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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

E-GOVERNMENT -SERVICE ORIENTED ARCHITECTURE (b)

(CONTINUED  FROM  6/05/10 ,click on the title to be redirected) 
Security – a central issue of future EU Digital Agenda

Ms Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (MEP, Committee of Industry, Research and
Energy, European Parliament) discussed the importance of security in relation
to the future EU Digital Agenda and how SOA can be used in this context.
Ms Ţicău stressed that the future interoperability solutions for electronic public
administrations will be greatly dedicated to the interaction among them and
the implementation of the Community policies and activities. According to Ms
Ţicău, the future EU Digital Agenda focuses on eGovernment Interoperability.
A main barrier in eGovernment interoperability has been identified in the lack
of interoperable public key infrastructures (PKI), even at the national level.
The new eGovernment action plan of the Commission should begin where the
last action plan ended, because not all the goals of the i2010 action plan have
been achieved. For example, i2010 aimed at achieving 50 per cent of all
public procurement to be performed electronically by 2010, which is not the
case.
There is a definite trend towards the creation of a single centralised
eSignature infrastructure, which allows specific applications to simply plug in.

Nevertheless, it is important to find the right granularity: services should be
user friendly and able to support wide information-sharing and reusability of
services. Applications that can benefit from SOA include pluggable security
services, security management, and cryptographic services. They also include
pre-packaged services, in terms of user-friendliness and security of
eGovernment services.
As far as the SOA eGovernment systems are concerned, they provide a
service of a loosely coupled architecture designed to meet business needs.
SOA can facilitate the cross-border interoperability of eGovernment Systems
and help public authorities to be interconnected easily and facilitate
eParticipation.
Ms Ţicău noted that there is a need for a service registry for eGovernment
services for the transparent provision of services to the citizens and as for
eGovernment, SOA is considered to be the future. It is important to use
standards and separate services from interfaces. Standardisation, competition
and regulation should be balanced and this requires collaboration between all
stakeholders, mainly for security services that could be designed through
SOA.
Mr Sobolewski asked Ms Ţicău about the meaning of the term “sharing” noting
that only through meta-programming sharing can occur. Ms Ţicău explained
that there are interoperability problems at the national level requiring the
definition of the correct level of granularity so that public administrations can
integrate existing services. It is important to define the right level of trust for
each service provided. A Member State cannot easily use part of services
existing in another Member State, in case insufficient credentials are involved.

Smart e-Government Services based on the Recognition of
common Intent

Ms Margarete Donovang-Kuhlisch (IBM Deutschland GmbH) discussed
Smart eGovernment Services based on the recognition of common intent.
Ms Donovang-Kuhlisch explained that as Europe develops towards a
politically and economically integrated body, agencies, organisations, and
enterprises from various nations face the challenge of having to collaborate
and provide services to achieve common goals and create prior negotiated
and intended outcomes.
While European and national legislations set context and rules for such
business conduct; in multi-national service-oriented ecosystems, agile
business process management necessitates more than an underpinning
ontology to ensure semantic interoperability. It requires a complete business
process management language (BPML) based on a formal grammar to
support inter-nation administrative business processes automatically.
Governments turn “smart” by becoming network-enabled, effect-oriented and
context- and history-aware.

According to Ms Donovang-Kuhlisch, IBM has done a first case study that
addresses the collaborative exploitation of common intent in the context of
pan-European eGovernment services for a typical life event of a citizen, in
particular, a family’s residence relocation from Germany to Belgium. Based on
this example, the presentation explained how this could be applied to “extend
the SOA paradigm in semantic interoperability in the eGovernment context”.
In conclusion, the presentation argued that any European Initiative (e.g.
PEPPOL) should leverage the emerging capabilities of the future “Internet of
People, Things, and Services”. IBM invested into the Government Industry
Framework to deliver an instantiation of the “European Generic Public
Services Conceptual Model”. As both an analytics and infrastructure service
provider, IBM and its business partners offer a strategic partnership to develop
the eGovernment business model.

