It’s time to embrace open standards
Embracing open standards offers a number of benefits, as well as one major concern. In this article, Peter Fry, VP of engineering, platform, and security at Mavenlink, discusses the three main components businesses will need to keep in mind to fully take advantage of the power of these new capabilities.
In 2018, there was a marked shift in the way cloud infrastructure providers approached their offerings. Every major cloud vendor, from Google to Amazon, is embracing open standards such as Kubernetes. But 2018 also turned out to be a year of having a variety of new data and apps that businesses didn’t necessarily know how to get value out of.
That will change in 2019 as organizations adopt open standards to integrate their applications and gain visibility and insights into their data using modern business intelligence.
Embracing open standards offers a number of benefits, as well as one major concern. Here are three main components businesses will need to keep in mind to fully take advantage of the power of these new capabilities:
- Data privacy.
First, the concern. Privacy has been an issue for some time, and it doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon. For businesses, a best practice is to make sure whatever data is being used for more intelligent apps or to automate business processes is compliant with privacy regulations, as well as transparent. There will be more attention and scrutiny on businesses in terms of how they collect data and what they’re doing with it.
Data privacy works both ways, however. IT teams need a risk management and vendor management function so they can really understand who it is they are doing business with as a vendor, what they are doing with data, and how they’re protecting it. Customers and end users are increasingly looking to organizations to be responsible for the data they’re handling, and the scrutiny is only becoming more intense.
- An API-first strategy is a winning one.
Most organizations operate in an IT environment that involves integrating a host of apps, rather than leveraging one, single platform, to manage the entire business. 2019 will focus on API first-application integrations, which allow all business systems to better communicate with one another without the overhead associated with third-party integration platform service providers. By refocusing on API-first philosophies, IT teams will gain better visibility, reduce duplication of efforts, and will limit the impact of “shadow IT.”
An API-first approach allows businesses to easily integrate the apps that so many of us use every day, such as Slack, Quickbooks, SalesForce, or the G Suite apps. It also allows organizations to custom-build their own integrations for specific uses or functions.
- An operational system of record is necessary.
Building on the previous point, the ability to integrate a variety of apps requires a place where all of the data lives — an operational system of record. Today’s work environment includes challenges such as increased speed of business, a greater focus on shorter more agile projects, the growing distribution of work teams, and the act of digitizing plans, tasks, processes, resource allocation and collaboration. More organizations are looking to put all of in one place to benefit from the efficiencies and insights.
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Chefs use the phrase mise en place, which roughly translates to “everything in its right place.” Project managers don’t have a catchy foreign-language saying, but something that will elevate the performance of many teams in the coming year is this concept of a unifying operational system of record. These types of systems support teams by combining task and activity planning with conversations, notifications and information sharing, along with resource allocation, financial measures, reporting, analytics, and automation. In turn, both internal teams and external stakeholders are able to modernize their way of working with increased visibility, collaboration, transparency, productivity, agility, and precision.
While privacy is a major concern that all organizations must consider, open standards allow businesses to integrate all of the apps they need with an API-first approach and then tie it all together with an operational system of record to augment collaboration and productivity. In the end, this will offer organizations clearer visibility into what success means for them, and give them a competitive edge with the ability to make intelligent business decisions in real time.