Interoperability data for Cyprus, 2011 Back to country selection

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1. Interoperability as a strategic goal
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This qualitative indicator examines whether Interoperability is recognized as a strategic priority, a fact which holds truth if the latter is explicitly mentioned in either one of the national e-Government, Interoperability, local e-Government, Digital Planning, IT or Information Society (etc.) strategies or other strategic framework of the country. In this case it is awarded the value “Yes”; otherwise the value “No”. In case there is no relevant information, the indicator is granted the value “Unknown”. A suitable justification is also provided depending on the case.

1.1. Strategic Priority on Interoperability Yes

Currently, an overall policy on interoperability has not been officially established, however it is embedded in the Cyprus Information Systems Strategy [1]. In fact, the revised Government Information Systems Strategy, already approved by the Council of Ministers, includes among others an update on the procedures and standards used for its implementation, a government security policy and the plan of preparing a National e-Government Interoperability Framework (based on the contents of the EIF) [1, 2]. Additionally, there is an e-Government Architectural Framework that is institutionalized to provide national institutions support for interconnectivity and interoperability and ensure successful implementation of e-Government [1].

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This indicator investigates the status of a National Interoperability Strategy. The latter may be absent, and thus “Not planned”, “Planned”, “Under development” or already “Published”. In case no information is available, the National Interoperability Strategy Status is attributed the value “Unknown”.

1.2. National Interoperability Strategy Status Not planned
2. National Interoperability Frameworks
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National Interoperability Frameworks prove that a country is interoperability-aware and pose as the cornerstone for the resolution of interoperability issues in the public sector and the provision of one-stop, fully electronic services to businesses and citizens. In this context, this indicator examines the status of a National Interoperability Framework by aggregating information on a series of relevant aspects, namely title, version, release date, focus/scope, audience, status and responsible agency.

2.1. National Interoperability Framework Status
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2.1.1. Title Not applicable
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2.1.2. Version Not applicable
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2.1.3. Release Date Not applicable
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2.1.4. Focus / Scope Unknown
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2.1.5. Audience Government sector
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2.1.6. Status Planned
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2.1.7. Responsible Agency Department of Information Technology Services, Ministry of Finance (http://www.mof.gov.cy/mof/dits/dits.nsf/)
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This qualitative metric investigates whether a country’s National Interoperability Framework is harmonized with the European Interoperability Framework (EIF), that has been issued by the IDABC (“Interoperable Delivery of European e-Government Services to Public Administrations, Businesses and Citizens”) initiative, or not.
The indicator is applicable when a country’s NIF has already been published. In case the country’s NIF is in line with the European Interoperability Framework, the indicator is awarded the value ”Yes” ; otherwise the value “No”.  In case there is no relevant information, the indicator is granted the value “Unknown”. A suitable justification is also provided depending on the case.

2.2. Compatibility of National Interoperability Framework with the European Interoperability Framework Not applicable

It is claimed that Cyprus National e-Government Interoperability Framework will be prepared based on the guidance provided by the European Interoperability Framework (EIF).

3. Interoperability Projects and Activities
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This indicator brings the evaluation of interoperability efforts down to the practical level and rates the National Interoperability-related Activity of a country by means of the number of relevant projects of national or local scope. These are mainly e-Government projects, where interconnection, integration or interoperability have a central role. Both ongoing and completed projects are taken into consideration. The indicator is measured in a qualitative four level scale including the levels “Non-existent”, “Low/limited”, “Moderate” and “High”. A quite descriptive but non-exhaustive list of national interoperability-related projects is also provided, in order to offer a more clear view on the relevant activities.Values:

