It is important on many levels that open standards are adopted to move the open data agenda forward.
One of the historic challenges Government has had to contend with, is that software companies have written plenty of different programmes but there has not been one set of standards adhered to, stifling collaboration and efficient communication between applications.
Cloud computing gives the IT industry the opportunity to apply standards because it is about sharing, industrialisation and it will give Government departments and businesses the confidence to make decisions knowing that everyone has access to the same high standards of software.
We need to make interface points to the cloud and start connecting systems together because once we start this process, we can make more than the sum of the parts.
A good example of this is Facebook, which is built on published standards for interfacing between applications. Some of these will be specific to Facebook but some are open data standards which can be applied elsewhere.
One of the early standards to emerge was OAUTH which secures authorisation in a simple and standard method from the web. This is particularly important for Government officials due to the sensitive nature of the many documents which they deal with that are placed in the cloud.
As Cloud develops, open standards will emerge from interconnections around security or interchange of data which means applications can be built which allow access to many more systems.
Another important factor is that as standards emerge, the ability to move systems and data between different clouds becomes much easier, leading to a more open market place.
When you have an open market place, costs decrease because the process runs more efficiently and standards are higher. It costs less to run an efficient service and these savings can be passed on to clients. This underlines that the evolution of cloud is directly linked to standards and it becomes more price competitive. And that has to be good news for the public and private sector!