Government identifies interoperability pain points

The main concerns expressed were around the role of SSC in moderating contributions to a shared framework

The State Services Commission has identified interoperability “pain points” to improved integration between agencies, a key requirement for delivering “all-of-government” and e-government initiatives.

“There are no standard ways for managing schemas, version control or change control. Engagement between agencies is often difficult due to different levels of maturity in the use of standards, and impacts on projects,” say notes from a discussion forum held earlier this year (Computerworld, July 16).

“Participants were keen for these areas to be addressed since the issues affect all integrators and detract from real competitive advantage.”

The forum involved software integrators and the movers of the e-government interoperability framework (e-GIF). To improve collaboration and standardisation, the SSC has decided a permanent online forum on XML governance is warranted.

In setting this up, it has anticipated some of the classic problems of discussion groups — moderation.

“The main concerns expressed were around the role of the SSC in moderating contributions to a shared framework, how to maintain quality without excluding participants, and how to maintain effective communication,” the notes say.

“There were worries that the SSC might be seen as a “gatekeeper” of comment rather than a moderator, said SSC spokesman Jason Ryan. This aspect will have to be managed. The comment about maintaining quality was just “standard discussion-group practice”, he says.

The SSC has formed an XML governance reference group (previously known as a working group) which has had its first meeting. This involves representatives of eight “large and small” organisations including core government departments and wider public-sector entities, Ryan says. “We expect to address many of the issues raised by the integrators forum through the work of this group,” says the report.

The other main aspect of encouraging good governance and collaboration is a toolset provided by the SSC including technical support and communications. A core part of this, a pilot service for registering XML objects, can be seen at: registry.e.govt.nz.

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