  • Non-existent: no projects
  • Low: 1-5 projects
  • Moderate: 6-20 projects
  • High: over 20 projects
3.1. Number of interoperability-related projects of local or national scope Moderate
  • CyePS (Cyprus eProcurement System), a state-of-the-art, secure, transparent, reliable and interoperable web-based platform for the conduction of procurement competitions and announcement of award results, also awarded the Good Practice Label by e-Practice in 2009 (http://www.eprocurement.gov.cy) [2, 4].
  • Citizen Service Centers project to establish an alternative channel for one-stop-shop, efficient and effective service provision to citizens (also awarded the Cyprus Innovation Award for the Public Sector in June 2009) and with the perspective to be expanded with the establishment of a Mobile Citizen Centre [2, 5].
  • The Government portal (front-end), acting as an institutional website and as a singly entry point to information a services, based on the life-event cycle (http://www.cyprus.gov.cy), along with the Government Secure Gateway providing the core architecture (middleware tier) to enable e-government service delivery and G2G, G2B, G2C transactions in a secure and interoperable manner, and connecting the government back-end information systems using open interoperability standards that ensure seamless integration with all agency services and technology platforms [2].
  • The Government Data Network (GDN), interconnecting all government information systems/organizations and enabling information exchange through web workflow technologies, and the Government Internet Node (GIN) serving as the gateway between government information systems and the public network [2].
  • eOAS (eOffice Automation System), a web-enabled, platform independent system, supporting enterprise-wide record and document management as well as work-flow, work-groups, security and access control, and providing thereby the benefits of a paperless office, enforcing existing rules and regulations, improving productivity, speeding communication between office workers and reducing operational costs [2, 6].
  • Project on the introduction of electronic identification/authentication (eID, smart cards) for cross-border seamless access to public services [2].
  • Integrated Health Care System project [2].
  • e-Filing project to allow complete online company registration (co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund of the European Union, http://www.mcit.gov.cy/mcit/drcor/drcor.nsf/) [2].
  • TaxisNet system, allowing taxpayers – natural persons and companies, holding a Taxpayer’s Identification Number - to submit income tax returns electronically (https://taxisnet.mof.gov.cy/) [2].
  • Social Insurance web-enabled information system, allowing the payment of social contributions for employees or self-employed through the internet using the “direct debit” payment method (https://www.pay.sid.mlsi.gov.cy/) [2].
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This metric captures the degree of a country’s engagement with EU research and development (R&D) activities, and provides therefore an indication of the number of EU-funded interoperability-related projects in which the country participates. Both ongoing and completed research projects are taken into consideration. The same four level qualitative scale is used in this case as well, while an indicative list of EU-funded projects is also included. Values:

