[sc34wg3] RE: Thoughts on the RM

Sam Hunting sc34wg3@isotopicmaps.org
Fri, 25 Apr 2003 09:43:10 -0400 (EDT)

On Fri, 25 Apr 2003, Steve Pepper wrote:


> Demonstrate to me a real business need for the RM and I will make the 
> effort. 


I'm not comfortable with "business case" language for two reasons. 

First, one of the reasons to have an ISO standard is optimum community
benefits. I find working toward such goals inspiring, and it's one the
reasons that I find promoting ISO standards congenial (as opposed to
promoting the efforts of industry consortia). Although satisfying the
needs of business is clearly part of community benefits, it is not the
whole of it.

Second, the language "demonstrate [to me] a real business need" looks
clear at first sight, but at least for me dissolves into uncertainty on
closer inspection. After all, "real" business needs are demonstrated in
the marketplace by success or failure of businesses, not through the
development of standards texts. Would the backing of a venture capitalist
demonstrate a real "business" need? Would a case that new business can be
built? Would a case that barriers of entry to the field would be lowered?

This is not to say that it is not critical to say "Why" (in whatever
forum) -- it is an argument to temper the "business case" rhetoric with
the recognition that community benefits must be weighed as well, and for
the recognition that different people and countries may see cases

Consensus must be achieved around the text of the standard itself, not
around the business cases that the standard may or may not support (or at
least not get in the way of). Those are so subjective that all we can do,
I fear, is ask that a reasonable case be made and agree to disagree, if
that is what it takes to move consensus on the text forward.

Sam Hunting
eTopicality, Inc.

Co-editor:  ISO Reference Model for Topic Maps 
  Topic map consulting and training: www.etopicality.com
Free open source topic map tools:  www.gooseworks.org
  XML Topic Maps: Creating and Using Topic Maps for the Web.
Addison-Wesley, ISBN 0-201-74960-2.