Open standards for government transformation: Panel 2

Notes from the OASIS/World Bank workshop on “Open Standards for Government Transformation: Enabling Transparency, Security and Interoperability” in Washington.


Panel Two: Public Financial Management and e-Procurement

Chair: Laurent Liscia, Executive Director, OASIS


Standards for Public Financial Management, including e-Procurement

David Temoshok, Director, Identity Policy & Management, GSA, Washington

What does interoperability really mean in this environment?

Focus on approach for e-Procurement in this talk

US eGov initiatives – since 2001

  • aims: reduce federal spending, less paperwork, better response time
  • 24 projects as starting point
  • Integrated Acquisition Environment (IAE) to promote competition, transparency and efficiency in the federal acquisition life cycle

projects: G2G, G2B, G2C, internal effectiveness & efficiency

Provided business services are based on a common infrastructure model

Federal Identity and Access Management

U.S. Government Four Authentication Assurance Levels

  • NO confidence
  • SOME confidence
  • HIGH confidence
  • VERY HIGH confidence

If assurance increases, costs increase as well – for the transactions as well as the credentials

Applying a standard framework with all projects


  • it’s not possible to get a single product
  • GSA definition of interoperability: “…Two or more devices, components, or systems to exchange information in accordance with defined interface specifications and to use the information that has been exchanged in a meaningful way”

Starting gate:

  • common protocols
  • standard data models
  • reference implementations
  • standard testing for interoperability

IAE – goals:

  • simple integrated business processes
  • increase data sharing
  • unified approach to obtain modern tool

IAE – business areas & transactions:

  • create standards for registration/sharing points & for transactions – “common language”

Lessons learned:

  • Establish federal governance framework
  • Engage stakeholders
  • Communication is vital
  • Redesigning is a big challenge


Cyber Security Issues Impacting Public Sector Financial Management

John T. Sabo, CISSP Director, Global Government Relations, CA, Inc.

Interoperable framework with a need for security

What if enterprises rely on infrastructure we do not control?

There is a growing internet dependence – it is sometimes impossible to step back

Control System vulnerabilities are dangerous too – even though they do not necessarily affect the financial sector

We do not have risk management models – too low priority

There is a cybersecurity foundation in place working with the officials

  • There are basic technology standards
  • Also for identity and access management
  • So a lot of basics are in place
  • But we don’t have an overarching risk management framework in place

Cybersecurity is a functional requirement

Complexities of the IT Sector make it very challenging to apply risk management

A lot of stakeholders which contribute to the (in)security of the network

There is an “IT Sector Specific Plan” in place

Current issues:

  • What is the governments role in protecting critical infrastructure? / What’s the role of the private sector?
  • Thresholds for cyber-incidents
  • New Federal Leadership, Organizational Alignment
  • Legislation and Oversight on standards

4 Strategic Focus Areas

  • dentity and Trust Infrastructure Components
  • Identity and Trust Policies and Enforcement
  • Barriers and Emerging Issues
  • Education and Outreach

A number of technical committees working on interoperability standards

Key Management Interoperability Protocol (KMIP)

  • key lifecycle management
  • how to manage keys

We have emerging cybersecurity risks, we have some basics in place and we have to build on these foundations, public and private sector together


Standards-Based e-Government Procurement Systems: Opportunities and Priorities

Eduardo Talero, Senior Consultant, World Bank

Electronic Government Procurement (eGP)

  • provides transparency, efficiency, synergy to government procurement
  • supply chain integration

Why standards?

  • Enhance connectivity and interoperability
  • Generate trust
  • More competition
  • More transparency
  • Increased ROI
  • Enhance efficiency and flexibility of public procurement

Privacy fears – some incidents happened, it IS dangerous

Standards and eGP

  • various standards

Use of Open Standards/Open Source by 14 leading eGP governments:

  • only few usage of Linux/Apache/MySQL, …

Standards/FOSS and agile system development

Short design time for eGovernance systems

  • resulting system: black box
  • limited configurability
  • vendor lock in
  • monopoly on pricing
  • limited interoperability
  • This has to change!

Using open standards and agile development can provide major improvements in eGovernment systems

Ideal systems: industrial-strength eGovernance systems that are also easy to change, interoperable, social, knowledge-oriented, community-driven…

What can MDBs do?

  • develop lending instruments and procurement procedures for agile system development
  • level procurement playing field
  • reference good practice standards
  • recommend standards

Closing thoughts

  • “Standards enhance economy, efficiency, competition, transparency and evolution of eGP
  • Free and Open source SW (FOSS) facilitates and accelerates use of open standards
  • Open standards/FOSS facilitate fast, iterative development of eGovernance applications which now take too long and are very risk-prone.
  • Governments cannot afford to build the organic, social applications of the future only with proprietary standards/technology.
  • MDBs can be far more proactive in referencing, recommending and sometimes even requiring Standards.
  • MDB’s need to create level playing field for procurement of FOSS and for contracting of agile application development. “

If you want to do eGovernment well, the only way to do it is via open standards


Q & A:

Q: Will there be a forum for issues considering open standards development?

Eduardo Talero: There is awareness that there is a discussion needed, you are welcome to join.

Q: How do governments contribute to open source solutions? At some point governments have to address the copyright issues.

Q: Are there off-the-shelf e procurement products, not to start from scratch? Could you name which country/ies has/have implemented them with demonstrable good results?

A: Two systems on Sourceforge. But there is nothing which could for example replace SAP.

Q: How come that Open source is not popular yet in eGovernment initiatives?

Eduardo Talero: I don’t know any major system – and it does not really make sense, the role is to foster development, not to provide a whole system.

Q: Which developing country already implemented eGovernment initiatives

A: None has implemented the whole framework, but some have implemented certain parts – e.g. Vietnam, Sri Lanka.

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Open standards for government transformation: Panel 2
was published on 17.04.2009 by Florian Sturm. It files under global
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