An Interoperability Point of View
Claudio Biancalana
Department of Computer Science and Automation
Artificial Intelligence Laboratory
Roma Tre University
Via Della Vasca Navale, 79, 00146 Rome, Italy
Francesco Saverio Profiti, Fabio Raimondi
LAit S.p.A.
Via Adelaide Bono Cairoli 68, 00145, Roma
Extended government, Maturity model, Interoperability, eGovernment, Knowledge management system.
The widespread diffusion witnessed by e-Government services in recent years, has allowed the realization
of important cases of administrative simplification, mainly due to the direct interaction between informative
systems of administrations in A2A modality. In the above scenario, a great importance is assumed by the
concept of interoperability, intended as the set of technical rules necessary to define a common interface
between the administrations, which have the need to exchange information in A2A modality, and which allow
to protect the technological choices already in existence, and the organizational autonomy. The aim of the
present paper is to illustrate the state of the art of the project initiatives prompted by the Regione Lazio,
relatively to interoperability, with particular reference to the concept of Extended Government. Such concept
finds its foundation in the definition of Extended Enterprise. It has been massively used in project initiatives of
the Region, with the aim of reusing the scientific research results in such field, mainly relatively to the design
and realization of Knowledge Management Systems.
In the late ’90s, the concept of Virtual Enterprise (VE)
for enterprise organizational models was introduced,
where every business unit organization is connected
to each other through a data transmission network,
in order to explore market opportunities (Fabian and
Plesca, 2007) (Strader et al., 1998) (Goldman et al.,
1995) (Camarinha-Matos and Afsarmanesh, 1999)
(Sieber and Griese, 1997) (Larsen and McInerney,
2002) (Chalmeta and Grangel, 2003) and cooperate,
on a temporary basis, to better respond to business
opportunities. In other words, a Virtual Enterprise
can be seen as a heterogeneous network for both en-
terprises and individuals with integrated cooperation,
using ICT technologies and protocols for a specific
business process.
Over the years, a second model has been devel-
oped, substantially similar but based on more sta-
ble and long-term oriented agreements: this is the
Extended Enterprise (EE) (Sch
onsleben and B
1998) (Oliveira et al., 2003) model. One of the most
critic and important aspects in the implementation of
an EE organization model is the single participant
IT assets integration, realizing inter-organization pro-
cesses (B2B) with knowledge sharing. To such aim,
in literature, several frameworks are diffused: from
SOA and EDA model for IT infrastructures integra-
tion to XML-based outlines (like RosettaNet) for B2B
processes specifications, to models implementing in-
tegrated Knowledge Management Systems (KMS). In
our opinion, an organization model similar to EE has
been also diffused to the Government level and can be
recognized in initiatives such as IDABC
, SPCoop
, iLazio2010
. These initiatives are designed
Centro Nazionale per l’Informatica nella pubblica am-
ministrazione - http://www.cnipa.gov.it/
Biancalana C., Saverio Profiti F. and Raimondi F.
EXTENDED GOVERNMENT - An Interoperability Point of View.
DOI: 10.5220/0001822805130520
In Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Web Information Systems and Technologies (WEBIST 2009), page
ISBN: 978-989-8111-81-4
2009 by SCITEPRESS – Science and Technology Publications, Lda. All rights reserved
to realize the Administration to Administration (A2A)
and Administration to Business (A2B) processes and
are based on stable and deeply defined agreements.
Unlike the EE model, however, there is no focaliza-
tion on business opportunity aspects but on a strong
guideline for the simplification and the effectiveness
of eGovernment Services. In addition, the need to
handle and query unstructured information has re-
sulted in the gradual awareness of the need to adopt
KMS based on semantic and user-modeling functions.
