Information professionals can sometimes get lost in conversations with technology folks – especially vendors – when the two parties are on slightly different pages when it comes to standards. Or, rather, when they're reading from different books.
This happens when both parties are talking about data standards – but the information guys mean standards at the business level, while the technology guys are thinking about the technical level.
This divergence is at the root at much confusion in information management circles, where proponents of (business) standards seem to hit a brick wall talking with colleagues who are up to their necks in (technical) standards. One side is saying, We need standards! The other side is saying, We got standards!
For example, pretty much every application you can think of that uses medical imaging uses the DICOM standard. Every system is compliant with this robust, detailed standard for image representation and transmission. But “each vendor supports the DICOM standard in its own way, so there’s no uniformity with regard to DICOM tags and how they are used”. Without interoperability of image data at the business level, it's very, very hard to reliably attach an image set to a patient record.
I have a tip for recognizing when you're in one of those cross-purpose conversations, where people are using different conceptions of standards. It's to ask a “Who” question.
For example: “Can your data tell me who this is a picture of?” This will flush out whether the standard in mind is at the technical or business level. Technical standards don't contain entities representing business objects, such as customers. A simpler “Who” question for this situation is: “Who uses this data?” A blank look will tell you all you need to know. Merge.com