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Conference paper ebiv3

  1. 1. 2nd International e-Governance Conference, Baghdad 2-3 December 2012 Pag. 1Breaking information silos: towards an Iraqi e-Service ecosystemsupporting the life-event approachEmilio Bugli InnocentiAbstractThis paper analyses the current status of the e-Service implementation within the e-Governanceprogrammes in developing countries with a specific focus on the Life Event approach delivery of-e-Servicesalong with the related Service Oriented Architecture. Then, it discusses the most suited SOA engineeringmethodology in order to boost e-Service re-use and integration. Finally, a combined SOA and CloudComputing approachis proposed in order to provide an effective/efficient implementation of Iraqi e-Governance Action Plan along with a possible fast take-up of e-Services.1. Background of the topicAccording to Rowley (2006)[1] e-services are“…deeds, efforts or performances whose delivery is mediatedby information technology. Such e-service includes the service element of e-tailing, customer support, andservice delivery”. This definition reflects three main components- service provider, service receiver and thechannels of service delivery (i.e., technology). For example, as concerned to public e-service, publicagencies are the service provider and citizens as well as businesses are the service receiver. The channel ofservice delivery is the third requirement of e-service. Internet is the main channel of e-service deliverywhile other classic channels (e.g. telephone, call centre, public kiosk, mobile phone, television) are alsoconsidered.One crucial aspect to consider is how the provision of these services is organised and designed. Accordingto a 2010 National University of Singapore/Microsoft study[2],23 public administrations, the traditionalproviders of public services, are “complex federated structures where individual government organizationswork in their respective silos. This often leads to fragmented business processes and duplicated systemsand technologies.” Indeed, public services support the functioning of society and can therefore be observedacross a range of policy domains: from crime and justice, education, employment and the environment, tohealth and well-being, tax and motoring, pensions and retirement, and travel and transport. This isreflected by the Silo Government scenario above, in which separate institutions monopolise their own ICTsystems.Instead, the provision of public services should be user-oriented, taking their point-of-view: what the user(citizens, business or even non-profit organisations) perceive in their relationships with public bureaucracy.Services that are directly related to the solution of a particular problem should be linked or integrated insuch a way that the customers gain quick and convenient access to all the services they need in one place,regardless of the distribution of competences between different public agencies and businesses. Suchapproach is called a life-event approach since it integrates services, which are specifically designed aroundnodes that directly correspond to a particular life-event (e.g. moving a house, starting a business, gettingmarried, etc.).
  2. 2. 2nd International e-Governance Conference, Baghdad 2-3 December 2012 Pag. 2However, currently only few researches go beyond the evaluation of single services and assess integratedservices or life-events, and one of this is the recent study[3] across a number of EU member States.Indeed, as the European Union governments started consolidating their web presence and sophisticationlevel[4], it became intuitive that the simple online offering of government departments and agenciesservices would not be the most effective way of developing more transactional and interactive capacities inan efficient and effective manner.The notion of life events and integrative service streams based on user group segmentation have sinceevolved to reflect an online perspective of government operations based less on organisational charts andmore on citizen usage and outcomes, with the Government of Singapore credited by some observers as thefirst nation to re-organise itself in such a manner. Integrated Service offerings that hide, simplify ortranscend the traditional machinery of government have thus become a focus of the e-Government projectthrough one or more of the following four variations of what it means to integrate services:all relevant agencies offering the same service in a common manner, sharing data definitions and atbest sharing data, but no technological integration between the services being offered;services are collected together under a common theme or event. The services are not inherentlyintegrated, or even with a common look-and-feel, but are grouped in ways that aid discovery andpromote the comprehensive completing of necessary services;services are delivered by a single provider as an agent of other government agencies. Singularservices are offered by the agent and the integration is hidden from the ‘customer’;services are technologically integrated into a pseudo-supply-chain application. This requires themost sophisticated integration work and is not often implementedIn parallel, new organisational and technological models for delivering services both online and viacomplementing, more traditional channels are taking hold.From the perspective of more horizontal but in reality networked governance solutions that are theessence of service transformation and effective security strategies, two main issues need to be addressed:how to motivate public managers to share data and, more generally, to work jointly for the publicgood; andhow to understand and influence the range of barriers, technical, organisation and legal, but alsocultural, social and political, affecting cross-agency initiativesService-Oriented Architecture (SOA) is a software architecture that defines the use of services, to supportsoftware user requirements. Web services are the most promising technology to support the integration ofapplications and systems of different levels of e-Governance aimed at both public individuals and privatebusinesses. Characteristics of these services such as reusability of business components and looselycoupled building blocks of SOA to provide services to either end-user applications or other services throughheterogeneous networks makes SOA the best architecture match for e-Governance integration.Implementation of SOA application is made possible through the realization of web services. Withthoughtful engineering and an enterprise point of view, SOA offers positive benefits such as languageneutral integration, component re-use, organisational agility, leveraging existing systems.We believe that government agencies need to implement SOA, as it is the best possible architectural designpattern suitable for integrating their e-services.
