Some say: “Standards are a cost.” Actually, standards are an investment. This is a completely different department. You wouldn't confuse the money you paid for an income-yielding security with what you paid for a new car. Similarly, people ought not to confuse IT as a cost of doing business with standards as an investment in the business.
Here's an analogy. Everybody has to eat, and food costs money. So food is part of the cost of living. But this doesn't mean it's just a cost. You can eat healthily or unhealthily. Certain food choices are like investments. You might even invest in the guidance of a dietitian or a cookbook. This isn't wasted money: it's carefully directed investment.
We live in the information age, we have to process and store and exchange information. The question is: Do we want to do that in a smart way, or a dumb way? Do we want to maximize the value of our information and our ability to profit from it? Do we want to make sure we'll still be around in the future to continue our business? If so, we need standards.
Now, you don't invest all your money. You need some of it to live on, and some to enjoy. When you invest, you probably balance the risks you buy into. It's the same with business technology. Most of your budget goes toward keeping the lights on and keeping pace with growing volumes and speeds. Some of it should also go into the no-risk, ultra-high-return vehicle of standards. This is because it's precisely standards that are going to lower your “lights on” and “keep up” costs! Organizations have to run to stand still. Standards do most of the running for you.