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To Select or Not? - Dealing with Competing Standards in Public IT Procurement

This report addresses the problem how governments should deal with competing standards, that is, functionally equivalent standards, in the context of public IT-procurement. The focus is committee standards. The research questions are

  • In the context of public IT procurement, should governments choose between standards that have the same functionality?
  • If so, what factors should be taken into consideration?

The study has been funded with research grants from the Dutch Standardisation Forum, a forum involved in drawing up lists of selected ICT-standards for government organisations, and the Open Forum Academy, a platform for stimulating research and discussion on open standards and interoperability. This report aims to contribute towards discussion about competing standards and help those concerned with public IT procurement and procurement policy account for their decision(s). To this end it synthesizes scientific literature from different disciplines, in particular, economic, innovation and technology management studies. It interrelates the partly disparate themes of market impact of standards, standards wars, standards dynamics and converter solutions. 

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