This high degree of similarity allows us to introduce a
new definition to be used for reference to the concepts
described so far: we will speak about Extended Gov-
ernment (EG) as a Public Administration context-
oriented organization model of EE type. Hence, the
goals of this article are:
more detailed definition of the concept of Ex-
tended Governement;
description of the initiatives started up by LAit
S.p.A. and Regione Lazio in the fields of eGovern-
ment and interoperability in terms of EG model;
description of future developments, with particu-
lar reference to the design of a KMS, whose de-
velopment is strongly based on the parallelism be-
tween EE and EG model and on deep research in
the field of EE.
We refer to Extended Government (EG) as an in-
tegrated unit of organizations, agreements, protocols
and ICT resources able to support Public Administra-
tion to deploy a context-oriented model to build Ad-
ministration to Administration (A2A) and Adminis-
tration to Business (A2B) scenarios, to simplify and to
improve the effectiveness of eGovernment Services.
By analogy with EE organization model, we can de-
fine main EG model features as:
eGovernment Service-driven cooperation: A2A
and A2B processes are always aimed at provid-
ing electronic government services to citizens and
businesses, with the goal to simplify and make
them more efficient and effective;
Complementary: Administration exchanges with
others only correct and complete data that it owns;
Process Integration and Resource Sharing: partic-
ularly data, information and knowledge;
Interdependence: Process Integration and Re-
source Sharing is carried out according to well-
defined cooperation agreements.
In order to deploy the EG Organization Model, it
is necessary to:
define a common Governance Model through the
Administrations of all participants;
define Guide Lines for every single participant IT
assets integration. This problem is due to different
technologies used by every Administration and
the need to preserve both investments and Admin-
istration autonomy. For these reasons, it is neces-
sary to define a technological infrastructure that
guarantees interoperability regardless of the orga-
nizational structures and single participant legacy
define a Maturity Model, which is a structured
collection of elements that describe certain as-
pects of maturity in an organization, for exam-
ple to provide a way to define what improvement
means for an organization.
Regarding the first and second point, all regional
projects (see following sections) use initiatives like
IDABC, SPCOOP, Linee guida strategiche piano tri-
ennale per ICT 2009-2011 by CNIPA and ICAR as a
reference. As to the third point, we introduce a heuris-
tic Maturity Model adopted in Regione Lazio to eval-
uate maturity degree in EG model deploying.
2.1 Extended Government Maturity
Extended Government Maturity Model (ExGMM)
identifies 5 broad maturity/capability levels (see Fig-
ure 1):
Figure 1: Regione Lazio Extended Government Maturity
Level 1. Planned: In this stage an IT and Gover-
nance strategic plan are defined. Main criteria of
this level are: vision definition and need assess-
Level 2. IT Integration Infrastructure Deployed:
According to the strategic plan an IT integration
infrastructure is deployed;
WEBIST 2009 - 5th International Conference on Web Information Systems and Technologies
Figure 2: Regione Lazio EG Architecture and Governance vision.
Level 3. Institutionalized: A competence center
is enstablished with the goal to minimize the cul-
tural gap caused by the adoption of EG model and
to define all the procedures and KPIs for manage-
ment control;
Level 4. Managed: at this level, using KPI, man-
agement can effectively control the AS-IS EG
Level 5. Optimized: KPI are evaluated for model
LAit S.p.A. (as ICT in-house agency of Regione
Lazio) is implementing an interoperability architec-
ture with progressive technical and organizational
complexity levels, as shown in Figure 2. Obviously,
to make the various Level Domains (Local, Regional,
National and European) homogeneous, a good tech-
nical infrastructure is a necessary requirement. So, it
is important to transpose the National and European
Standards and Guidelines in projects and activities,
through a concerted organizational and technical gov-
ernance. By limiting the analysis to a mainly techni-
cal point of view, we will speak about the state of the
art of architecture under development for the Regione
Lazio, with a bottom-up approach, starting with the
Regional Domain Level up to European Domain.
In order to achieve the complete software interoper-
ability requested by CNIPA specification, the start-
ing point is the deployment of SOA/EDA architec-
ture. The Regione Lazio solution can be detailed in
the following figure:
Figure 3: Regione Lazio EG IT infrastructure.
