trading partners, and they deal with others as well.   The STAR reach affects many areas that are not traditionally thought of when discussing the standards.  When we modify or deviate from the standard for our own convenience it affects everybody in the community.


An upcoming STAR eXchange Newsletter article will touch on these concepts in a bit more detail.  Look for it at the end of the month.

Posted in STAR, bods, community, interoperability, open standards | No Comments »