  3. 3. 2nd International e-Governance Conference, Baghdad 2-3 December 2012 Pag. 32. Current status regional and globallyLet us consider the following examples of Life Event approaches:1. Example of Life-Event Driven Development: SloveniaThe e-Government portal e-Uprava was launched in March 2001, re-launched in December 2003 andmodernised in May 2006. The enhanced portal supports Government to Citizen (G2C), Government toBusiness (G2B) and Government to Government (G2G) interactions and offers various services to citizens,legal entities and public employees.Information has been classified according to life events, thus enabling users to acquire the desiredinformation more rapidly. Each insight into specific life situations of citizens and businesses is associatedwith links leading to Public Administration web pages of similar content.The portal provides access to the e-SJU system (Electronic Services of Public Administration) which supportsall the procedures with electronic forms (generating eForms with a special generic tool, authentication withall qualified digital certificates, partial pre-fill from Central Population Register, logical controls, support forattachments, ePayments, electronic signing, delivering to the responsible institution, electronic delivery).The application can be used by all residents equipped with qualified digital certificates valid in Slovenia.In addition, users of e-Uprava are offered the possibility to customise the portal, i.e. adjust certain contentsto their specific needs and subscribe to individual contents.Figure 1 – The Slovenian e-Uprava Portal
  4. 4. 2nd International e-Governance Conference, Baghdad 2-3 December 2012 Pag. 42. Example of Life-event Driven Development: DubaiDubai e-Government has enhanced its web portal as part of a continuing effort to reinforceits status as a global pioneer in e-Government. The enhancement also seeks to consolidate the informationplatform and build a strong, unified base to address the needs of the public through more than 2,000electronic services provided by various government departments in the emirate. The restructuring processof the portal involved adopting a new approach called "life-events" where information and services arepackaged based on various life stages of individuals, businesses and visitors. This system allows portal usersto have direct access to services that they require without having to browse through several web pages.In this regard, Dubai e-Government has collaborated with government departments and private sectororganisations to create awareness about the latest innovations in e-Governance and the efficiency of the e-Services being offered by Dubai e-Government, where e-Services provided by more than one governmentdepartment are integrated into customer focused life events, bringing Dubai e-Government closer to avirtual government.Figure 2: The Dubai e-Government PortalFrom the analysis and examples above, we understand thata life-event includes all public services which are related to a specific situation that citizens andbusinesses face (e.g., important stages in a citizens life, such as school, marriage, or buying aproperty)Life events‘ package government services which are usually provided by multiple governmentagencies around a subject that makes sense to the citizen.The IT systems of the participating government agencies then co-operate (i.e. interoperate) for theseamless delivery of the e-service
  5. 5. 2nd International e-Governance Conference, Baghdad 2-3 December 2012 Pag. 53. Critical issues that need to be address in general and in the Iraqi contextIn section 2, we have seen how generic customer enquiries are formulated around a concept called “Life-Event” that is a metaphor described in literature as the representation of a basic customer service requestsuch as applying for passport or tax return, it requires bundling a number of available e-Governance andpossibly private e-Commerce services in order to deliver information and services to customer as packagesbuilt around a specific life-events.The most important aspect in creating a framework for e-Service re-use and composition is to address thehighest exploitable level of granularity of the e-Services, i. e. the e-Service building blocks something calledherein after the “Fundamental e-Services”.According to[3], the following e-Service Taxonomy can be identified:Process Services which represent actual workflows (macro flow), combining other (basic and/orcomposed) services