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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

E-GOVERNMENT -SERVICE ORIENTED ARCHITECTURE (d)

(CONTINUED FROM 12/06/10 [the title redirects you to the previous})

3.4 Stepwise introduction of shared e-government back-end
services

Mr Hans Arents (Co-ordination Cell Flemish e-Government, (CORVE))
discussed the stepwise introduction of shared eGovernment back end
services.
The introduction of service orientation into the back-end shared IT services
that support eGovernment service delivery faces its own particular challenges,
as a result of the stove-piped nature of government. The Flemish government
has adopted a stepwise approach, starting with the development of data
sharing services and only gradually moving towards application integration
services. By focusing on opening up authentic data sources within
government, major efficiency gains in key government process were realised.
To achieve this, a service oriented platform had to be built that not only
delivers web services, but a range of other types of services as well. Not
following a pure web services-based approach, but offering additional types of
“backwards-compatible” services (such as FTP, and e-mail) has been a key
success factor in the uptake of this platform.
The presentation discussed how the necessary political and organisational
buy-in was achieved, and what governance structures were set up to manage
this platform. In addition, Mr Arents discussed the technical and organisational
challenges that the Flemish government is still facing to open up these data
sources for cross-border use (e.g. the exchange of certified diploma
information about prospective employees, or the exchange of harmonised
company dossiers for public eProcurement).
Mr Arents concluded with a discussion of how this data sharing platform will
be used to “open up” Flemish government data sources in order to improve
government transparency and data re-use. In addition, the introduction of data
sharing in government has to be done in a stepwise manner. A capability gap
needs to be crossed before moving to the next step. A major capability gap
still needs to be crossed to move to the pan-European level.
In Belgium, a key role is played by sectoral services integrators. There are not
many, but unavoidably more than one for political or organisational reasons.
When they are there; they are used as the core of the data governance
structure in their sector and the providers of essential shared data services.
This could apply also at the European level as well.
Replying to a question from the audience on the SEMIC.eu initiative, Mr
Arents commented that SEMIC.eu is only a collection of objects, but it lacks
governance. What is needed is first to agree on what to do, and then
someone to take the lead and actually do it.


3.5 SOA for Pan-European Public Services

Mr Michiel Malotaux (VP Gartner Consulting) presented on SOA for pan-
European public services.
The Public Services Framework, as published in the European Interoperability
Framework (EIF) version 2.0, is in fact a pan-European SOA. Conditions to
enable this framework include: legislation, governance, (open) standards,
certified base registries accessible via web services, networks supporting
(federated) security services and certified intermediaries to provide composite
pan-European public services to administrations, businesses and citizens.
Mr Malotaux began his presentation with providing examples of pan-European
services that have been used in many engagements of Gartner with the EC.
According to the legal framework set with the Lisbon Treaty, Member States
should work together in order to provide services across national borders. In
addition, the Service Directive of 2006 requires that Member States should be
able to provide information services within and across borders. Very few
success stories can be accounted in 2010.
Mr Malotaux continued that the Malmö declaration urges Member States to
work on the freedom of services and their electronic dissemination of data
across borders. This framework is SOA. Technical interoperability has been
achieved on a global scale. Semantic interoperability has been achieved in
many cases, but still remains a challenge on other domains. Organisational
and legal interoperability remain to be achieved.
In terms of a public services framework, and the way to realise it, public
administrations should be able to serve other administrations, businesses,
and citizens. Pan-European composite services are services that draw upon
other different basic services delivered to individual companies through
portals, and gateway systems of public administrations.
Basic public services together make composite services and basic public
services can be delivered by base registries. Authentic data sources,
interoperability services (i.e. index, translation services, coding), external
services (payment module; Google maps) are being used in the industry and
public sector.
Between these basic and composite public services it is necessary to
establish secure communication and confidential login. Several examples
validate this statement: EULIS, INSPIRE, Data.gov etc. connect to Member
State base registries; which part of land is owned by whom. Inspire is about
geographic data; Eucaris, ensures that police can find a person’s stolen car
anywhere in Europe; TMView enables a person to find out whether a
trademark is occupied and where to find a specific trademark through the pan-
European Index of trademarks and the owner of that trademark; CCN/CSI and
NCTS of the Taxation and Customs Directorate-General provide an
operational communication network that enables free movement of goods
within Member States. In general, experience has shown that once a specific
architecture has been proposed, it needs to be tested since different systems
may use architecture in different ways.
Mr Malotaux concluded that there is a necessity of intermediaries, i.e., of
portal and gateways (not necessarily public) certified that know how to protect
a person’s data. Different constituencies need to know of specific expectations
to act upon. Private parties can exploit portal industries; local governments
cannot create pan-European systems, due to budget constraints.
Mr Malotaux noted that security must be federated, i.e., the details related to a
Member State’s security is the responsibility of each Member State. In
addition, EC could address the issue of a pan-European web service interface
standardisation and promote the use of certified base registries for national
authentic sources of information in Member States. EC could act as the
certification authority certifying the Member State’s sources. This framework
can work in the regional, national, and European public services’ levels.

