So there you are at your business. Walk past the storage closet, past the lunchroom and toward the room with the whirring noises. Most likely in that sound is not being emitted because the company hot tub is housed in there -- no, most likely those sounds originate from the fans blowing on servers. Not as much fun.
Those servers house all the data you need to operate your business. And if you are anything like other businesses, you have an overlying OS and some accompanying software, most likely made or distributed by Microsoft. The rest of the stuff on there is a mishmash of cool stuff made by small time developers that has served its purpose over the years, but has since been bought out…again, most likely by Microsoft.
This is not a bad thing. Having everything somewhat standardized is good and when it comes to transferring all of your data and operating your business in the cloud, it suddenly becomes great. How effective is software innovation by small time start-ups and R&D by multi-billion dollar behemoths if you can’t use it?
Microsoft cloud products such as Office 365, Azure and Intuit have a baseline of standardized exchange formats that all developers know -- and that’s what “interoperability” is all about.
Operating in the Cloud
Interoperability - The ability to run different systems developed by other companies outside of your cloud provider through a similar exchange format. It’s probably happening right now on your servers wrapped in a nice big JAVA bow and you don’t even know it; but your IT guy does.
Infrastructure as a Service - Interoperability is incredibly important for businesses that require IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service). If you’re thinking of moving to a new cloud service, check your current infrastructure and make note of any compatibility issues before you sign on the dotted line. It could be that other companies may not fully accommodate your infrastructure because they have a proprietary platform or exchange format.
Standardization - By staying with a Microsoft provider of cloud services, you make the transfer of data, code compatibility and IaaS easy and seamless. The crux of interoperability is having a shared language and is a sticking point for so many companies trying to carve a niche for themselves in the cloud.
Proprietary – One of the biggest obstacles businesses are going to run into in their transfer from static servers to the cloud is the burning need for giant corporations being stingy about what applications they “allow” their subscribers to use. That’s right, we said it, “allow.” Microsoft has been a big believer in more open data and a standardized code system so that the data exchange is simple and something everyone can use. This concept not only allows your business to seek 3rd party sources that best fit your company’s needs, but also allows your customers to interact with your systems even though they may use different OS.
Collaboration - Standardization as a community can move the entire industry forward. Craig Shank, General Manager of Interoperability & Standards at Microsoft, breaks collaboration down into three stages:
- Effective, transparent information sharing amongst companies, developers and customers.
- Collaborative focus in the standards body on solving practical, real-world problems.
- Vigorous competition that results as vendors seek to use innovation over and above the standard to win customers and gain market share.
Trust and Loyalty - Multiple standards generally broaden consumer choice, particularly when overlapping standards address different customer needs. Consumers play a critical role in deciding which standards survive and succeed based on the products they choose to buy. Staying up on technology and having access to innovation across standards is the key to thriving in any industry. In order to keep up with competition it is important to have access to everything available in the marketplace. Microsoft has a wide influence over the technological world and is working to open access to their platforms and services.
So, as you carry your 180th bucket of water to the soon-to-be-christened hot tub room, consider the advantages of interoperability and how Microsoft and its cloud services are the best equipped on the market to accommodate your business needs.