About Common Assessment Method for Standards and Specifications (CAMSS)

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  1. What is CAMSS?
  2. Status of CAMSS
  3. Positioning
  4. Roles and Responsibilities
  5. CAMSS Solutions
  6. CAMSS Assets
  7. Change Management Process

What is CAMSS? 

CAMSS is the European guide for assessing and selecting standards and specifications for an eGovernment project, a reference when building an architecture and an enabler for justifying the choice of standards and specifications in terms of interoperability needs and requirements. It is fully aligned with the European Standardisation Regulation 1025/2012.

The main objective of CAMSS is achieving interoperability and avoiding vendor lock-in by establishing a neutral and unbiased method for the assessment of technical specifications and standards in the field of ICT. This method will be compliant with the Regulation 1025/2012 on European Standardisation.

While ICT solutions have specific characteristics at the political, legal, and organisational levels; semantic and technical interoperability are based mostly on technical specifications or standards. Within the context of the elaboration of their National Interoperability Frameworks, Member States organise the assessment of technical specifications or standards, in order to establish their national recommendations. Deciding on the recommended technical specifications or standards often calls for a resource-intensive and time-consuming assessment. In order to tackle this, the Interoperability Solutions for European Public Administrations (ISA) programme defines an action focused on the development of a common assessment method for standards and specifications (CAMSS).

The purpose of CAMSS is:

  • to ensure that assessments of technical ICT specifications or standards and interoperability profiles are performed according to high and consistent standards;
  • to ensure that assessments will contribute significantly to confidence in the interoperability of systems implementing these specifications and profiles;
  • to enable the reuse, in whole or in part, of such assessments;
  • to continuously improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the assessment process for ICT technical specifications, standards and interoperability profiles.

The assessment of standards and specifications for eGovernment solutions is currently organised on a national basis, e.g. within the context of Member States’ National Interoperability Frameworks. "CAMSS" is an initiative to promote collaboration between EU Member States in defining a "Common Assessment Method for Standards and Specifications" and to share with other countries the assessment study results for the development of eGovernment services.

In this way interoperability between EU Member States in the area of eGovernment will be expanded through the sharing of information and knowledge, the alignment of national processes and by reusing best practices. It will also speed up the assessment processes, reduce their cost throughout European public administrations and avoid ICT vendor specific lock-in.

The Multi-Stakeholder Platform (MSP), co-chaired by DG GROW and DG CONNECT, gave positive opinion on the adoption of CAMSS for the evaluation of standards to be identified by the MSP as suitable candidates to be recommended by the Commission for their use in procurement.

The expected benefits of the CAMSS are:

  • Ensuring greater transparency throughout the selection of standards in the context of ICT strategies, architectures and interoperability frameworks. This will be achieved through the establishment of a commonly agreed assessment method, assessment process and a list of assessment attributes.
  • Reducing resource and time requirements and avoiding duplication of efforts. (Partial) sharing of finalised assessments of standards and specifications.
  • Allowing easier and faster assessments, and reuse the ones already performed through the creation and maintenance of a library of standards.

The use of the CAMSS by Member States helps to promote transparency in the choice of eGovernment solutions and standards. It should also lead to a more efficient use of public funds via sharing and reuse among eGovernment projects.

The CAMSS toolkit consists of a documented reference assessment process, a set of quality requirements (criteria), and assessment tools.

In this way, CAMSS will establish and maintain a framework for assessing interoperability standards and specifications.

The framework will:

  • provide European administrations with a well-defined and easy-to-use method for assessing ICT interoperability standards and specifications;
  • ensure that assessments of ICT standards and specifications can be made faster, easier and with higher quality;
  • enable the reuse, in whole or in part, of such assessments.

The CAMSS information package can be downloaded below, and more information regarding CAMSS, its objectives, potential benefits and overall approach is available at the European Commission's Interoperability Solutions for European Public Administrations - ISA programme website.

 

CAMSS info package

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Status of CAMSS

During 2008, a proposal for a CAMSS was produced. This proposal focused principally on defining assessment criteria, based on Member States best practices and agreement among Member State experts. Following a presentation on CAMSS Info Day (28 May 2008) and public consultation during summer 2008, the Proposal for a CAMSS received positive and constructive comments from industry, standardisation bodies and public administrations.

Afterwards, it was executed a pilot assessments based on the previous CAMSS version. Through lessons learned, CAMSS was shaped by updating the CAMSS criteria and defining the CAMSS process. A first pilot was run during spring 2009, which provides a "proof-of-concept" by answering a business need with low complexity and narrow scope.

At beginning 2013, the objective was the further development of the CAMSS method and the preparation of the CAMSS tools for deployment on the Joinup platform. The main objectives of the study can be formulated as:

  • Continued promotion of the CAMSS method.
  • Provide the necessary documentation for the governance of the CAMSS method, including guidelines on the practical use of CAMSS in Member States, the migration, maintenance and update procedures for the CAMSS tools and library on the Joinup platform.
  • Collaborate and discuss with Member States, the involved Commission services (e.g. DG ENTR), standardisation bodies and all other relevant stakeholders (e.g. ICT industry) in order to animate and populate the CAMSS library on the Joinup platform and gather feedback for the improvement and sustainability of the CAMSS method.
  • Define an open and transparent governance for the CAMSS community.

