Interoperability is not enough

The Higher Education sector has invested a lot of time and effort into the development and adoption of open standards. Interoperability has, for some time, been one of the key design-principles in the development of new software and services. Developers working in projects funded by JISC for example are, necessarily, at pains to demonstrate that their solution uses open standards where possible in order to ensure interoperability. Would I be amiss if I suggested that there are some who have been satisfied to leave it there? Interoperability is a capability, no more. We assert that our software can interoperate, with other software which has adopted that same open standards. This is important, but it is not enough. The final proof, that the approach of ensuring interoperability through open standards has been worth the candle, is when systems actually interoperate to some useful purpose. I propose that we have enough interoperability to be getting on with. What we need now, is interoperation!