4.1 Porta di Dominio Regione Lazio
The first purpose of Regione Lazio infrastructure is
to decouple external resources from heterogeneous
hardware and software within Regional Domain (such
as legacy systems). The module Porta di Dominio Re-
gione Lazio (PDD-RL) represents the only point of
access for external resources (obtained by the exter-
nals PDD) and internal ones (obtained by Regional
Systems), using Web Services consolidated technol-
ogy, and implementing shared policies for security,
logging and tracing, according to SPCOOP guidelines
issued by CNIPA (see footnote 2).
EXTENDED GOVERNMENT - An Interoperability Point of View
4.2 Enterprise Service Bus
Once the separation of external from internal re-
sources is completed with PDD-RL, the next step is
to make the internal domain uniform, with an en-
terprise middleware that implements standardized in-
terfaces for communication, connectivity, transforma-
tion, portability and security between various hetero-
geneous systems [11]. This is the task of the Enter-
prise Service Bus (ESB) module, which is the inte-
gration layer between existing internal IT assets of
Regione Lazio Information Systems used to publish
data for G2G and G2B processes on open standards,
particularly Web Services and WS-* standards. Using
ESB as integration layer it is possible to implement
synchronous and asynchronous integration patterns.
For this reasons, we can consider ESB as the entry
point for SOA/EDA deployment in Regione Lazio.
4.3 Services Orchestrator
Orchestration consists of composing multiple services
in order to create a new composite service. In our
architecture, this component allows Services Orches-
tration: it consists of a Workflow Engine that can call
and execute functions provided by the single services
published on the ESB. The Workflow Engine adopts
WS-BPEL standard to synchronize the interactions
among different services: Business Process Execution
Language (WS-BPEL) provides a standard way of de-
scribing business processes that are based on Web ser-
4.4 Business Activity Monitoring
The Business Activity Monitoring (BAM) module has
the responsibility to monitor, in real-time mode, all
business process by user-defined Key Process Indi-
cator (KPI). The BAM module is oriented to man-
agers and business analysts, giving them useful tools
to improve decision-making and optimize processes
and e-services. This module is integrated with ESB
and Service Orchestrator and can be operated through
an user-friendly interface.
4.5 Access & Single Sign on Security
Due to the complexity of the whole system, security
side is crucial. So, the ASSO Security Layer was de-
signed to achieve single access point for Regional e-
Services and to support federated authentication re-
quest in the inter-regional domain. The layer of re-
gional security has the priority to consolidate the sys-
tem of Identity and Access Management, by making
available authentication services through various au-
thentication mechanisms (i.e. userid/password, smart
card, etc.) and through the use of protocols such as
WSS (security token X.509), SAML2.0 and XACML.
The best solution spotted on the open source initia-
tives was identified on OpenSSO, which allows the
use of open standards in open source, and ensures
maximum interoperability, also in accordance with
the specifications set by the ICAR project (see below).
4.6 SOA Competence Center
The SOA Competence Center is the focal point for
aspects of infrastructure SOA and EDA, and is the
benchmark for training to local and regional author-
ities on these issues. The competence center also
has the task to organize and implement regional e-
services within the infrastructure as well as maintain
and upgrade the infrastructure. Using the tools de-
scribed above (ESB, Service Orchestrator, BAM), the
Competence Center supports local authorities to de-
fine business goals, to model business processes and
to implement e-services.
4.7 Digital Identity Service Center
The Digital Identity Service Center manages flows as-
sociated with the life cycle of regional identity. Its a
reference point for the insertion, update and deletion
of digital identity and it is the organizational basis for
federated identity management.
Regione Lazio is involved in ICAR project, namely
Interoperabilita’ e Cooperazione Applicativa tra le
Regioni (System for e-Enabled cooperation among
Regional, Local and National Administrations in
Italy). ICAR is present in the European database of
best practices of e-government (e-practice.eu ), and
is setting up and testing the shared technical infras-
tructure for applications cooperation among Italian
regional authorities, following the national standards
defined for development of the so-called Sistema Pub-
blico di Connettivit e Cooperazione, SPCoop (Public
Connectivity and Cooperation System). ICAR intro-
duced the concept of SPCoop private network, an in-
tranet of public regional administrations that have ar-
ranged inter-PA processes for organizational reasons,
according to SPCoop guidelines.