  • Non-existent: no projects
  • Low: 1-5 projects
  • Medium: 6-20 projects
  • High: over 20 projects
3.2. Number of EU-funded interoperability-related projects Moderate
3.2.1. Indicative projects
  • COIN (Collaboration and interoperability for networked enterprises, Jan 2008 – Dec 2011), aiming to study, design, develop and prototype an open, self-adaptive, generic ICT integrated solution to support the above 2020 vision of Enterprise collaboration and Interoperability services becoming an invisible, pervasive and self-adaptive knowledge and business utility at disposal of the European networked enterprises from any industrial sector and domain in order to rapidly set-up, efficiently manage and effectively operate different forms of business collaborations, from the most traditional supply chains to the most advanced and dynamic business ecosystems (http://www.coin-ip.eu/) [7].
  • GENESIS (“Enterprise Application Interoperability via Internet-Integration for SMEs, Governmental Organisations and Intermediaries in the New European Union”) addressing the interoperability issues that hinder electronic transactions among enterprises and organizations today and focusing on the research, development and pilot application of the needed methodologies, infrastructure and software components that will allow the typical, usually small and medium European enterprise to conduct business transactions over the internet (http://www.genesis-ist.eu) [8].
  • SeaDataNet (Pan-European Infrastructure for Ocean and Marine Data Management, April 2006 – March 2011), aiming to develop an efficient distributed Pan-European Marine Data Management Infrastructure for managing large and diverse marine research data sets, and to network the existing professional data centers of 35 countries, active in data collection, and provide integrated databases of standardized quality on-line (http://www.seadatanet.org/) [9].
  • SeaDataNet II (Pan-European infrastructure for ocean and marine data management, Oct 2011- Sept 2015) aiming to upgrade the present SeaDataNet infrastructure into an operationally robust and state-of-the-art Pan-European infrastructure for providing up-to-date and high quality access to ocean and marine metadata, data and data products originating from data acquisition activities by all engaged coastal states, by setting, adopting and promoting common data management standards and by realising technical and semantic interoperability with other relevant data management systems and initiatives on behalf of science, environmental management, policy making, and economy (http://www.seadatanet.org/) [10].
  • EGEE-III (Enabling grids for e-science III, May 2008 – April 2010), to expand, optimize and simplify the use of Europe's largest production Grid by continuous operation of the infrastructure, support for more user communities, and addition of further computational and data resources, and prepare the migration of the existing Grid from a project-based model to a sustainable federated infrastructure based on National Grid Initiatives. By strengthening interoperable, open source middleware, EGEE-III will actively contribute to Grid standards and will ensure that the European Grid does not fragment into incompatible infrastructures of varying maturity, but constitutes a world class, coherent and reliable infrastructure (http://www.eu-egee.org/) [11].
  • EMPOWER (A semantic service-oriented private adaptation layer enabling the next generation, interoperable and easy-to-integrate software products of European software smes, May 2009- April 2011), proposing an innovative framework and the enabling technologies that will allow the European Software SMEs to create their next generation, loosely-coupled, interoperable and easy-to-integrate Commercial-off-the-Shelf software products (http://empower-project.eu/) [12].
  • NATURE-SDIplus (Best Practice Network for SDI in Nature, Oct 2008 - July 2011), aiming to improve harmonization of national datasets on nature conservation and make them more interoperable, accessible and exploitable, by developing the NATURE-SDIplus geoportal, to permit recovery of metadata, data and services, and involving stakeholders, data and best practices sharing (http://www.nature-sdi.eu/) [13].
  • CHRONIOUS (Chronic disease management platform, Feb 2008 – Jan 2012), aimed at defining an open platform to manage and monitor patients with chronic diseases during their daily life with the help of wearable devices, simple, customized and adaptive interfaces and exploitation of HL7 standards to ensure interoperability with legacy healthcare systems (http://www.chronious.eu) [14].
  • DIEGO (Digital Inclusive e-Government, April 2010 – March 2012), aiming to offer to any European Public Authority a full e-accessibility front-end  for e-Government services, highly scalable and affordable, supported by i) a new "user-centric" and accessible service provision model for transforming pre-existing services, removing their ICT barriers (eExclusion), or creating new ones "from scratch" which will have an inclusive character from the beginning, and ii) a "highly scalable deployment model", based on a SaaS approach and widely accepted web services standards  to guarantee interoperability with any back-office and affordability of the implementation (http://www.diego-project.eu/) [2, 15].
4. National Interoperability Practices
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This metric provides an indication of the number of interoperability cases with a good practice label that have been implemented by a country. These are projects and other activities that have resulted in the development of innovative, flexible and reconfigurable interoperability solutions with an appreciable impact in terms of users’ uptake, a series of articulated benefits (e.g. managerial, financial, cultural etc.), and a number of patterns and components that may be either reused in other activities within the country or in other countries, or that can be exploited for educational and/or benchmarking purposes. Values:

  • Non-existent: no cases
  • Low: 1-5 cases
  • Medium: 6-20 cases
  • High: over 20 cases
4.1. Number of Interoperability Cases with Good Practice Label Low
  • CyePS (Cyprus eProcurement System), a state-of-the-art, secure, transparent, reliable and interoperable web-based platform for the conduction of procurement competitions and announcement of award results (http://www.eprocurement.gov.cy) [2, 4, 16].
  • Citizen Service Centers project to establish an alternative channel for one-stop-shop, efficient and effective service provision to citizens (also awarded the Cyprus Innovation Award for the Public Sector in June 2009) and with the perspective to be expanded with the establishment of a Mobile Citizen Centre [2, 5, 17].
  • eOAS (eOffice Automation System), a web-enabled, platform independent system, supporting enterprise-wide record and document management as well as work-flow, work-groups, security and access control, and providing thereby the benefits of a paperless office, enforcing existing rules and regulations, improving productivity, speeding communication between office workers and reducing operational costs [2, 6, 17].
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In the frame of this indicator, one interoperability case with a good practice label is selected as the most important or indicative one and is described with regard to a series of aspects including title, status, interoperability aspects covered and impact.

