Saturday, September 23, 2006

Pseuds Corporate

John Self (rightly) took issue with the diatribe in Thursday’s posting about IT and Eduction.

"I work in an industry that is keen on standardising Business to Business (B2B) interfaces between suppliers, not to mention B2C for customers too. And I'm in a company that is internally tackling application integration issues and exploiting the opportunities that Service Orientated Architecture brings (as well as suffering the downsides)."

Now AiB’s banner does indicate a chance that there will be “comment on … technology”, so it should be no surprise that I occasionally jump into the geek-infested jungle.

But I’ll agree that the above obfuscation is unlikely to win an award from the Plain English Campaign.

But to respond to John’s challenge “can you translate the above extract from management-speak/New Labourese into English?”, here goes:

Modern firms often want their computer systems to talk electronically to other firms’ computer systems. For example, banks are linked up to credit rating agencies. It’s a business to business link, called B2B in shorthand.

Now in the example, each credit rating agency could set how the link works – they “publish the interface”. That way, if the banks talk to each credit agency in their preferred way, they can get hold of the different credit ratings for you.

If the different credit agencies could get together and agree on a common standard for banks to interrogate them, it would make life easier for the banks. They’d only have to build a single interface for credit checking, and then swing it round to point it at the different agencies as required.

So that’s “standardising Business to Business (B2B) interfaces between suppliers” in a poor nutshell.

Now linking up computer systems within an organisation is as fraught as hooking up different businesses. The process of getting different systems talking to each other is known as interfacing, and the science of doing it is integration.

But “exploiting the opportunities that Service Orientated Architecture” is a subject for another day.