GCloud doing sensible things, but needs tweaking

Filed under: Local Government,Standards,Technology — lenand @ 11:56 am
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A recent Cabinet Office presentation of the GCloud to SOCITM London had some good news, and some things to do better.

Good:  There are lots more suppliers and the offerings are much simpler, and less costly to purchase.  They are preparing the terms and conditions for the next round and consulting on changes that make sense.  Suppliers in the audience pressed there need for longer contracts; even two years is not enough for the more complex requirements of information sharing in local government.

Must do better:  The presentation did not mention standards.  The messages from LeGSB are not getting through. Virtually the whole audience thought there was room for suppliers to say which interoperability standards they would use. It is the only way to develop multi-agency services from bottom-up.

Will we see the resurgence of the e-GIF and LGIP (Local Government Integration Practice)?

Will we advance as far as India?

Will Liam Maxwell’s targets for Open Standards be met?


IG Assets: Data Quality and ISO 8000

Filed under: Assets,Governance,Standards — lenand @ 11:25 pm
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 “Without trusted information government would have to exist on hunch and guesswork.”

The quotation above came from the Eurim report on “Improving the Evidence Base“.  It’s another way of saying that data quality matters.  Quality is an attribute of information assets, a primary dimension in the 7 Dimensional Information Governance framework (7DIG).  The Audit Commission provide the dimensions of data quality as:

  • Accuracy – accurate enough for the intended purpose.
  • Validity – recorded and used incompliance with relevant requirements.
  • Reliability –  reflect stable and consistent data collection processes across collection points and over time.
  • Timeliness – captured as quickly as possible after the event or activity and made available within a reasonable period of time.
  • Relevance – relevant to the purposes for which it is to be used.
  • Completeness – data requirements should be clearly specified based on the information needs of the body, and data collection processes matched to these requirements.

The now defunct Data Connects Forum also commissioned an excellent report on Data Quality Management. It has a framework which inspired the 7DIG framework.  A lot of work went into developing the detailed recommendations and supporting software tools.  However, as with the Eurim report, it is the work of a small group of professionals.  Neither refer to nor comply with any international standard.  ISO standards are produced by a wider body of people over long consultation period.  ISO standards have to be rigorously tested.

ISO 8000 is the Emerging Standard for Data Quality.  It has been many years in gestation with ISO TC184/SC4, the ISO subcommittee that looks after industrial data. However, it has been recognised from the start that this standard could have a much wider usage.  Should the UK Public Sector be interested?  Perhaps the Cabinet Office and LeGSB should keep an eye on progress, in case it could help to improve the quality of shared data.


Political traction for standards

Filed under: Governance,Standards — lenand @ 10:50 am
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Good news stories don’t attract much interest, but there is one unfolding about standards in the public sector.  The Local Government e-Standards Body (LeGSB) has obtained funding for this year from a number of central government departments.  Perhaps Martha Lane Fox’s message has filtered through the political process.

There’s a portfolio of about ten projects.  Some are having a significant impact in the way that central government can and should interoperate with local government ICT.

Quarkside’s main interest is the developing generic model for all public sector service interactions.  The guiding principle is that common language and understanding will enable reuse of data, services and solutions – reducing the resources required to share data more effectively between the Government and other public sector agencies.  It’s all about interoperability between systems.  However, the project cannot be accused of using accessible language in its title, “Upper Ontology for Operational Service Delivery“.  

The highest level for standards is the International Standards Organisation (ISO).  As it happens, ISO 18876 is the International Standard that establishes an architecture, a methodology, and other specifications for integrating industrial data for exchange, access, and sharing.

It supports:

  • data sharing and data integration;
  • specification of mappings between models;
  • and data transformation.

LeGSB is not in the market for creating standards – only for helping organisations to grab the benefits that are on the table.  Perhaps ISO 18876 will find its place in helping to arbitrate in some complex areas of interoperability, eg it provides a logical basis for Identity Management not requiring a Unique Identifier (UID).


Modeling Concepts: Free software

Filed under: Privacy,Strategy,Technology — lenand @ 11:16 am
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The ESD Business Model for public sector activity has been around for a few years now.

ESD model

It has a lot of valuable content but it could be made more accessible and dynamic. There is some free software that would help; Cmap. It has been around for many years and seems to have matured and stabilised. It allows clicking down to more detailed models and documentation references.

Although it is called Concept Modelling – it does work for business models and generic ontologies. It is even self-defining, see the home page of the Institute of Human and Machine Cognition.

If it were to be adopted as a standard by the ESD Toolkit and LeGSB, levels of common understanding should increase. Give it a try – it’s easier than Powerpoint or Visio for this task.


Framework for Change: Technology Enabled

Filed under: Governance,Outcomes,Process,Standards — lenand @ 11:53 am
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The public sector can now start making use of a useful standard has crept out of the OASIS (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards).  The title is not in fashion,  “Transformational Government Framework Primer Version 1.0”, and hides that it can help technology­‐enabled change.

This single diagram shows all that most people need to know.

TGF Diagram

TGF Diagram

It may not be perfect in every case, but it is a far better starting point than the blank piece of paper that initiates most shared service programmes.  Not only does it comply with Quarkside’s Process, Governance and Technology philosophy, it highlights the need for critical success factors (CSFs).  CSFs are a fundamental part of the framework roadmap already published by Quarkside.

Give it a try – or just publicise its existence.  Perhaps LeGSB has a role to play.

Thanks to Mick Pythian for this link

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