Estonian Interoperability Framework X-RoadClose
Estonian Interoperability Framework X-Road
Region: Europe; Population: 1.3 million; Year started: 2001
The Estonian Interoperability Framework, called the X-Road, helped Estonia save 1407 years of working time in 2018 (up from 804 in 2017).
This started in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s: Estonia faced several challenges in economic development, overcoming legacy issues and securing a place in the international community. It was evident that overcoming these difficulties required a nimble, fast paced government.
However, Estonian public administration databases were in isolation and the data exchange between agencies, ministries and organisations was slow and inefficient. The Estonian Government’s State Information Systems Department commissioned Cybernetica as part of a joint project to develop the initial pilot, which was launched in 2001. Cybernetica took the leading role in implementing the data exchange solution and developing the X-Road since.
In 2001, Arne Ansper (Member of the Supervisory Board and Head of Development for the Information Security Systems Department at Cybernetica) concluded a deeper scientific research on the e-State “E-State from a Data Security Perspective”. With this, a model for the e-State architecture with the appropriate legal framework was presented. Thanks to the structure, which has security by design and distributed architecture, the data exchange platform has experienced virtually no downtime since its inception.
The paper concluded: “… there is no single piece of technology or a solution that would guarantee the success of the e-State implementation project. However, there exist a number of technologies that, when not used, guarantee the failure of the project.” The data exchange technology that enables governmental interoperability is one of those in the latter category.
Throughout the years, we’ve continued development and improvement of the X-Road in Estonia, with X-Road version 6 being the latest. This version improved the integrity of data exchanged between organisations and additional measures to comply with requirements set by eIDAS. This included support for using qualified certificates to certify digital documents. In 2012 Cybernetica started a research & development project to develop the basis of the next generation interoperability platform, the UXP (Unified eXchange Platform), the core of which is also used in the X-Road version 6. With the prototype completed in 2013, the basis of UXP was adopted to build X-Road version 6. Work on version 6 was done from 2014–2015. The R&D was carried out with the aim of other countries across the globe having the opportunity to use this foundational technology and pave the way for a smart and secure digital government.
A major change with X-Road version 6 was the opportunity to have shared services between governments. Estonia and Finland have connected their data exchange layers for cross-border data interoperability. Because of significant movement of people between the two countries, this opportunity has direct impact on the well-being of citizens in both nations. Estonia and Finland have started several cross-border public services, primarily in healthcare.
Today, the X-Road in Estonia has connected over 450 institutions and enterprises and over 150 public sector institutions. There are roughly 52 000 organisations as indirect users of X-Road services and nearly 1300 interfaced information systems.
Over 2800 services can be used via the X-Road.
As a result of developing the X-Road and several other complex systems for the Estonian government and its various ministries (e.g. e-Police, e-Customs, e-Voting), we gained invaluable experience in how to build an e-State and develop a digital society. We are now sharing this knowledge and exporting our software products in over 35 countries across the globe.
Greenland Interoperability Framework PituClose
Greenland Interoperability Framework Pitu
Region: Europe; Population: 0.056 million; Capital: Nuuk; Year started: 2018
Greenland is a uniquely placed country with an ambitious government set out to tackle the challenges presented by a modernising population and society – the digitisation of government and emergence of citizen-faced online e-services.
The government of Greenland, Naalakkersuisut established a strong foundation for improving digital government in a strategy document “The digital society - national digitization strategy 2018-2021”. One of the goals was to establish a joint and secure exchange platform for the country’s digital data.
The modernisation of Greenland’s digital government is led by Agency for Digitisation and in the pilot phase, areas like the citizen portal (Sullisivik Portal) as a single window for all e-government functionality were approached. Also, underlining the importance hunting has on the livelihood of the people and economy of Greenland, the hunters register was seen as a crucial public service. Other public services that were looked into include digital moving, registries of medical practitioners, digital post and digital patient journal.
In 2019, Cybernetica started deploying the full scale data exchange solution. This is approached from a resilient government perspective and availability in mind. The governing components of the data exchange platform are installed in two sites, including on Azure Cloud.
Availability of these governing components is essential for enabling the data exchange between organizations. Therefore, redundancy is used to ensure the availability of the registry services. Synchronization process ensures that both primary and secondary sites provide the same data. In addition to UXP components, the message exchange depends on certification authority and trust services: timestamping service and OCSP service.
Pitu is the Greenlandic word for the front strap on a dog sled. The front strap creates the link between the dog sled and the dogs. A simple, but absolutely crucial, device that ensures that the dogs’ leads are assembled and secured, so that the musher can steer them in the right direction.
Haiti Integrated Financial Management SystemClose
Haiti Integrated Financial Management System
Region: North-America; Population: 10.9 million; Capital: Port-au-Prince; Year started: 2015
Implementing the Unified eXchange Platform for data exchange in Haiti between 13 government institutions has led to increased rates of transparency and efficiency and decreased levels of corruption.
The USAID funded project, where we partnered with Chemonics, set out to achieve this by aligning government business processes and technology usage. As an integral part, the project also supported the country’s network infrastructure and managed the expansion of it, whilst collaborating with government ministries to ensure best performance of financial systems. Independent oversight agencies were involved for increased integrity.
The project was carried out in several phases during which our senior technology experts visited Haiti and provided training to IT staff. A study tour to Estonia for Haitian government IT specialists was also facilitated to ensure the success of the rollout of the technology.