3.6 Experiences of the development of the Hungarian
Interoperability Framework
Mr Balazs Goldscmidt (Budapest University of Technology and Economics)
presented the experiences of the development of the Hungarian
Interoperability Framework.
As part of a research group at the Budapest University of Technology and
Economics cooperating with the Hungarian public administration, authors took
part in the design of the next generation Hungarian eGovernment Framework
(HeGF), which is similar to the EIF (EU), SAGA (Germany) etc. national and
international initiatives and it is based on SOA principles.
The New Hungary Development Plan (NHDP, 2007-2013), co-funded by the
EU, is implemented through the State Reform Operational Programme
(SROP) and the Electronic Administration Operational Programme (EAOP).
The framework is built around interoperability requirements, an application
development, and architectural framework, IT security requirements, project
management methodology, process description methodology and toolkit,
eAdministration pilot projects and a standards repository.
In the current presentation the focus was on the system architecture defined
in the Interoperability Framework. At first, the technological and organisational
requirements of the architecture were introduced. Then, the components of
the architecture were discussed including the eGovernment Service Bus.
During the design process of the architecture, non-eGovernment scenarios of
SOA were examined to gain experience of the problems and issues of
enterprise SOA systems. The environments of the enterprises were compared
to that of the Hungarian public administration. The similarities and differences
of the two were shown, and it was demonstrated that, despite their
differences, understanding the problems of one area can help to address the
problems of the other.
A series of tests was performed at the end of 2008. The tests concerned the
compliance and interoperability for products and standards. The tests were
limited in coverage, and they examined the key features of major vendors’
products. The test identified products that are mature enough to be
considered for eGovernment. The testing methodology appears to be
applicable to other fields as well.
The main issues of the eGovernment that were solved using this technique
include the heterogeneous software systems; the different interpretation of
data; the distributed responsibilities and the legal burdens, including privacy
issues. According to the presenter’s view even the technical problems
disclosed can help making general eAdministration better.
In conclusion, a summary of the lessons learned from the design process
were provided. Although SOA is still maturing, it is reliable and standardised
enough to be introduced in the Hungarian, or any other, eGovernment
framework. The experiences of the enterprises and earlier integration
technologies might help to solve problems arising in eGovernment
environments; however, the differences between eGovernment and eBusiness
domains should not be forgotten.
The presenter emphasised that although modular, flexible, and standardsbased
design is sine-qua-non in projects of such scale, another aspect is
equally important: Achieving an interoperable electronic public administration,
necessitates that the role of semantic and structural interoperability is not
underestimated. Wilful cooperation, the unification of high-level concepts,
workflows and law, and a formal ontology are absolutely necessary.

4 Summary
The European Commission organised a workshop on "Service Oriented
Architecture pushed to the limit in eGovernment" in the context of its
“ePractice.eu” initiative. Following the Ministerial declaration on eGovernment
adopted in Malmö in November 2009, the European Commission is in the
process of drafting its eGovernment action plan for the period 2011-2015.
The workshop focused on two main subjects, one technological and one
business-oriented. The technological subject related to using SOA for
structured composition of services, through the adoption of object orientation.
The business subject relates to the discussion of past experience of the use of
SOA in eGovernment and future plans.
The morning session was devoted on technological trends in SOA. Mr
Sobolewski presented the service object-oriented architecture stressing that it
is necessary to create domain specific programming languages (as opposed
to software languages) that will best address the needs of the specific domain
and which will be able to be implemented in a software, hardware and network
neutral manner. Ms Ţicău brought up the importance of inherent security in
eGovernment processes, which sets a different landscape from any other
application domain. Ms Donovang-Kuhlisch proposed the utilisation of a
“business process management language” that would allow governments turn
“smart” by becoming network enabled, effect oriented and context and history
aware. Mr Mrugalla presented an architectural framework that uses SOA as a
natural consequence of the federated steering environment of Germany, and
Mr. Love presented the bottom-up approach where the eGovernment
principles find their way in the implementation of working eGovernment
solutions.
A round table discussion with the participation of the workshop audience and
speakers overviewed the technological trends and implementation problems
when applying SOA in eGovernment. Main discussion points related to the
need for user friendliness of eGovernment solutions, the need to focus on the
different levels of abstraction necessary when designing complex and unified
eGovernment solutions and how S(O)OA can be used to facilitate this design.
The afternoon session discussed lessons learnt in eGovernment
interoperability and speakers were provided the opportunity to present their
vision on the way forward. Mr Ziehm presented the case of an eJustice
solution used in the German state of Hessen, which resulted in a significant
reduction in resource usage and cost savings. This case exemplified how
strong political support was necessary to overcome inter-departmental and
inter-organisational barriers in order to arrive to a successful solution. Mr.
Rodrigues Frade presented the e-PRIOR platform that applies SOA in the
eProcurement context in order to bring together legacy systems and services
of public administrations and their suppliers. Mr Declercq proposed a SOA
reference framework to be used in a pan-European context. He stressed the
need for a reference list of services, and a clear split between business and
infrastructure services.

SOURCE EU ICT


Special thanks to the team of Eurodynamics
 

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