An industry approach
Standards management is a very collaborative domain and it quickly became evident that the best way to address the problem in depth was to work at an industry-level solution, something that SWIFT was extremely well positioned to deliver.
MyStandards is a collaborative web platform, using all of the best technologies from the Web, aiming at addressing standards management as an industry issue. You can see it as an industry repository of formal specifications, all defined consistently together with a set of features to make the best collective use of this structured information.
An iceberg of standards
The financial Industry is taking standardization very seriously and is investing significant resources to create and govern global standards. Yet, the global standards are only the tip of the iceberg in terms of B2B message definitions. The key idea of MyStandards is to apply the same discipline across the board to all exchange formats.
In this view of the world, the global standards become the common reference, the basis for understanding what is the same and what is different across various markets and business processes.
Yet, they represent only a small proportion of all the rules the industry uses to exchange structured business information.
The ambition of MyStandards is to reach a global understanding of the specifications at all levels, whether they are achieving market consensus or are just used in a bilateral way.
Raising the bar
We have just seen that MyStandards is about bringing the same discipline that is applied to global standards across all industry specifications. But what are these characteristics of a good specification that we want to enforce on MyStandards? The FACT acronym captures the different dimensions:
- Formal: This means no ambiguity and no risk on misinterpretation. This also means the specifications can be executed by machines (and tested against such as in the MyStandards Readiness Portal).
- Accessible: Always get the right specification at your fingertips without the risk of using the wrong version or having to spend valuable time finding the information.
- Consistent: Have the whole industry define specifications in common ways. Note that this is not about having the same rules everywhere; it is about defining these rules in the same way
- Targeted: Provide business information to business people and technical information for technical people.
A powerful set of features
MyStandards is not just a repository of specifications. It is a powerful Web platform meant to maximize the industry value of these specifications. Effectively, it comes with a series of features. If you are defining specifications, you can create them in a formal way, produce standard documentation in a variety of formats (on-line, PDF, Excel, XML schemas), publish this documentation to your counterparties in a very controlled way and manage your specifications over time. Consumers of specifications will use the powerful analytical features and the testing services.