through service orchestration in a long-running flow of activities (or services)which can be interrupted by human intervention. Process services are therefore stateful meaningthat they can preserve certain state across multiple calls of the service;Composed Services are based on other services which are combined into a new composed service.Conceptually composed services are stateless and short-term running. They represent a micro flowcomprising a short-running flow of activities (which are services) as part of a business processBasic Services implement basic business functionality which it does not make sense to split intomultiple services. Basic services are also stateless and can be subdivided into two types:Basic Data Services read or write data from or to one backend system. These services typically eachrepresent a fundamental business operation of the back-end. Basic services encapsulate platform-specific aspects and implementation details from the outside world, so that the consumer canrequest a service without knowing how it is implemented. These services should provide someminimal business functionalityBasic Logic Services represent fundamental business rules. These services usually process someinput data and return corresponding resultsTherefore he most important aspect to promote e-Service re-use and integration is to identify theFundamental Services, i.e., a Basic public service (both Basic Data and Basic Logic Services) that isautonomous and that is provided by a single responsible role, and receives as input only the output fromBasic Data Services, documents or objects produced by citizens, businesses or administrations.Case Study: the Environmental Permit(The Netherlands)In many countries, a combination of different permits (building and demolition permits, usage permits,waste permits and water permits each of them issued by municipalities in isolation) is needed to becompliant with the environmental law.The implementation of the Environmental Permit law in municipalities demonstrates how establishingservices as building blocks has helped municipalities to solve the problems related to the implementation ofthis law.
  6. 6. 2nd International e-Governance Conference, Baghdad 2-3 December 2012 Pag. 6Figure 3: the Fundamental e-Service for the Environmental PermitAs depicted in the picture3,The ‘intake of request’ service ensures that all the required information is collected from thepermit requestorThe ‘orchestration & follow’ up keeps track of the sequence (performance of the cases in parallel orsequence), the time limit and the consistency between the regulations of the overall permitThis orchestration services are the ‘glue’ between the domain specific services, such as thebuilding, water, waste and usage permits, all of which are provided by different departmentsIt is possible to envisage a scenario in which a company - a ‘Front office’ - is established to provide aconsumer with all of the licences and permits necessary to undertake a particular activity. By reusing andcombining existing public services, it is able to request and receive licences and permits from differentpublic administrations, according to the end-users’ circumstances, thus providing an new service and a newbusiness model, based on a ‘cloud of public services.’ Through this service, a third party could handle therequest (and even granting) of licences and can therefore:Communicate directly with all institutions involved for all licencesGroup and follow up on all requests in a single placeHandle the transport of physical documentsFollow up on the expiry and renewal of licensesKeep track of legislation that influences the licence
  7. 7. 2nd International e-Governance Conference, Baghdad 2-3 December 2012 Pag. 7Figure 4: The Future: the establishment of a Front Office for Permits and Licences4. Policy and programme implicationsThe methodologies and technical solutions presented in this paper have only the scope to suggest the mosteffective and efficient implementation of current Iraqi e-Governance Strategies and Action Plan andpossibly guarantee a fast take up of e-Services.5. Moving Forward: the Service Oriented Architecture as the enabler of Cloud ComputingThe advent of the Cloud Computing can be considered part of the “comodisation” of the IT, being the maindriver the need to save costs and reduce IT budgets.As such, Cloud computing has already attracted a number of developing countries[5] (e.g., from Asia, Africaand Middle East) while