Interoperability Indicators

This section presents the list of indicators composing the Interoperability Barometer, classified in six thematic categories. Brief descriptions of the indicators (and potential range of values) are provided if necessary.

1. Interoperability as a strategic goal

1.1. Strategic Priority on Interoperability

Addressing interoperability issues at the policy level is an important precursor for a country’s engaging in interoperability activities and constitutes the first substantial formal step in the quest for managing this utility-like capability, even if there are several ad-hoc initiatives to be reported. As a result, 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.

1.2. National Interoperability Strategy Status

This indicator draws its inspiration from the European Interoperability Strategy – EIS, which is an action plan that addresses cross-border and cross-sectoral interoperability with the aim of facilitating the implementation of EU policies, and investigates therefore the existence of a similar action plan at national level. Such an action plan 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”.

2. National Interoperability Frameworks

2.1. National Interoperability Framework Status

Interoperability Frameworks appear as the instruments for a common approach to interoperability for organizations wishing to interact with each other. Within their scope and audience they specify a common vocabulary, concepts, principles, policies, guidelines, recommendations and practices, and form the basis for the assessment and selection of standards and technical specifications. 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. Such frameworks outline the essential prerequisites for joined-up and web-enabled e-government and provide the necessary methodological support to an increasing number of projects related to the interoperability of information systems, in order to better manage their complexity and risk and to ensure that they will deliver the promised added value. 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.

2.1.1. Title

                   

2.1.2. Version

  

2.1.3. Release Date

   

2.1.4. Focus / Scope

   

2.1.5. Audience

  

2.1.6. Status

  

2.1.7. Responsible Agency

  

2.2. Compatibility of National Interoperability Framework with the European Interoperability Framework

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 idea is that, in the diversified forest of interoperability frameworks that have been produced as a result of the diverse needs and studies of different nations and organizations, cross-border interoperability and collaboration is not only a challenge in terms of information system interoperability but also a challenge in the way interoperability frameworks are compatible with each other, and can thereby serve as a vehicle for communication between the parties involved in cross-border interoperability collaborations. As a result, this indicator uses the EIF as a reference point and examines the compatibility of National Interoperability Frameworks with the latter. 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.

3. Interoperability Projects and Activities

3.1. Number of interoperability-related projects of local or national scope

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 that have been funded from national resources, EC funding or donor funding. These are mainly e-Government projects, where interconnection, integration or interoperability have a central role, and target indicatively the development of portals/gateways to serve as single entry points to information and services, the implementation of integrated information systems, the development of unified registries and databases, as well as the establishment of country-wide infrastructures, e.g. networks, offering communication, interconnection of state-administrative resources and G2G/G2B/G2C services. 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

 

3.2. Number of EU-funded interoperability-related projects

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. The latter are taken as a proxy for a country’s willingness to link up with other countries and to support the promotion of interoperability at cross-border level or reveal the maturity level of interoperability-related research conducted within its borders. 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

 

4. National Interoperability Practices

4.1. Number of Interoperability Cases with Good Practice Label

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. This indicator is particularly important as it reveals the country’s progress towards the achievement of interoperability as a result of the initiatives and activities undertaken. Values:

  • Non-existent: no cases
  • Low: 1-5 cases
  • Medium: 6-20 cases
  • High: over 20 cases

 

4.2. Best Interoperability Practice

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.

4.2.1. Title

  

4.2.2. Description

   

4.2.3. Status

          

4.2.4. Indicative interoperability aspects covered

    

4.2.5. Impact

Brief description of benefits, reusable components, patterns and lessons learnt from the particular IOP case.

5. e-Government Interoperability

5.1. Interoperability Level of core e-Government services to citizens / businesses

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.

5.2. Connected Government Status

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.

6. e-Business Interoperability

6.1. Intra-organizational Integration Level

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.

6.2. Cross-organization Integration Level

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.

6.3. Cross-organization Application-to-Application Integration Level

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.

6.4. e-Invoicing Status

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.

6.5. B2B Data Standards Usage

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.

6.6. Interoperability Awareness

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.