Interoperability is a more abstract goal than integration. Interoperability means that the recipient can extract the required information from the sender's document even if the sender's implementation is not immediately compatible with recipient's business systems.
Information Systems for eGovernment
The word "interoperable" also implies that one system performs an operation on behalf of another system . In literature there are many definitions of interoperability. Interoperability is usually defined as the ability of two or more systems or components to exchange and use information , , . This approach allows them to use the same information model without any constraints on their implementation of it. Interoperability can occur in various organizational environments.
An interoperability can be defined as the ability of business processes as well as enterprise software and applications to interact. This includes the business environment and business processes on the business layer, the organizational roles, skills and competencies of employees and knowledge assets on the knowledge layer, and applications, data and communication components on the ICT layer.
According to Backlund et al. Interoperability should be analysed from an enterprise view i. Bailey adds that interoperability accepts heterogeneity of technologies while allowing users to work together . The difficulty of interoperability with respect to interconnection agreements follows from the definition.
Since interoperability is defined at the application layer and networks are interconnected at the Internet protocol layer, different interconnection architectures may affect interoperability differently.
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These organizations do not have any interaction and do not have common goals or purpose, but they may be required to interoperate in some scenario. According to Miller, interoperability is an ongoing process of ensuring that the systems, procedures and cultures of an organization are managed in such a way as to maximise opportunities for exchange and re-use of information, whether internally or externally .
Chaari et al. Ruokolainen et al. Interoperability is a requirement inside a system for allowing interaction or composition of its components, but also for the system itself, when it needs to be sufficiently flexible to exchange information with another system, or if it needs to be open to new components. In e-Government interoperability can be considered on:. A case study on interoperability, which assumes to be tremendous success of collaborative standardization efforts covers project of e-Passport implementation . Core requirements for e-Passport are as follows:.
So many parties are involved in the project i. There is also a plan to utilize Machine Readable Travel Document Doc , developed by Technical Advisory Group, with utilization of standardized data format holders' identification, photograph that can be read with Optical Character Reader, deployed by States. In result of the project e-Passport solutions are provided:. However, generally, the process of interoperability development for e-Government is realized in different ways in many countries.
Standardization includes doing certain key things in a uniform way. Standardization may occur in a multitude of forms. Technical standards are easier to specify in a quantitative manner than its behavioural counterparts. Technical reference standards describe a reference point such as currencies, weights or measures of materials and products.
Behavioural reference standards are exemplified by precedents in law and accreditation of institutions. Standards may arise in a number of ways . Market-mediated or de facto standards are determined by market forces. De facto standardization may occur in markets with sponsored or non-sponsored technologies.
The class of sponsored technologies implies that each competing technology is held by a small number of firms; there by means of product pre-announcements a network sponsor tries to slow down the growth of the rivals' networks and standards implementations. As an alternative to the market mechanism, standards may be enforced by the government.
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These so called de jure standards can be classified into two ideal types, the bureaucracy and the committee solution. The first type refers to the situation where standards are formulated and enforced by governmental agencies. In the case of the committee solution, the involved parties discuss over the standard and the negotiated standard is enforced by the government.
These committees may consist of standardization bodies and of stakeholders such as single firms, consumer and industry organizations. Committee standards may be based on voluntary cooperation i. There is a distinguishing between two different regimes of standardization . Whereas the first regime assumes that firms compete within a joint network intra-technology competition , the second regime refers to standardization by means of blockaded or deterred entry of a rival technology inter-technology competition.
Langenberg  considers the following models:. Standardization process is exogenous. Consumers' expectations determine evolution of standards. Generally standardization includes operating in a uniform way. Compatibility and associated role of standards are a core Information Systems ISs research domain.
Since standards constitute networks, standardization is a predominant issue in IS and economic research. Networks as a widespread metaphor describe structures of interrelated elements. Inherent in standards, the commonality property deriving from the need for compatibility implies coordination problems. From a theoretical perspective, the existence of network effects as a form of externality that is often associated with communication standards renders efficient neo-classical solutions improbable.
The externality property deriving from network effects makes standardization problems somewhat complex and interesting to solve. Compatibility is a technological property of system components enabling two components to work, act or go together. Communication between system elements is characterized by the output of one system becoming the input of another while this sending and receiving of content requires a connection between compatible system elements that is provided for by interfaces.
Compatibility is different from interoperability. As it was said above, interoperability is the ability of two or more systems computers, communication devices, databases, networks or other information technologies to interact with one another and exchange data according to a prescribed method in order to achieve predictable results.
Interoperability was seen to be key in order for the market to progress. This was seen to have two stages; the first stage was coexistence between equipment. The second stage was full interworking interoperability , between applications and between different manufacturers' equipment.
Interoperability is a way to make services available to many different users in different business scenarios and business models . This encourages the creation of open source software. Interoperability demands open standards. Interorganizational information systems can only work if they are able to communicate and work with other such systems and interact with people. This requirement is called interoperability and it can only be met if communication standards are applied. A standard-based technology platform allows partners to execute a traditional business function in a digitally enhanced way.
A common information systems platform then, basically, is a set of standards that allows network participants to communicate and conduct business process electronically. Interoperability requires standardization in four dimensions: technology, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics . Technology standards concern middleware, network protocols, security protocols and the like.
Normally, commonly acceptable data structures are chosen to represent well-known constructs. Semantic interoperability is of major importance to e-Business integration. Pragmatic standards are agreements on practices and protocols triggered by specific messages, such as orders and delivery specifications. The paper covers analysis of proposed strategy included in governmental documents for interoperability implementation for e-Government in different countries i.
Collectively, the reference models comprise a framework for describing important elements of the FEA in a common and consistent way. Through the use of the common framework and vocabulary, IT portfolios can be better managed and leveraged across the federal government.
This framework introduces the purposes and structures of the five FEA reference models:. According to the FEA model interoperability defines the capabilities of discovering and sharing data and services across disparate systems and vendors. Aligning agency capital investments to the standardized vocabulary, allowing interagency discovery, collaboration and interoperability, agencies and the federal government will benefit from economies of scale by identifying and reusing the best solutions and technologies to support their business functions, mission, and target architecture.
The e-PING architecture, for the purpose of the definition of standards, was segmented in five parts:.
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The segment includes the standards for government subject matters and metadata, and encompasses the following components: data exchange language, data transformation language, definition of data to be exchanged, catalogue of data standards, list of government subject matters, standardized metadata for electronic government. The e-PING architecture has the purpose of being the interoperability paradigm for the federal government, initially within the Executive Board.
The management of e-PING covers:. Part 1 focuses on the standards that make up the e-GIF. The intended audience for this section includes state sector information technology strategists, technical analysts, and programme and project managers. Part 2 outlines the policy behind the e-GIF and its development. The intended audience for this section comprises: policy analysts, advisors, business analysts, anyone involved with interoperability strategy and projects.
Part 3 contains resources related to the e-GIF. The intended audience for this section is all readers of the e-GIF.