developing their e-Governance programme, or sectorial initiative such as e-Education or e-Health. The main drivers are the reduced cost of implementation and maintenance andlimited number of needed experts (if compared with other solutions).Figure 5: The Cloud Computing Stack [6]Basically, Cloud computing is a deployment architecture, not an architectural approach for how to architectan enterprise/public administration.Instead, SOA is an architectural approach that creates services that can be shared and reused. It convertscurrent vertical applications into a number of components called services that can be reused acrossmultiple applications, thus providing savings and improved agility to make changes faster and more costeffectively
  8. 8. 2nd International e-Governance Conference, Baghdad 2-3 December 2012 Pag. 8Within e-Governance programmes to support broader and more consistent integration of systems isfundamental. System integration and data exchange activities will have to get more streamlined andefficient across a portfolio of disparate systems. SOA inspired componentization efforts, where softwareleverages other network based software using standards-based interfaces, are a response to this pressure.Similarly, considering platform and storage services as a scalable commodity will push organizations to usethese less expensive service offerings, since the trend toward SOA and cloud computing has many of thesame drivers, such as cost reduction.The cloud environment provides potential advantages both within a public administration, for exampleusing a private cloud to deliver mission-critical services and outside a public administration, using acommercial cloud to provide new functionality and agility quickly, for example using hosted businessprocess management (BPM) tools and/or host less critical services. Cloud can provide advantages in self-service, scalability, flexibility, pay-as-you-go, and improved time-to-value.Moving successfully into cloud computing requires an architecture that will support the new cloudcapabilities. Many business leaders and analysts agree that moving to cloud requires having a solid, serviceoriented architecture to provide the infrastructure needed for successful cloud implementation.SOA can provide the backbone to allow both user front-end applications and enterprise back-end servers toeasily access cloud services. With SOA already in place, taking advantage of cloud computing will be easier,faster and more secure.The immediate benefit of combining SOA and Cloud Computing is time. Reaching out to the cloud forbusiness or technology capabilities allows SOA initiatives to compress time to value. In the longer term, thebenefits include improved collaboration, customer satisfaction and fewer costs. By offering SOA-basedcapabilities to the cloud, a public administration can improve interactions with other administrations andoffer added-value, life event based e-Services to the citizens.6. A path for the making of SOA and Cloud ComputingFor the advent of the e-Governance Service Oriented Architecture, the concept of an Enterprise ServiceBus, i. e., a message-based distributed integration software platform, is fundamental. ESB is open-standard,platform-independent and vendor-neutral. It can run on any operating system and hardwarestructure, and can beimplemented with different technologies (e.g. J2EE, Microsoft .NET). With manyservice containers distributed anddecentralised on the Internet, ESB creates a virtual service bus for systemand service integration.With administration tools, users can configure ESB containers without requiring shutdown or interruptingthe integratedservices. ESB adopts SOA and highly enhances the SOA implementation and functionalities byreplacing the centralregistry with the bus architecture. It makes the system and service integration a trulyplug-and-play process. In themarket, major ESB vendors include IBM, Oracle, Microsoft, Progress Software,Software AG, RedHat (Open Source) and MuleSoft (Open Source).Government experiences with ESB implementation may vary a lot from those who adopted/customisedlicensed solutions (e.g., Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Belgium), those who adopted/customised Open Sourcesolutions (e.g., Belgium, Hungary) and those who finally implemented their own Government Service Bus(e.g., Estonia, Italy).It is worth mentioning that with currently available ESB solutions, integrating cloud computing with othersystems can be fully realised.It is likely that Government will gradually adoptcloud computing and will need a powerful tool to integratetheir on-premise systems to clouds for the short term. For thelong term, they need a fully integratedinfrastructure of cloud-to-cloud after their business processes are completely onclouds.Without a