This laid the foundation for a successful implementation of the software in 13 government institutions participating in the Integrated Financial Management System project. Before using UXP technology, government agencies in Haiti shared information via e-mail, CDs, hard copies or various disengaged software systems.
UXP has helped transparent public financial management from both a revenue collection and revenue administration/allocation perspective. In revenue administration, connecting stakeholders involved in the process with necessary, up-to date information improves resource supervision and removes ‘black holes’ in public funding. As an example from the revenue collection side, it has helped the tax authority cross-check customs clearance transaction data with income tax declarations.
Ukraine Interoperability Framework TrembitaClose
Ukraine Interoperability Framework Trembita
Region: Europe; Population: 44.8 million; Capital: Kyiv; Year started: 2017
Ukraine’s challenges in public service delivery were based in transparency and efficiency. The goals for implementing an interoperability framework were clear:
- Empower local municipalities with e-services for citizens;
- Solve Ukraine’s problem of long lines for state services;
- Help increase the rate of transparency;
- Reduce the number of state registers by two-thirds.
Increasing the capabilities local municipalities have in delivering e-services to their citizens is an important step towards decentralization in Ukraine. This has been the main goal in the process of creating a data exchange system in Ukraine: strengthening the regions and empowering municipalities with the technical capabilities to offer services online.
Enhanced transparency provided by UXP in delivering public services carries the benefit of increased ethics while engaging with citizens. Reducing the amount of documentation required to receive a public service alongside the number of in-person interactions with state officials is a firm step to create a clean process.
As an example of enhanced partnerships in public service, UXP serves to streamline cross-agency cooperation in law enforcement: The National Anti-Corruption Prevention Agency tasked with reviewing the income and asset declaration of public officials will gain access to all relevant registers through a single portal.
The State Agency for e-Governance of Ukraine viewed the implementation of UXP as a key to undertaking a global re-engineering of all the administrative processes of the country and acknowledges the system as the chief instrument for reform in several spheres of life.
A significant challenge during the implementation of this project was to modify the Unified eXchange Platform to support Ukrainian cryptographic standards. This required commitment from our experts in state-of-the-art cryptography and several site visits to ensure a smooth transition of the modified platform.
Trembita was implemented in close collaboration with the State Agency of Ukraine for e-Government and eGovernance Academy within the support program EGOV4UKRAINE.
There are other indications of a positive outcome to come, since ahead of the data exchange system going live, more than 100 nationwide electronic services have been introduced via a Government Portal. Signs like this are an assurance that citizens will start receiving public services through a unified public window. At this stage, it has led to 10 000 online registrations of businesses by entrepreneurs, 4 400 construction projects started and more than 270 objects put into operation online. 20 000 families have accessed support for the birth of a child online and over 130 000 Ukrainians have received social services online.
As the platform is due to receive national certification in 2019 and go into full scale production, the opportunity to create integrated public services online will increase as will service delivery numbers.
The trembita is a horn used by Ukrainian highlanders and was a means of communication to bring people together It was used to announce events like weddings, deaths, funerals.
Namibia Governmental Interoperability Framework Nam-XClose
Namibia Governmental Interoperability Framework Nam-X
Region: Southern Africa; Population: 2,6 million; Capital: Windhoek; Year started: 2015
Namibia is a unique country with a remarkably large area and sparse population. Combining that with the government’s strong aspirations and readiness to modernise local e-services, the way was paved for implementing an interoperability and secure data exchange solution – the UXP (Unified eXchange Platform). The overall aim was to improve interoperability and service availability by more profound data exchange and digitalisation of governmental services.
Cybernetica implemented the e-Government interoperability system Nam-X for the Namibian Government in cooperation with e-Governance Academy. The development of the solution started in 2015 and was based on the improved Estonian data interoperability layer, the X-road (the UXP). The project was implemented as an initiative under the leadership of the Office of the Prime Minister of Namibia with six governmental organisations participating in the pilot phase.
The Office of the Prime Minister took an instrumental role in promoting e-governance solutions. The government of Namibia established a clear vision and strategy for e-government and implementation of an interoperability and secure data exchange platform based on Cybernetica’s experience of delivering the X-road in Estonia. Despite of high motivation and a positive mindset, the main issue was fragmentation between different types of information systems and a siloed operation – challenges which can be overcome with the UXP.
The Nam-X project consisted of three phases:
site mission – getting introduced with local circumstances and governmental institutions to map and analyse the situation. Suggesting primary activities, which included the list of registries for data exchange requests – population, business, and pension registry. Also, defining the scope and suggestions for the pilot;
pilot – workshops and knowledge transfer, describing the technical specifications and architecture. Installation of the pilot environment, which became the main testbed system for carrying out workshops for developers, administrators and other technical positions;
implementation – the deployment and implementation of the Nam-X system. Due to local characteristics, the implementation was carried out through a dedicated on-site mission. This ensured the most reliable, high-quality result, culminating with the launch of a technical platform, ready for integration of new e-services.
The cooperation between the governments of Namibia and Estonia dates back to the early 1990s. In fact, Namibia was the first of many to come state-level partners for Cybernetica in Africa. The motivation to modernise governmental systems in African countries deserves to be recognised – in addition to Namibia, we have supported Tunisia and Benin in their endeavours for launching effective e-governance solutions and are consulting several governments in their efforts.
UXP is an interoperability platform enabling secure data exchange in government and business. It’s tailored for easy implementation in countries and organizations across the world. Cybernetica is working on several pilots and implementations of the technology, such as the interoperability platforms the Trembita in Ukraine, the Pitu in Greenland and the X-Road in Estonia.