WEBIST 2009 - 5th International Conference on Web Information Systems and Technologies
5.1 Nica
Because of the need to interconnect the various SP-
Coop Private Networks while ensuring adherence to
the SPCoop specifications also in communications
between parties belonging to different networks, a
new infrastructural element, called Nodo di Inter-
connessione per la Cooperazione Applicativa (NICA,
Core of Inter-regional Interoperability) was intro-
duced. Its features are similar to PDD-RL, making
it the single point of access for both the regional do-
main and another regional federated domain.
5.2 Federated Digital Identity
Normally, the systems for digital identity have a ter-
ritorial basis. This module overcomes identity do-
mains, whose distance can be bridged through a fed-
erated system. To achieve this result, open stan-
dard (SAML2.0) designing must be used and a refer-
ence implementation must be developed by the ICAR
project community, so that interoperability can be
tested in the digital representation of identity.
5.3 Architecture Deployment in Local
The resulting architecture described in the previous
paragraphs raises an issue. The architecture imple-
mented at regional level can be extended to local au-
thorities to achieve full interoperability within the re-
gional domain, but it is important to identify the best
architecture of the right size. The answer is to make
the regions the reference point of local authorities and
coordination node to other Regions. To achieve this,
the most advantageous solution is the hybrid architec-
ture, which provides the use of a PDD for local au-
thorities that can manage and use it, and PDD-RL for
all other entities.
At national level, the CNIPA issued a set of technical
documents as a reference for infrastructural e-service
development (SPCoop). These documents were writ-
ten by 120 peoples from various local and central
administration authorities, and represent Italian ref-
erence for all interoperability plans and projects.
A significant example is the ICAR project, devel-
oped by CNIPA under the second phase of Italian e-
Government, which will represent the engine of con-
vergence of regional projects of cooperation imple-
menting SPCoop. This way, the systems approach
adopted will allow a unified and integrated back office
central and local government while preserving auton-
omy,. Even on the basis of the experience and the
results of SPCoop, on February 2008 CNIPA issued
strategic lines for the period 2008-2011, providing
lines of action for the development of ICT in public
administrations. The document is the result of consul-
tation with the regions and local authorities, with ref-
erence to European framework. Among the macro ob-
jectives of e-government to improve PA performance,
interesting lines of action are the two below:
Implementation of solutions for interoperability
and integration between databases and services;
Adoption of Knowledge Management Systems
Regarding the first point, the SPCoop together
with the standardization of interchange content and
the cooperation domains, constitute a basic infrastruc-
ture for the integration of databases and government
services. To achieve this, catalogues of databases
owned by administrations should be published, in-
cluding descriptions of data and services, uniform and
comprehensive, based on ontology, defined rules for
shared reciprocal access administrations. The inte-
gration and interoperability should not involve only
information resources and information Public Central
government, but also those of local authorities, with a
multilevel governance. These national guidelines are
covered by Regional projects. Regarding the second
point, improving performance necessarily requires a
new and different way of working to provide fast and
effective answers to the new problems of society, in-
creasingly complex and rapidly evolving. We must
develop the capacity to involve all relevant actors in
this issue, to activate the right channels of commu-
nication, to acquire the necessary information to the
analysis of large quantities of unstructured documents
and stimulate the contribution and creativity of com-
munities of experts. To support this new way of work-
ing, the government should gradually adopt Knowl-
edge Management Systems (KMS) of new genera-
As described above, the Regione Lazio Infrastructure
has characteristics of flexibility, scalability and inter-
operability and uses open standards. This is important
in the medium and long term because the whole sys-
tem must progressively enter a European context that
is becoming more and more relevant. In particular,
the development of the Regione Lazio solution is safe
EXTENDED GOVERNMENT - An Interoperability Point of View
and aligned with European Interoperability Frame-
work (EIF) recommendations. This reference docu-
ment on interoperability for the IDABC programme
draws primarily the concepts of technical, organiza-
tional and semantics interoperability.
