Those of us in IT managed services operate, live and work in a world surrounded by huge — often cloud-based — third-party systems which, by their internal nature, are opaque to both users and to each other. While these often unintegrated systems hold vast amounts of data, the UI, authentication, authorisation and logging of each varies wildly. We (generators of the data) and our clients (owners of the data) have little influence on how these systems integrate and little ability to apply business rules to the data. Yet, it is exactly this integration that is necessary to realise productivity efficiencies in the IT MSP industry, to provide opportunity for improved service outcomes to the end-customer.
What happened to standards development — where vendors would collaborate to provide a base level of interoperability between products so end users could pick and choose the best products for them? It seems to be a thing of the past, leading to unavoidable lock-in. Let’s look at some recent examples and the issues they present.