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Simpler, faster, better

During 2012, we worked hard to improve the way we develop, publish and market standards.

Changes were made to standards development and publishing, which will help shorten development times and make the process more efficient.

Our marketing and communication efforts benefited from the launch of a new Website and the online browsing platform.

In addition, we continued to support developing countries and the role they play in international standardization.

Standards development and publishing

During the year, we made many changes to the way standards are developed and published, including an overhaul of the standards development process, the creation of an editorial project manager role, and improved project management.

We also made great progress with the XML project and launched ISOlutions.

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    Overhaul of the development process

    The standards development process was completely overhauled. This led to changes in the ISO/IEC Directives that give committees more flexibility, speeding up the standards development process and further improving quality.

    Editorial Project Manager

    An Editorial Project Manager (EPM) position was created in early 2012. This role will help support the drafting of International Standards from the early stages of technical discussions. Benefits of the EPM role on selected projects were monitored throughout the year.

    Project management support

    We also worked to improve project management in ISO's technical work, making it simpler, faster and better. A project management course was attended by staff of the standards development team at ISO Central Secretariat to provide them with the key tools for efficient project management.

    XML (“eXtensible Markup Language” - allows standards to be read by computers as well as people)

    Excellent progress was made on the XML project during 2012, with over 30 % of the ISO standards catalogue available in XML format at the end of the year. The XML project enables the ISO community to:

    • Distribute and share the content of standards in various formats between the ISO Central Secretariat and ISO members, and between members and their customers
    • Offer flexibility in the way the content is delivered to customers


    The new standards development portal ISOlutions was also unveiled in 2012.

    ISOlutions allows members to use ISO's custom software for developing and selling standards, for their own national or regional use. The subscription-based service (costs range from 4 000 Swiss francs to 50 000 Swiss francs a year depending on the size of the ISO member and services they require) gives access to e-committees, e-balloting, a project portal, the ISO Web Store, the Online Browsing Portal and much more.

    For more information on ISOlutions please download this introductory pdf.

Marketing and communication

2012 also saw the launch of our new Website, the Online Browsing Platform and the ISO community blog ISO Connect, as well as a new commercial and copyright policy. All of these innovative developments help us to better communicate our work, both within and outside the ISO community, helping to make the ISO brand as visible as possible.

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    ISO's new Website

    In June 2012, ISO became one of the first organizations to launch a Website developed using responsive design technologies. Its content now looks smart on any device – desktop computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone – and was entirely reworked for a simpler, faster and better user experience.

    VIDEO: The new ISO.org

    Video: "The new ISO.org"

    OBP and other XML-based projects

    The XML-based Online Browsing Platform was launched in early 2012. The platform allows users to browse individual elements of the standards, such as terms and definitions, graphical symbols or codes, as well as table of contents and scope to better identify the standard's content before buying.

    Commercial and copyright policy

    During 2012 ISO's commercial and copyright policy (POCOSA) was entirely redrafted in plain language and with clearer principles. ISO POCOSA 2012 provides ISO and its members with a solid foundation to protect, exploit and disseminate ISO's intellectual property and develop new business models compatible with the way customers access information today.

    ISO Connect

    2012 was also marked by the launch of the innovative ISO Connect platform designed to "connect" everyone working in the ISO system. ISO Connect is available for anyone registered on the ISO Global Directory.

    The new blog helps ISO share news with, and get feedback from, the ISO community. Registered users are able to exchange comments and ideas on relevant issues. It includes up-to-date information about ISO’s key projects and upcoming events.

Supporting developing countries

During 2012 we continued our work to make the ISO system and its benefits as accessible as possible to countries at all stages of development. In total, 3.6 million Swiss francs was spent on training and development.

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    CEO forums

    2012 saw CEO forums in all regions. These meetings are a chance for the ISO Secretary-General to meet with CEOs from the national standards bodies of developing countries. CEOs discuss governance, strategy and financial sustainability among other topics. This helps create a top-down impetus to increase efficiency and effectiveness within the system.

    Institutional strengthening

    Institutional strengthening programmes were introduced in 24 countries in 2012. These programmes provide technical assistance and training, tailored to meet a country's specific needs, following a gap analysis. Ten more countries will benefit from this approach in 2013. Three members from more advanced developing countries were also asked to support less developed members in the same region, sharing the benefits gained through their institutional strengthening programmes. This "pay forward" approach encourages regional cooperation.

    New training courses

    In addition, three new courses were introduced in 2012 to benefit both developing and developed country members:

    • Good standardization practice
    • Stakeholder engagement
    • Training ISO technical committee chairs and convenors

    Video: ISO and developing countries