standards & membership

The cloud default for standards bodies

Standards organizations are finding answers in the cloud to cope with data volumes, quality and latency.

Businesses and individuals the world over trust standards organizations to attest to the quality of the products they consume. Before their purchase, individuals look for a familiar trademark or symbol on packaging, while businesses may want other forms of documentation. For standards organizations, a seemingly insurmountable task is handling large volumes of data, and ensuring its sanctity and security.

They are migrating to cloud platforms as a one-stop solution for their challenges that include concerns over the quality of the data they receive and process, the speed at which they can make their decisions on standards, and data latency, which refers to the time it takes for data to become available in a database or data warehouse after an event occurs.

The task is cut out for standards organizations with so much dependence on the speed and quality of their decisions. For those searching for information on products or parts with a standards and memberships organization, accuracy of data is critical. If this data is not updated regularly, there could be a potential loss in revenue.

Customer experience a strong driver

Imagine a situation where certain unique identifiers — serial numbers — have been purchased for a two-year period. At the end of that period, the business that has purchased the serial numbers may want to renew their purchase. That is easily achieved with a centralized system.

However, with a decentralized network of servers across geographies, maintaining the integrity of that data becomes a challenge. Serial numbers may get transferred to another business, which can be frustrating for the members that previously owned them. Could storing all the data on one physical server work? In theory, yes, it could. However, there is limited opportunity to conduct regular backups, provide protection against server downtime and address data security concerns. Migration to the cloud is the solution in this case.

For sure, data sanctity issues can cause revenue losses to standards organizations. For instance, the distributed network of databases presents a unique challenge. Some businesses may have purchased the serial numbers for a fixed period and then let them lapse. With decentralized databases, regular syncing of data would not always be possible, given the size and scale of the task. Serial numbers which are not in use would remain dormant till the sync was completed, leading to potential revenue losses. The only logical solution here again is migration to the cloud.

How the cloud helps

For businesses that needed to check the quality, build, and the make of products, trustworthy mechanisms are needed to ensure global standards are adhered to by the manufacturer or supplier. The inherent capabilities of cloud-based solutions make that possible. Typically, standardized key identifiers are selected across geographies, and if the products in question meet specified benchmarks, they would be verified, proving they were built as per global standards and expectations. This mark of quality serves as an additional offering for standards organizations, which helps them increase revenues.

The bigger a standards organization is, the more formidable are its challenges relating to data. For example, a prominent U.S.-based standards organization with more than a million registered business enterprises across 180 countries wanted to drive adoption of supply chain standards across its membership. In order to achieve that, it needed to provide a way for codes and unique IDs to be generated online, which would help them bolster revenues without regular human intervention while increasing their membership. But it faced a problem with data latency, which refers to the time it takes for data to become available in a database or data warehouse after an event occurs. Its solution was to transition seamlessly to the cloud, which makes possible real-time data availability.

The U.S. federal government is the largest single creator and user of specifications and standards, and accounts for more than 44,000 distinct statutes, technical regulations or purchasing specifications, according to the American National Standards Institute, a nonprofit that oversees the development of voluntary consensus standards. In addition, the private sector has provided more than 50,000 standards, it estimated. These documents are produced and maintained by nearly 600 standards organizations in the U.S., it added. Indeed, the need for accuracy of standards and their timely availability to users cannot be overstated, especially given its implications for global trade.

Key takeaways
  • Standards organizations are increasingly migrating to the cloud to cope with data quality, volume and latency.
  • Seamless transition to cloud platforms allows for real-time availability of standards information for end-users.

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