4.2. Best Interoperability Practice
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4.2.1. Title CyePS (Cyprus eProcurement System)
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4.2.2. Description

CyePS (Cyprus eProcurement System), a state-of-the-art, secure, transparent, reliable and interoperable web-based platform, comprising eNotification, eTendering, eAwarding and eAuctions, eCatalogues and eOrdering, and eStatistics modules, and providing thereby advanced functionality for all procurement phases (http://www.eprocurement.gov.cy).

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4.2.3. Status

Live since November 2009 (in pilot operation since June 2009)

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4.2.4. Indicative interoperability aspects covered
  • Interoperability Standards
  • Legal and Business Rules Modeling, Execution and Management
  • Security and Authentication
  • Information Management
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Brief description of benefits, reusable components, patterns and lessons learnt from the particular IOP case.

4.2.5. Impact

Benefits - Reusable Components – Patterns:

  • High quality of adherence to the legal environment: transparency, compliance and convergence with the EC directives.
  • Interoperability: tools and services, based on Open Source Software (OSS) and use of Open Standards. Interface with EU Official Journal and the Cyprus Official Gazette. Support of UBL standard for e-Catalogues and e-Orders.
  • State-of-the-Art technical infrastructure that enables equal treatment, non-discrimination, transparency and security and contains specialized security equipment and no single-point-of-failure.
  • Increased productivity and reduction of required resources.
  • Better management of information: data entry errors and repetition of information are reduced, providing highly detailed and easily accessible data through electronic documents, as well as advanced searching and auditing facilities that enable the expansion of management reporting, monitoring, financial analysis and forecasting capabilities.
  • Transparency through wider market participation and easier access, increased competition levels and lower costs for public administrations.
  • Faster procurement through better efficiency: the procurement cycle is reduced due to capability to re-use previous competition information, electronic completion of notices and automated evaluation.
  • Reduction of off-contract buying: low-value purchases are possible to be achieved through Framework Agreements and e-Catalogues. All public sector purchases can be traced within the system.
  • Transparency in monitoring public expenditure information: public can easily access and "have a say" in public sector purchases.
  • Automated evaluation mechanism in the e-Awarding module, where tenders can be fully evaluated by the system provided that they comply with pre-defined tender templates.
  • The system operates as a portal that can accommodate the needs of any Contracting Authority (CA), as such could be used by non-domestic CAs.
  • NO geographic limitation as regards the use the system by Economic Operators.

 

Lessons Learnt:

