The European Commission adopted a new Communication on Interoperability, which includes a revised European Interoperability Framework (EIF). In this context, the ISA² program is a key instrument for implementation and monitoring, defined in the ISA² Decision. It provides public administrations in the Member States with 47 detailed recommendations on how to improve the interoperability of public service design and delivery.
Member States need to integrate interoperability skills into their interoperability strategies and recognize that interoperability is a multidimensional issue, which requires awareness and interoperability skills:
- technical level.
Five priority areas of interoperability in the EU:
- Ensuring the management, coordination and exchange of interoperability initiatives.
- Development of organizational interoperability solutions.
- Stakeholder involvement and interoperability awareness.
- Development, maintenance and promotion of key elements enabling interoperability.
- Development, maintenance and promotion of instruments that support interoperability.
Ensuring the management, coordination and exchange of interoperability initiatives
Achieving the interoperability of public administrations requires managing and coordinating bodies and procedures for the design, implementation and application of interoperability solutions at national and Union level, so the role of the Commission and the Member States is twofold:
- manage, coordinate and exchange all interoperability initiatives at national and Union level,
- ensure that public administrations follow the principles and recommendations of the European Interoperability Framework,
- to promote better cooperation at all levels of public administration in the Union,
- remove remaining organizational and digital barriers.
The Commission and the Member States should implement the European Interoperability Framework, so the Commission will monitor the implementation of the European Interoperability Framework through the ISA² program. The ISA² program play a key role in the development, establishment, improvement, implementation, re-use, improvement and promotion of interoperability solutions, thus facilitating cooperation between public administrations. The Commission, with the support of the ISA² program ensure proper interoperability management, classify and promote interoperability solutions, and coordinate various EU interoperability initiatives.
Development of organizational interoperability solutions
Businesses and citizens should be able to benefit from interoperable public services through better integration of business processes and the exchange of information between public administrations in the Union. In this context, organizational interoperability means the integration or coordination of inter-organizational business processes and the formalization of relations between service providers and users of European public services.
Stakeholder involvement and interoperability awareness
Any interoperability initiative should be based on a specific business case, proving that interoperability is a sensible investment and that users' needs are better met if communication systems can communicate with each other.
In this context, public administrations should:
- measure and communicate the main benefits that could be achieved by applying the principles and recommendations of the European Interoperability Framework,
- promote the use of the European interoperability framework and the solutions it proposes.
Businesses and citizens as end-users should also be involved in the design, analysis, evaluation and development of European public services. Therefore, the Interoperability Action Plan includes specific measures to involve users in gathering the views and needs of businesses and citizens (including people with disabilities) through participation. The Commission and the Member States should take the utmost account of user needs when designing and developing public services.
Development, maintenance and promotion of key elements enabling interoperability
Today, public administrations manage large amounts of data in different formats, using different data management methods, keeping multiple copies in different repositories and often publishing them on portals across Europe without harmonization in terms of content and presentation. This explains why existing information on citizens and businesses is re-used in only 48% of cases. As a result, providing public services to citizens and businesses is often difficult and time consuming. It can also raise trust issues related to data protection.
To improve the quality of European public services provided digitally to end-users, the Commission and the Member States should identify, develop, improve, prepare for implementation, maintain and promote a set of key elements enabling interoperability, while ensuring the security of the data exchanged.
Development, maintenance and promotion of instruments supporting interoperability
Member States need the support of practical instruments in the design, implementation and application of interoperability solutions, ie. tools, frameworks, guidelines and specifications needed to achieve interoperability at national and transnational level.
The Commission and the Member States should encourage the re-use of existing instruments and further develop new ones, in particular:
- European reference interoperability architecture and European interoperability cartography,
- ways of assessing the implications of Union law for ICT and identifying gaps in legislation that hamper interoperability,
- The "Exchange and Reuse Framework for Information Solutions", developed under the ISA² program, to promote and improve the exchange, joint development and re-use of information solutions (including open source) by public administrations.
NIFO - Monitoring and reporting to Member States on the implementation of interoperability
The establishment and implementation of the European Interoperability Framework and the Interoperability Action Plan is a joint task of the Commission and the Member States.
Under the ISA² program, the Commission is tasked with developing a comprehensive framework for monitoring, evaluating and reporting on progress in implementing both the European Interoperability Framework and the Interoperability Action Plan. These activities will be carried out as part of the work of the Interoperability Observatory (NIFO) under the ISA² program, using key performance indicators and measurable objectives.