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2. Strategic evolution model of the information system of the public administration

The Strategic evolution model of the public administration information system (Hereinafter referred to as “Strategic Model”) [8] constitutes the framework for incorporating and making operational the projects, platforms and programs described in the document Strategy for Digital Growth 2014-2020 which sets out the strategic requirements to be met, namely:

  • Facilitating the coordination of all digital transformation operations and the start of a centralisation of programming and public spending on the subject;
  • Considering the principle of “digital by definition” (digital first) as a priority, designing and implementing services for citizens, starting with the use of digital technologies;
  • Facilitating the modernisation of the Public Administration starting from the processes, overcoming the logic of the technical rules and rigid guidelines issued by law. They must be dynamic and modern and point to the centrality of the experience and needs of the users;
  • Adopting an architectural approach based on the separation of back end and front end, with open logic and public standards that guarantee other players, both public and private, accessibility to and maximum interoperability with data and services;
  • Promoting solutions to stimulate cost reduction and improve the quality of services, including remuneration mechanisms that can also encourage vendors to pursue ever more innovative forms of composition, delivery and use of services.

The Digital Growth Strategy highlights the need for a radical redesign of the strategy for designing, managing and delivering public utilities in the network, which includes, inter alia, the adoption of multi-level architectures (multi-layer architecture) and the principles that have determined the affirmation of the business model of the so-called API economy.

The Strategic Model was therefore designed to overcome the “silos” approach historically adopted by the Public Administration and to facilitate the implementation of a true Public Administration Information System (hereinafter “PA Information System”) that:

  • Considers the needs of citizens and businesses as a starting point for the identification and implementation of modern and innovative digital services (Front office services);
  • Uniforms and rationalises the infrastructures and IT services used by the Public Administration (Back office services);
  • Favours the creation of a new market for those private companies that will be able to operate in an agile manner in a context no longer based on large monolithic and isolated projects but on value-added services. These services will have to (i) comply with the guidelines of the Three-Year Plan, (ii) be always available on mobile devices (the first mobile approach), and (iii) be built with secure, scalable, highly reliable, application-based (API) and clearly defined architecture;
  • Emphasise existing Public Administration resources in order to safeguard the investments already made, including by encouraging and creating conditions for reuse of existing software and existing interfaces;
  • Not dispose of experience gained in the country’s previous digitisation projects with the aim of modelling success stories (best practice) and not repeat mistakes made in the past;
  • Improve security thanks to a multilevel architecture that ensures separation between back end and front end and allows access to back-ends only in a controlled manner and through standard APIs;
  • Promote the implementation of new services according to the subsidiarity principle (e.g. through API interactions), reducing implementation times and economic commitments for administrations both in development and in the process upgrading;
  • Facilitate control over expenditure on digital technology for the public administration by integrating mechanisms for measuring the progress of planned activities (e.g. through shared project management systems);
  • Enable data-driven policies for planning future activities, based on optimising spending and investment.

2.1. Map of the Strategic Model

The Strategic Model can be schematically represented by the graphic map illustrated in Figure 3.

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Fig. 2.1 Figure 3 - Map of the Strategic Evolution Model of the PA Information System

It is important to point out that Map is to be understood as the representation of macro areas that aggregate the homogeneous elements that are the subject of the Plan and not as strata of a stack architectural model ().

Referring to the Map:

  • The Tools for the generation and diffusion of digital services (i) define common rules for the design of interfaces, services and content, improving navigation and making it consistent with the experience of citizens and businesses, (ii) facilitate the design, implementation and dissemination of digital services, (iii) define guidelines and development kits, (iv) provide for the creation of a community of developers, designers, and anyone who wants to exchange information, collaborate and participate;

  • the Ecosystems are the policy sectors or areas where public administration takes action: from health to agriculture, from school to cultural heritage, and so on. Each ecosystem can include several domains, involving public bodies and organisations, starting from the ministries of reference, but it can also include private individuals working in the same area of ​​interest and, for various reasons, carrying out important functions within the ecosystem itself. For example, the “Public Finance” ecosystem includes the Revenue Agency, the Regions, the Financial Police and, on the other hand, private entities, accountants, CAFs, fiscal practitioners, and so on. Ecosystems involve stakeholders interacting to achieve common goals through (i) sharing needs and operational modes, (ii) sharing different skills, (iii) planning and implementing ICT projects;

  • The Interoperability model defines the mechanisms that facilitate and ensure correct interaction between the players in the system (citizens, businesses and public administrations), promoting transparent sharing of data, information, platforms and services. The Interoperability Model is therefore composed of elements such as guidelines, technological standards and interoperability profiles that each Public Administration will have to follow in order to ensure the interoperability of its systems with those of other parties for the overall implementation of the PA Information System;

  • The Intangible infrastructures and the *Data & Analytics Framework* (DAF) of the PA encourage the centralisation and rationalisation of process and data management systems, reducing the fragmentation of operations.

    In particular, Intangible Infrastructures facilitate, standardise and rationalise the creation of ICT services and consist of Enabling platforms and PA Data:

    • The Enabling platforms cover all such infrastructure services
      (e.g. Identification Service, Payment Service, ANPR) that on the one hand facilitate and reduce costs for the creation of new services; on the other, standardise the tools used by end users during their interaction with the Public Administration. They also cover all those generic application solutions that can be shared by public administrations (e.g. salary management system);
    • With regard to the PA Data the following can be distinguished:
      the databases of national interest, the open data, and controlled vocabulary. The latter is a repository that does not yet exist but is considered necessary to create and / or maintain all those fundamental resources for the full enhancement of the public information assets of the Public Administration.

    The Data & Analytics Framework Is a centralised environment that acquires and make more usable public data of interest and has the objective of (i) making easier and less onerous the interoperability of public data between PAs and the distribution and standardisation of open data and (ii) allowing the study of the underlying phenomena of public data. In addition, the Framework allows the development of data applications, software applications that perform more or less complex operations, from simple data retrieval to techniques of machine learning, and puts the analyses generated at the disposal of an end user or another application;

  • The Physical infrastructures aim to increase security, reduce the cost of technological infrastructure and improve the quality of public administration software services through rationalisation of Data centers, the systematic adoption of the cloud pardigm and the development of connectivity, with particular reference to the Internet network in public places and in the offices of the Public Administration;

  • Security includes (i) activities to regulate cyber security in the PA for the Assessment test and (ii) CERT-PA as an operational tool to support the adoption of the correct levels of security in the Public Administration. All other aspects that help secure and make information systems reliable, such as accreditation and supervision, as well as directional activities and confidentiality-related instrumentation are also identified.

  • The Management of change is a component designed to meet the needs of coordinating, managing and monitoring functional activities for the Plan’s development. It is crosswise to other components and aggregates all lines of action, governance and support to PA involved in the implementation of the Plan.

Figure 4 detail as just explained.

The purpose of the map is to:

  • Consolidate the long-term vision for the evolution of PA’s information systems;
  • Represent in a coherent and concise manner all ongoing initiatives on the digital innovation of the Italian PA;
  • Provide a framework for identifying and steering new strategic actions;
  • Enable the definition of a detailed operational plan;
  • Identify the subjects involved in the implementation of the strategy and their responsibility;
  • Allow multi-level continuous monitoring of the target implementation status.

The components of the map will be described in more detail in Part Two of the Plan.

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Fig. 2.2 Figure 4 - PA Information System’s Strategic Evolution Model Detail Map

Notes

[8]Deliberated by the AgID Address Committee on 04/02/2016