The Architecture framework for Federal IT Governance –
SOA and EAM for the German Federal Administration

Mr Christian Mrugalla (German Federal Ministry of the Interior) presented
the architecture framework for “Federal IT Governance – SOA and EAM for
the German Federal Administration”.
In December 2008, Germany’s Federal Government adopted a new steering
concept for its IT. One of the main tasks of the corresponding implementation
plan was setting up active architecture management. It soon became clear
that the special challenges of a cross-sectoral IT-steering could not be faced
by a pure technical approach and a more comprehensive view was needed.
Currently, Germany’s federal administration is on the way to set up an
Enterprise Architecture Management (EAM) bridging political goals via
business processes towards technical patterns and standards. Within one
year, the fundamentals of a meta-model have been developed (an English
version is available) and adopted. This model reused many ideas from
international schemas like TOGAF and especially FOAF – an architecture
framework developed by the US federal government.
According to Mr Mrugalla, it soon became clear that service orientation is the
first-choice instrument for building a bridge between business processes and
technical solutions. Services are basically logical collections of functionalities
with the potential to be implemented in technical components. On one side,
this view is generic enough to respect the technological independence of the
IT service providers for the German government; on the other side it can still
provide the means to enable authorities to formulate and follow strategic IT
planning. Thus, SOA does not appear as an a priori element; instead it is a
natural consequence of the federated steering environment.

This could also be the future of pan-European cooperation in the field of EAM.
The primary scope of the architecture framework is the back office. This term
includes the IT infrastructure within federal authorities, and the internal IT
service providers in terms of classical eGovernment. In order to achieve the
main potential of eGovernment by seamless integration of process chains in  an interoperable way, the importance of the back office architecture must not   be underestimated. The EAM (by linking technical decisions and information   models with business processes and strategic goals appropriately) is believed
to be one of the key elements in obtaining high-class eGovernment services
and interoperability in a way that is both economic and sustainable.
Summing up, the presentation gave an overview on the meta-model, the
status already achieved and the next steps.

SOA in Online Planning: Case Study
Mr Richard Love (Mayo County Council, Ireland) discussed SOA in online
planning by using a concrete example of how SOA was used with Mayo
County Council to enable the local authority to accept applications and
observations online, and how SOA is currently expected to underpin the
proposed national ePlanning portal.
In this case, several systems were tied together, using web services to
leverage data between discrete systems. In the case of the national portal, it
is planned that web services will be the method of communication used
between the national portal and local authorities to allow customers to search
and monitor applications as well as to validate online submissions so that
forms can be accepted centrally and processed locally.
Mr Love also presented how SOA was used in smaller scale applications,
such as the provision of road information during a weather crisis (displaying
Twitter feeds using an RSS reader).
The experience gained indicates that distributed systems needed to be in
fixed locations (ex. URLs cannot move, web service locations cannot move).
In addition, significant changes to the overall system generally require
cooperation and coordination of all parties that may result in down-time if not
carefully managed.
The main lesson learned is that SOA is actually the quickest and least
expensive option for integrating disparate systems. Furthermore, it is the best
option for sharing data between agencies as the alternative is massive datatransfer,
copying or reducing security to allow real-time access to databases.

1st Roundtable

The morning session concluded with a roundtable discussion.
Questions by Mr Pascal Verhoest:
Is SOA the right solution to the right problem?
Mr Sobolewski  noted that the definition of the problem is the most important
aspect in every computing issue. In addition, the data representation cannot
be addressed in a universal manner. For example, XML is appropriate for  describing arbitrary documents, however, in cases where high volume data
are needed to be stored and transferred, XML cannot be used as it greatly
increases the amount of data needed to provide the same information.
Therefore, it is important to agree that there is no single type of data
representation or technology for every eGovernment service. Everything
should co-exist; a frame should not be designed for one service –
implementation and configuration is what should be thought first when
designing a service.
Mr Sobolewski continued that a design should isolate the business logic
regardless of the technical aspects and provide services that are location
dependent, always replicated, managing documents, and providing reliability.
Basically, there is a need to identify the data, eGovernment operations, and
control strategies that can be reused.

Question from the audience:
The proposed approach is generic and this may cause problems
in the implementation of services. Shouldn’t eGovernment stay
focused on the current needs?

