Enterprises are structured in a modular way. There are functional separations between the many parts: HR, finance, IT and so on. The individual parts are hopefully related by well-defined processes and interfaces. This is a natural way to organize complexity on the human scale to make it manageable.
A similar principle applies in the structuring of technology. A large and complex system is implemented as a cluster of interacting subsystems, each one with a defined role and (hopefully) well-defined processes and interfaces. This division of labor enables different teams or even different enterprises to focus on a single, more manageable part of the whole.
Defining the processes and interfaces is hard but crucial. It takes a lot of forethought, discussion and time, but a system with poorly or vaguely defined interactions among its parts will be dysfunctional, just as an enterprise with ill-defined processes will be dysfunctional. If it works at all, it does not work efficiently.
This is where standards come in. As experience with specific functional decompositions of systems accumulates, it can be used to build up standard definitions of processes and interfaces among components. Then, as long as each team or enterprise responsible for a type of component focuses on staying compatible with the defined standards at the component boundaries, the components can be combined with confidence that the system as a whole will be effective and relatively efficient.
At West, we have been working for over a decade at implementing components that conform to standards defining Internet-based IVR components. Standards like SIP, HTTP, CCXML, VoiceXML and many others enable us to offer rapid deployment of flexible solutions to customers’ IVR needs. We can combine components of our own with components provided by our expert partners, reliably situated in a framework of standards. And, customers can be confident that their solutions are maintainable over the long haul.
So, follow the standards, and let’s work together.