WHAT it is
This solution is an online tool created to help public administrations identifying actions to evolve their Application Programming Interface (API) infrastructure and make them ready for a connected future. It lets an institution to self-assess the degree of adoption of APIs and suggests actions to improve it in a cohesive way.
The tool offers a framework with twelve ‘proposals’ (or recommendations) organised into four organisational pillars, namely, policy support, platforms and ecosystems, people, and processes. The proposed actions are structured into the three levels of organisational management, i.e., strategic, tactical and operational.
The twelve proposals, inspired by the European Interoperability Framework (EIF) of the European Commission, were created following an extensive and deep systematic review that assessed available documents on current government API strategies, guidelines, related policies and action plans in digital government and other areas, and private industry best practice guidelines.
WHY you should use it
APIs enable access to data (e.g. about sensors, weather, traffic and energy) and functionalities (e.g. about translating, calculating and recognising) to a virtually unlimited number of actors, and its control.
APIs are foundational in modern IT architectures due to their flexibility to connect internal and external actors. For around 20 years, this characteristic greatly contributed to the growth of digital platforms. Nowadays it is also important in the modernisation of the public sector institutions, that need to link a great number of domains adopting a number of technologies and standards.
Thus, this solution supports the Interoperability Solutions for the Public Administration (ISA-square) activities. It also contributes to the EU Open Data Directive by facilitating scalable and flexible reuse of organisational data.
WHO should use it
This tool is mainly intended for IT leaders of a government. Specifically, to those civil servants in charge of the definitions of digital transformation, digital strategy, digital government or interoperability agenda. They could also use the framework to support the design of the IT architecture and platform components for delivery of APIs, open data, and shared capabilities services across whole-of-government. IT leaders may choose to complete the checklist with the cross-departmental collaborative members of their whole-of-government management team.
However, the applicability of the tool goes beyond the public sector and could be used in other contexts (with proper customisations).
The latest version of the tool (v1.0.0) is available at the EU survey portal.
The tool is a guided questionnaire that, after its completion, returns the assessment of APIs adoption, and a view of the main gaps to improve APIs adoption.
The use of the tool is supported by framework guidelines explaining the rationale behind it and giving a solid literature package for each of the proposals.
The tool is always available, completely free and reusable and everybody can use it, even if in an anonymous way.
The questionnaire, or a part of it, can be downloaded and reused to build a more custom solution.