The architecture support to Extended Government de-
scribed so far is being issued in accordance with an
incremental plan. PDD in particular has already been
issued in production, while all other components are
being deploed. To give an indication about roadmap
progress in terms of Extended Maturity Model Gov-
ernment we can say that Lazio Region is located at
Level 2 of the MM.
8.1 CO System experience
Regione Lazio is committed in a national project
called Comunicazioni Obbligatorie (CO) that con-
nects Central Administrations, Regions and Provinces
by a net with the goal to replace the old modes used by
public and private employers to communicate hirings,
modifications and ends of job relationships to Cen-
tri per lImpiego (CPI), Enti Previdenziali and Minis-
tero del Lavoro (MIL). All services required for the
project were developed according to SPCOOP guide-
lines, with particular reference to the use of PDD
as WS Gateway. Regione Lazio participated in the
CO System using its PDD. In the first five months,
1.570.570 service requests reached PDD-RL, as sum-
marized in Figure 4.
8.2 Lesson Learned
Regione Lazio experience raises an issue: realization
of A2A and A2B isolated processes leads to frag-
mented knowledge and to a loss of fundamental in-
formation used to integrate management relationship
between Administration and citizens or enterprises.
For this reason, LAit S.p.A. and Regione Lazio have
planned a KMS design with basic concepts (see Sec-
tion below) inspired both to EE model and EG model,
in order to devolop research ideas in the EE field.
Industrial and research worlds are thus sharing the
same views and aims, colliding towards a new web
vision, where knowledge is no more a huge amount
of (semi)structured text but is turning into a cloud
of overlapping concepts, topics and domains. At the
same time, a better organization of the huge amount
of information erupting from the stream of available
technologies is needed. To find the way through
the plethora of information sources, differentiating
in content, presentation and accessibility, a viable
approach would be necessary to make these layers
explicit, allowing users to recognize them as sev-
eral possible manifestations of the same knowledge,
and organize them accordingly. It makes sense to
move from single (and ininteroperable) specific ser-
vices (blogs, wikis, forums, discussion groups and so
on) to huge collectors of information on a open and
global scale. Knowledge Management Systems fu-
ture (KMS, from now on) should provide the main
intellectual stream of interests around which knowl-
edge should be organized (and different services be
offered). By adopting Semantic Web standards, KMS
would be developed around ontological repositories
of conceptual knowledge, which will be used as ref-
erence vocabularies for accessing contents of feder-
ated (or simply annexed) services and (socially) book-
marked web pages. In this scenario, traditional ser-
vices will still be reusable and will coexist with their
new semantic counterparts, with the former being se-
mantically annotated with respect to the ontologies
adopted, and the latter natively supporting a seman-
tic organization of their content.
The main principles of KMS should be:
Affordable setup: no more heavy bulked Social
Networks held by major company titans. As a
normal web user can now start a forum or a blog
using third party (often free) software, he should
also be able to use a web host or a hosting service;
Accessible by (Semantic?) Search Engines: in our
vision, this is surely something related to the open
nature of KMS, but it would gain some commit-
ment from search engines, which will be able to
improve quality of searches through proper index-
ing of published semantic annotations;
Scalable open architecture: a given service may
explicitly be built upon a KMS, committing to its
ontologies and content organization. Viceversa,
in an even more open view, independent services
may be linked by a given KMS. This would allow
users to tag the content of these services accord-
ing to the oasis reference ontologies, thus easily
putting traditional (non semantic-driven) services
immediately into practice. The same would be ap-
plied to standard web pages. People could write
web pages directly connected to a KMS making
explicit reference to its vocabulary, as embedded
RDFa, or they could semantically bookmark an
WEBIST 2009 - 5th International Conference on Web Information Systems and Technologies
Figure 4: First five months CO System service requests.
external web page (or annotate part of its content)
against that same vocabulary.
