ISO Standards

ISO Standards

The International Organization of Standardization, also known as the ISO, is a non-profit organization that helps to standardize several technical policies for businesses, governments, and society as a whole. The group mostly does standardization in terms of technology, such as wireless technology, however they have also done other standards, such as mathematics, health care, and the environment.

The ISO currently has over eighteen thousand different standards that are in place, with another eleven hundred being submitted every year. It is the largest developer and publisher of standards in the world, with 162 countries participating to make sure that standards are universal.

The purpose of the ISO is to provide an organizational framework of effectiveness, in which to ensure the consistency of products and services that are delivered to consumers and thus, also ensuring consumer satisfaction.

The ISO has actually been around for eighty-five years, beginning in 1926 as the International Federation of the National Standardizing Associations, also known as the ISA. The ISA was mostly concentrated on the standards of mechanical engineering and was soon shut down right after the second World War, however in 1946, it was re-branded to what we know today as the ISO.

The 162 members of the ISO are broken down in to three categories of membership –

  1. Members – these are the national bodies that are said to have the most representative of the standards. They are the only members that can vote.
  2. Correspondents – these are the countries that don’t have their own standards, but are informed and aware of the ISO’s. They have elected to not participate in voting.
  3. Subscribers – these are countries that are kept up to date on the ISO standards, however their small economies prevent them from becoming full members.

Countries like the United States, Canada, Costa Rica, and Germany are full member bodies, while countries such as Afghanistan, Albania, and the city of Hong Kong, China are correspondents. Honduras, Guyana, and Laos are subscriber countries.

As mentioned, the ISO is mostly famous for the standards that are related to the Internet, however they also do other standardization, such as those for business. Risk management, quality management, and social responsibility are all ISO standards that business organizations use all around the world in their daily activities.

The latest standard that the ISO was putting together was that of looking at the current global climate changes that have been going on.

While the ISO is responsible for many of the standards that we use today, they are not spared criticism. The majority of this has to do with the pricing of standards; other than small standards, the ISO requires that members pay a fee in order to purchase a standard. For many of the open source projects, this fee is incredibly high.

How are using ISO in your organization? How is it aligning to your business objectives?

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David Peterson

David G. Peterson is a business consultant and author of Handling the Remedy. He has extensive international experience managing projects and operations for large financial institutions. He has worked in North America, Europe, Middle East and Asia skillfully managing business and technical requirements, core systems enhancement and support, merger and acquisition integration's, business process reengineering, off-shoring and outsourcing.