Developing a Certification Program

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Certification provides formal recognition of a product's conformance to an industry standard specification

Certification allows:

  • Suppliers to make and substantiate clear claims of conformance to a standard
  • Buyers to specify and successfully procure conforming products that interoperate

As the premier certification service provider of the IT industry, The Open Group's certification services include:

  • Definition of the policies and procedures for certification
  • Development of a certification program, based on the policies, to certify products against an industry standard
  • Design and implementation of test suites for conformance testing
  • Operation of the program on an ongoing basis

With more than 15 years of experience, The Open Group has developed and operates industry based IT certification programs in several strategic areas, including UNIX®, CORBA®, LDAP, Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) and LSB®. The Open Group has developed and currently maintains conformance test suites for many technologies, including those for the programs listed above, the X Window System, Motif®, Digital Video Broadcasting Multimedia Home Platform, Secure Electronic Transactions (SET), Common Data Security Architecture (CDSA), and Linux.

See Testing for more information on conformance test suite development.

Policy definition and program development

The Open Group's certification programs are based on a supplier's claim of conformance, with testing providing an indicator of conformance. Suppliers typically use test suites to establish confidence that their product conforms. To achieve certification, the supplier must provide a warranty of conformance. This warranty ensures that:

  • Products conform to an industry standard specification
  • Products remain conformant throughout the life of the product
  • If there is a non-conformance, the product will be fixed in a timely manner

The Open Group has considerable skills in resolving conflicts and facilitating consensus among the complex legal, technical and commercial factors and pressures that underlie any certification program.

The Open Group works in conjunction with the customer to define the policies that form the foundation of the program. Once the policies and procedures are agreed, the next step is to develop the documents and systems required to launch and operate the program. These include everything a supplier needs in order to certify, such as legal agreements, registration materials, a user guide, and any procedural documents for the certification operations staff.

Certification operations

The Open Group acts as the independent Certification Authority for many industry based certification programs. As the Certification Authority, The Open Group frees consortia from the day-to-day operations of the program, and ensures impartiality, confidentiality, and a proven, predictable process. Our innovative web-based certification system is tailored to the policies of the program to guide suppliers through the process of certifying a product.

Certification program operation involves the day-to-day management of all activities required to certify products in accordance with the requirements of a particular program. This includes:

  • Processing registrations for certification
  • Auditing each certification submission, including any required test results
  • Assessing whether a product submitted for certification meets the conformance requirements
  • Maintaining a register of products that have been successfully certified
  • Providing guidance to suppliers throughout the process
  • Monitoring and administering vendor reporting of problems encountered during testing and vendor requests for interpretations of the specification