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The Executive’s Guide to Information Technology, Second Edition by Carr, Nicholas G., Piot, Jon, Baschab, John

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Chapter 7. IT Standards

 

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?” asked Alice.

“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.

“I don’t much care where—” said Alice.

“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.

“—so long as I get somewhere,” Alice added.

“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if only you walk long enough.”

 
 --Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland[1]
 

The nicest thing about standards is that there are so many of them to choose from.

 
 --Ken Olsen, cofounder of Digital Equipment Corp.[2]

IT standard and direction setting includes the creation, documentation, propagation, and adherence to a set of standards for all elements of the technology platform in an organization—including hardware, software, peripherals, development languages, operating systems, desktop systems, network protocols, and telephony.

IT standard and direction setting often gets lost in the shuffle of myriad other decisions made in the day-to-day operation of the IT department, yet it is a decision area that has one of the largest impacts on the efficiency and overall productivity of the IT department—the flexibility of the department to handle changes in the business and new requirements. Furthermore, the IT standards model generally dictates a large part of the underlying cost model for the organization in terms of both labor and capital expense.

However, making choices around IT standards and setting overall technology direction can be challenging ...

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