  • The technical specifications for the project have been based to a large extend to the Functional Requirements on Public Procurement documents disseminated by the EC in 2004. As such, these documents have not only provided a good starting point for the specifications of the e-Procurement system in Cyprus, but also proved that similar initiatives by the EC can significantly assist Member States in designing ICT systems in line with EC Directives/Regulations. Additionally, since, it is of paramount importance to correctly assess and take into consideration, the environment within which every ICT system will be put in operation, stakeholders identified in the Public Procurement cycle in Cyprus have been early involved in the process to shape the requirements to fit the case of Cyprus. In brief, during the project, it has been confirmed that the majority of rules/regulations described in the EC Directives (2004/17/EC and 2004/18/EC regulating Public Procurement procedures in the European Countries) can be implemented in an ICT system that controls and guides users on the procedures/actions to be performed for conducting public procurement competitions, without sacrificing each member state specificities that would have a negative impact on the final outcome.
  • Furthermore, it has been made clear that in order for an electronic system to be fast and widely adopted by the public procurement community, effort should be dedicated in aspects related to change management, promotion and dissemination of results. These aspects play a major role for building trust and getting end-users (Contracting Authority users and Economic Operator users) familiarized to the concepts of electronic public procurement.
  • The introduction, application and deployment of eProcurement (as is the case with any other ICT system) forms a constantly evolving and adopting living entity. Maintaining an eProcurement System up to date, efficient and effective is an ongoing task that requires continuous monitoring, testing and adjusting. Listening to the end users is imperative and trying to keep everybody satisfied might prove a difficult undertaking.
5. e-Government Interoperability
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This indicator reveals the degree of interoperability that reaches the final recipients of public services, aka citizens and businesses, in terms of fully automated and proactive service delivery. The indicator is based on the “Full Online Availability” benchmark introduced by Capgmenini to assess the 20 basic services (12 services for citizens and 8 services for businesses) against the fourth and fifth stages of the 5-stage maturity model, where stage 4 (transaction) corresponds to full electronic case handling, requiring no other formal procedure from the applicant via “paperwork”, and stage 5 (targetisation) provides an indication of the extent, by which front- and back-offices are integrated, data is reused and services are delivered proactively. The reference year is also provided.

5.1. Interoperability Level of core e-Government services to citizens / businesses 55.0%
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The term “Connected Government” is used in the e-Government Survey of the United Nations (2008) within the frame of the Web Measure Index in order to describe the situation in which governments transform themselves into a connected entity that responds to the needs of its citizens by developing an integrated back office infrastructure. In this context, the indicator “Connected Government Status” expresses the percentage of services, which are provided in Stage V “Connected”, based on the information on Service Delivery by Stages 2008, included in the e-Government Survey as well. The reference year is also provided.

5.2. Connected Government Status 1.4%
6. e-Business Interoperability
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Focusing on a typical aspect of the enterprise sector’s operation i.e. information sharing, this metric provides an indication of the intra-organizational integration level that characterizes the latter in terms of the percentage of enterprises in which information on sales or on purchases is shared electronically among the different internal functions (e.g. management of inventory levels, accounting, production or services management, distribution management etc.). All enterprises which use a computer with 10 or more persons employed are included (without financial sector). The year of the data is also provided.

6.1. Intra-organizational Integration Level 57.0%
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The cross-organization integration level of the enterprise sector is expressed as the percentage of enterprises that use automated data exchange between their own and other ICT systems outside the enterprise group. All enterprises which use a computer with 10 or more persons employed are included (without financial sector). The year of the data is also provided.

6.2. Cross-organization Integration Level 21.0%
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This indicator goes beyond the aspect of information exchange and investigates the cross-organization application-to-application integration level in the enterprise sector, based on the percentage of enterprises, whose business processes are automatically linked to those of their suppliers and/or customers. All enterprises which use a computer with 10 or more persons employed are included (without financial sector). The year of the data is also provided.

6.3. Cross-organization Application-to-Application Integration Level 8.0%
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Considering e-Invoicing as another aspect of e-Business Interoperability, this metric measures the percentage of enterprises that send and/or receive electronic invoices. All enterprises which use a computer with 10 or more persons employed are included (without financial sector). The year of the data is also provided.

6.4. e-Invoicing Status 10.0%
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This indicator examines the B2B data standards usage measuring the percentage of companies that use EDI-based, XML-based, propietary or other technical standards. The year of the data is also provided.

6.5. B2B Data Standards Usage
6.5.1. EDI-based standards Not available
6.5.2. XML-based standards Not available
6.5.3. Proprietary standards Not available
6.5.4. other technical standards Not available
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Interoperability awareness is examined in terms of the percentage of companies saying that interoperability is important for e-business within their sector, between sectors or for producing or providing products and services The year of the data is also provided.

6.6. Interoperability Awareness
6.6.1. Within their sector Not available
6.6.2. Between sectors Not available
6.6.3. For producing or providing products and services Not available