One of the biggest (and most discussed) problems
in the realization of the Semantic Web was the diffi-
culty in establishing consensus on domain represen-
tations. The major concern was about the natural
resistance of companies and providers to commit to
any kind of knowledge organization which could not
reflect their inner nature and characteristics or sim-
ply properly address their specific information needs.
Also, the different cultures which must be considered
on a World Wide scale needed to be kept into ac-
count, creating another obstacle towards ontologies
seen as acceptable shared reference vocabularies in
the Semantic Web. These fears, appear, at least in
part, as dictated by and old fashioned way of thinking
about knowledge organization. Most widely adopted
ontologies contain now very simple descriptions of
very specific aspects of a domain (or of reality, in
general). These ontologies can be easily imported
in any more complex knowledge organization system,
with no fear of generating unsolvable inconsistencies,
while leaving the possibility of providing ad-hoc do-
main descriptions for addressing specific needs, by
adding arbitrary concepts and relationships to the im-
ported ones. This approach guarantees a desirable de-
gree of shareability of the collected data (at least, on
its higher-level descriptive units) while preserving the
intellectual independence in modeling specific sce-
narios and domains. Following this approach, KMS,
while allowing for ad-hoc ontologies developed for
their specific needs, should foster reuse of standard
ontologies, thus opening to external linkable services
which have been developed independently from their
suggested vocabulary, as well as enabling peer-to-
We thank the reviwers for their many helpful com-
ments. We also thank Alessandra Poggiani, Simone
Ursini, Giovanni Funaro and all LAit S.p.A. col-
Camarinha-Matos, L. M. and Afsarmanesh, H. (1999). The
virtual enterprise concept. In PRO-VE ’99: Proceed-
ings of the IFIP TC5 WG5.3 / PRODNET Working
Conference on Infrastructures for Virtual Enterprises,
pages 3–14, Deventer, The Netherlands, The Nether-
lands. Kluwer, B.V.
Chalmeta, R. and Grangel, R. (2003). Ardin extension
for virtual enterprise integration. J. Syst. Softw.,
Fabian, R. and Plesca, S. (2007). Stigmergy-based soft-
ware toolkit for virtual enterprises. In ICCOMP’07:
Proceedings of the 11th WSEAS International Confer-
ence on Computers, pages 438–441, Stevens Point,
Wisconsin, USA. World Scientific and Engineering
Academy and Society (WSEAS).
Goldman, S., Nagel, R., and Preiss, K. (1995). Agile
competitors and virtual organisations. Van Nostrand
Larsen, K. R. T. and McInerney, C. R. (2002). Prepar-
ing to work in the virtual organization. Inf. Manage.,
EXTENDED GOVERNMENT - An Interoperability Point of View
Oliveira, M., Crowcroft, J., and Slater, M. (2003). An in-
novative design approach to build virtual environment
systems. In EGVE ’03: Proceedings of the workshop
on Virtual environments 2003, pages 143–151, New
York, NY, USA. ACM.
onsleben, P. and B
uchel, A., editors (1998). Organiz-
ing the Extended Enterprise, IFIP TC5/WG5.7 Inter-
national Working Conference on Organizing the Ex-
tended Enterprise, 15-18 September 1997, Ascona,
Ticino, Switzerland, volume 116 of IFIP Conference
Proceedings. Chapman & Hall.
Sieber, P. and Griese, J. (1997). Virtual organizing as a
strategy for the ”big six” to stay competitive in a. In
HICSS ’97: Proceedings of the 30th Hawaii Inter-
national Conference on System Sciences, page 381,
Washington, DC, USA. IEEE Computer Society.
Strader, T. J., ren Lin, F., and Shaw, M. J. (1998). Simula-
tion of order fulfillment in divergent assembly supply
chains. Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Sim-
ulation, 1.
WEBIST 2009 - 5th International Conference on Web Information Systems and Technologies