Mr Mrugalla agreed that complexity has to be reduced and that the approach
should not be mainly technical. Information technology should be run for
business purposes. Technological details are getting in the way of business
and communication needs, instead of focusing on functionalities and
business. He also stressed that an analysis of interoperability in the Member
States could potentially support and identify the way to move forward.
Ms Donovang-Kuhlisch added that service orientation should be adopted by
the business sector. It should be functional and citizen-oriented, alongside
implementing technology. However, due to security standards, and semantics,
the technical interoperability of web services becomes too complicated. In the
context of eGovernment across Europe, the service implementation should be
industrialised, highly scalable, and trustworthy deriving from a credential
platform.

Question from the audience:
Do the problems persist due to the current models in place?

Mr Mrugalla agreed that in many ways, this is true. The Information models
and designed solutions are great for technology purposes, but they cannot
apply to real business issues. Thus, a current shift is necessary in the design
of technology that corresponds and serves specific business needs.

Question from the audience (Aggelos Charlaftis):
The Public sector should serve the citizens first. Citizens are not
clients and the current solutions do not provide a citizen-oriented
approach. It seems that there is an interest to solely serve
businesses. Is there an option for the citizen?
 




 Ms Ţicău agreed that eGovernment should be citizen-centric and userfriendly.
Citizens should be empowered through services they are authorised
to use, and the user interface should be dynamic, presenting only available
services tailored to the needs of the citizen.
Mr Love presented a different perspective: based on a survey that Mayo
County had administered with title “All our Services are Customers” – it seems
that significantly more service requests come from businesses in comparison
to citizens. For this reason, from an IT perspective, it makes mores sense that
eGovernment focuses in the automation of business related services.
However, citizens also benefit from this, as the reduction of effort necessary to
handle business requests allows public administrations to address citizens’
service requests quicker than before.
Ms Donovang-Kuhlisch added that eGovernment must equally serve both
citizens and enterprises; and if it serves the society and economy, actual
implementation will come out of it.
Mr Sobolewski commented that there is a need to showcase the functionality
of eGovernment. The identification of use cases could become a useful start.
Ms Donovang-Kuhlisch replied that there are numerous use cases that show
what governments can do. For instance, one Danish initiative two years ago
dealt with the challenge to come up with a catalogue of eGovernment cases
and identified 12 categories in which these cases could be classified. The
service catalogue recorded 5,000 use cases broken down in different
organisations, public sector, insurance companies, etc. to serve the business
and citizens.
Mr Mrugalla noted  that when dealing with enterprise architecture for
eGovernment, one should expect the unexpected and be flexible. New needs
arise every day; therefore modelling each use case would not be very useful.
Mr Sobolewski commented that use cases can support the definition of how to
reach eGovernment. In order to find what service would be necessary, there
should be more services to choose from. For instance, in the case of the
network, the web became useful because of the huge number of services that
are available. Nevertheless, architecture is necessary in this case and for this,
it is important that use cases have been identified.

Question by Mr Pascal Verhoest:
The level of granularity has not yet been solved. Why is this, the
case?

Mr Hugo Kerschot replied that a reason could be the complexity behind
public services. What is necessary to identify is how and in what sense SOA
can help to force simpler processes or simplify services.
Mr Sobolewski added that simplification is not related to complexity of the
environment or IT. It is related to abstractions. Following the history of
information technology, the increase in complexity led from procedural
programming to structured programming, then to object oriented programming  and now to distributed-programming. SOA necessitates the existence of
Service registries. Web services as a technology does not require a service
registry and can be thus reduced to client-server architecture. However, this
leads to the current software crisis, because client-server architecture does
not scale well in a distributed computing environment.
There is a need to turn from protocol oriented services to object oriented
services to deal with new operations. More services are necessary to decide
which system can have all the semantics for the domain of interest. A
distinction must be made between software languages, such as Java, and
programming languages, which must be domain specific; in this case, a
programming language for eGovernment would be needed that is not
currently used by anyone.
Ms Ţicău replied that services should be user-friendly and value the citizen. It
is important to follow the process of granularity and define the architecture. It
is also important to identify how every piece of information may be
encapsulated into different types of services and thus reduce complexity. Cost
savings could be achieved if the analysis of eGovernment operations could
identify the right services (now provided in parallel from different public
authorities) and have them separate from the interface.

 (TO BE CONTINUED)

SOURCE  EU ICT

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1 Comments:

At 12:34 AM, Blogger 俊宏 said...

Constant dripping wears away the stone. 滴水穿石!加油!.............................................

 

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