  9. 9. 2nd International e-Governance Conference, Baghdad 2-3 December 2012 Pag. 9comprehensive system integration architecture or tools, cloud computing will not bewidely adopted, norwill it become a fundamental business infrastructure [7].Figure 6: The Architecture of the Enterprise Service Bus [7]Figure 7: The ESB-based Integration Architecture [7]6. Implementation considerationsThe implementation of an e-Governance Strategy based on SOA and Cloud Computing usually implies theadoption of one or more of the following steps:build one or more national/regional data centres
  10. 10. 2nd International e-Governance Conference, Baghdad 2-3 December 2012 Pag. 10recruit/train technical staff for national data centrespurchase hw but also considering re-use if this is not too obsoletepurchase virtualisation swpurchase ESBallocate/train national/local technical staff for ESB and SOAcentralise SOA guidelines ( e-GIF)national registers reside or have a roadmap to national cloud and available through e-servicesall other mission-critical service reside or have a roadmap to central national cloude.g., tax servicesnon mission critical service can stay on private cloud, e.g.medical appointments, e-form forstudents can use googlelocal life event e-Service to be built using ESB and access thecentral national cloud when neededA good case study of deployment of SOA-ESB and Cloud Computing at federal and provincial level isBelgium [4].The Belgian Federal ICT Service (FEDICT) has established theFederal Service Bus (FSB) throughwhich services from different domains, related to different back-ends,are provided openly and are reusedby different actors. FEDICT acts as a service integrator,which means that the FSB acts as a platform onwhich services are provided and integrated so thatthey can be openly accessed by parties that areinterested in re-using them.The Belgian example of the FSB provides a real-life example of how services canbe reused andcombined based on SOA principles. Currently a total of 53 existing services are made publiclyavailable on the FSB, including for exampleapplications for eBirth (electronic registration of the birth of achild by hospital personnel), theCrossroad Bank for Social Security (CBSS) and the Crossroads Bank forEnterprises (CBE), the latterof which is currently being deployed within this architecture, and the eDepot.Naturally, a government before entering the SOA-ESB and Cloud Computing implementation have anumber of issues to be considered beyond the pure technical horizon: legal, contractual,organisational,privacy, security constraints. Concerning the Cloud Computing privacy/security there are anumber of recommendations available from the EU[8] and the US[9].In particular, in order to avoid being locked-in by vendors, cloud infrastructure should be selected to allowswitching from one vendor to another through the adoption of the following standards:Cloud Data Management Interface (CDMI)Open Virtualization Format (OVF)On the organisational side, the standardisation of interfaces and cloud computing can have a dramaticeffect on ICT job losses as witnessed by the massive adoption of such technology by the multinational oilcompany ENI.7. References[1]J. Rowley “An analysis of the e-service literature: towards a research agenda” Internet Research, 16 (3),2006[2]Saha, P. “Enterprise Architecture as Platform for Connected Government: Understanding the Impact ofEnterprise Architecture on Connected Government – A Qualitative Analysis”, National University ofSingapore/Microsoft, 2010*3+ Wauters & alii “Study on the cloud and service oriented architectures for e-Government”, Deloitte, 2011[4] Cap Gemini. “Digitizing Public Services in Europe: Putting ambition into action”, 2010*5+ N. Kshetri “Cloud Computing in Developing Economies”, IEEE Computer, 2010
  11. 11. 2nd International e-Governance Conference, Baghdad 2-3 December 2012 Pag. 11[6+ G. Raines “Cloud Computing and SOA”, MITRE, 2009*7+ L. Chen “Integrating Cloud Computing Services Using Enterprise Service Bus (ESB)”, Business andManagement Research, 2012[8] [ENISASR11] Security and Resilience in governmental cloud, ENISA,, 2011[9]NIST documentation, NIST,, 2011