The purpose of this chapter is to define the context of standards within an Information and Communications Technology (ICT) strategy and to suggest how the benefits arising from the use of standards might be evaluated. Within any organization, standards will be defined at a number of different levels, dependent upon the focus/span of operation. Classically, standards might be defined at three levels: • strategic: the standards that should be used for all systems across an organization, including for instance standards which apply across national boundaries; • tactical: standards which might apply for systems in a more limited context, such as a regional supplier; • local: standards chosen in restricted or exceptional circumstances to satisfy the needs in a specific location. This distinction is not always clear cut, and may be applied iteratively, dependent upon the context of use. For instance, a Business Unit will define its own strategic standards, or standards to support its ICT strategy. These ‘strategic standards’ will, of course, be defined in the context of the organization’s ‘strategic standards’. The local standards will ‘inherit’ characteristics of the strategic standards (which may be national or international in scope). It is our contention that in order to be successfully promoted, ICT standards need to be formulated within the context of an ICT strategy. (By ‘ICT strategy’, we mean the use and management of ICT by an organization to achieve its desired goals in a changing and competitive operational environment.) This theme forms the main basis for the discussion within this chapter on the benefits and evaluation of ICT standards.
Complete Chapter List
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