Is data portability important for the enterprise?

Gia Lyons tweeted “[can someone tell me] the value of the data portability movement for enterprises, i mean. Not consumer sites”.I thought I’d put my thoughts down here, not least because I know that Elias Bizannes and Chris Saad, both players in the Dataportability movement occasionally stumble across my musings and will no doubt carry the conversation back to Gia.So, while under time pressure to watch a movie with my wife, here are three reasons to describe the value the dataportability movement brings to the enterprise. Chris has also blogged on this just recently and I have appropriated some of his themes here.

  1. Dataportability provides a language to combine previously disparate standards. As an Enterprise Architect, I love standards and I love them even more when my two largest vendors, Microsoft and IBM are expressing interest and supporting at least some of the same ones. Some Enterprises may not care about dataportability as a whole, but they will care deeply about the artifacts it produces and helps drive, like APML, OPML, OpenID etc.
  2. Enterprise Social Networks are rapidly evolving. Todays solution may not be tomorrows winner. To be able to move and migrate easily between Confluence, Jive, Lotus Connections etc. etc. at will is always appreciated.
  3. Enterprises will begin to break down the firewalls. Ultimately Enterprises want to work with their clients; it won’t be tomorrow, but Enterprises will realise that clients don’t want to fill out yet another profile form, but want to share their own data in controlled ways with them.

There will be bumps along the way, but while the dataportability debate may not be critical to Enterprises today, the outcomes will be crucial.