The Open Solutions Alliance has started holding a series of Customer Forums where CIO’s in particular are invited to come and share their experiences, discuss how to better interoperate between businesses with Open Source software and to network in general.

One of the issues they discuss and something I have noticed is that when dealing with multiple vendors for products and services, you may have to do widely disparate actions to get essentially the same thing to happen. Much in the same way that networking protocols helped build the massively collaborative environment you’re reading (and I’m writing) this with, businesses could do with a bit of protocolization.

For example, if you are a company that has products that require certification or FDA testing, etc, you have likely built a process that manages what has to happen from the beginning to the end of that certification/approval. If you have designed a process that works for your company and products, what will happen if your company gets bought, or buys another company that has products that have undergone a similar (for the sake of argument) process?

How do you take another company or organization’s processes and integrate them with yours? This is a very serious question, I have been part of companies that were on both sides of the corporate gastronomical experience, and it’s painful to say the least.

If you think of it, writing code and scripts to make things happen in a predictable manner is the technological equivalent of what human customs are, a recognized, repeatable method to get things to happen over and over.

See if you can attend one of the OSA’s Customer Forums, it’s good stuff.