On September 2014 the CAMSS v0.4 was updated into CAMSS v1.0. The following activities were performed in this context:

  • Update and promotion of the CAMSS community in Joinup.
  • Improve offline (spreadsheet based) tools version including the release of CAMSS v1.0 and the creation of a new scenario, the CAMSS MSP scenario which is fully aligned with the European Multi Stakeholder Platform on ICT Standardisation submission form used within the identification process of ICT technical specifications.
  • Update and improve the functional specifications for the online CAMSS assessment tools already available in the Joinup community, including support on implementation and testing.
  • Define a formal change management process for the CAMSS method.

In 2015 the main objectives of the action were:

  • Continue promoting the CAMSS method in order to make it available to relevant stakeholders in Member States and in the EC.
  • Implement the change management process defined in the previous phase of the project.
  • Increase the benefits of CAMSS for its users, through the improvement of the CAMSS method, gathering feedback from active users (present and/or past).
  • Boost the population of the CAMSS assessments library.
  • Test, maintain and promote the online CAMSS assessment tools of the Joinup community.

in 2017:

  • The CAMSS action established the first service in ISA², CAMSS as a Service (CAMSSaaS), which allows its users to request assessments of standards and technical specifications executed by the CAMSS Team on demand. The provision of the service has been continuous since it was established, delivering assessments for Spain and the Netherlands, between others.

and in 2018:

  • CAMSS has been institutionalised as part of the Multi Stakeholder Platform’s Streamlined Process. This process is in charge of the evaluation of standards and technical specifications proposed for their identification as suitable for their recommendation by the European Commission as fit for the use in public procurement.
  • CAMSS has become responsible for the EIRA Library of Interoperability Specifications (ELIS), which is a component of EIRA consisting of a library containing the interoperability specifications that describe the interoperability aspects of the architecture building blocks (ABBs) contained in the EIRA architecture.


Next Steps

In 2018-2019, the action will maintain and extend the existing tools and the list of standards endorsed by EU Member States. One of the main improvements to be made to the tools will be the development of a scenario to assess compliance of a standard or technical specification with the EIF. It will also work closely with other Commission departments in charge of the European Catalogue of Standards initiative to ensure that CAMSS gains visibility and that overlaps are avoided.

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Positioning

For CAMSS, the assessment process and set of quality requirements are developed using best practice assessment methods at national level and by aligning with related initiatives at European level (e.g. the Regulation on European Standardisation (EU regulation 1025/2012)).

If no formal assessment method is available or defined, the public administrations in the Member States and EU institutions should preferably adopt the CAMSS as their (national) assessment method. However, the CAMSS can be implemented and adapted based on the specific needs and requirements of the administrations.

Using CAMSS in Member States and at EU institutions ensures that the assessments of ICT standards and technical specifications are performed in a consistent and high quality manner. The assessments will contribute significantly to the confidence in the interoperability of systems implementing these technical specifications and standards. The assessment brings transparency to the selection of standards in the context of ICT strategies, architectures and interoperability frameworks. Furthermore, it enables the reuse and sharing (in whole or in part) of already performed assessments and the continuous improvement of the efficiency and effectiveness of the assessment process.

CAMSS focuses on the assessment of standards and technical specifications for the adoption by public administrations. The evaluation of the actual content of the standards or specifications is outside its scope. The CAMSS is not proposed as a mandatory assessment method to be implemented at Member State level. CAMSS is provided as a best practice method for Member States and public administrations to use as they choose. It should not be considered as an approved or regulated European assessment method for the assessment of standards and technical specifications at European level.

On the 15th March 2018, the European Multi Stakeholder Platform on ICT standardisation(MSP) agreed to endorse ISA² Common Assessment Method for Standards and Specifications(CAMSS) solution as the key driver streamlining the process for the evaluation of ICT technical specifications submitted for identification by the Commission. CAMSS will play a key role in this process with the provision of a preliminary assessments against the set of requirements defined in Regulation 1025/2012 on standardization. The identification of these technical specifications that do not fall in any of the categories of standards so far used in public procurement, open up the possibility to use the full range of relevant technical specifications when procuring hardware, software and information technology services, thus increasing interoperability and allowing for more competition.

The positive feedback about the results of the CAMSS solution collected during the 2017 MSP meetings and the success of a pilot carried out in 2017 led to a unanimous positive decision from the MSP.

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Roles and Responsibilities

In the context of CAMSSaaS, the roles and responsibilities are the following:

Role Description
User A User will be any person, entity or Member State of the European Union that uses the service.
CAMSS Team CAMSS Team will be the group of experts belonging to CAMSS action that will provide the service.

 

In the specific context of the MSP streamlined process, the roles and responsibilities are the following:

Role Description
The submitter: Commission / Member States   In accordance with Article 13 of the Regulation 1025/2012 only the Commission and Member States can propose ICT technical specifications to be identified for referencing in public procurement.
The CAMSS Team The CAMSS Team is composed of external contractors. The team is led by a policy officer in DIGIT.
The CAMSS Team supports the evaluation of ICT technical specifications submitted for identification.
The Multi Stakeholder Platform (MSP) The MSP is composed of representatives of the Member States and EFTA countries, stakeholder organisations representing industry, SME, consumers and other societal stakeholders; and European and international standards-setting organisations that develop standards in the field of ICT. The Platform members have the responsibility to inform and consult their interested constituency about the evaluation of the ICT technical specification carried out by CAMSS Team and the proposed decision to be taken by the Commission.
If the MSP decides to set up an evaluation working group the procedure continues as described in document ICT/MSP (2014) 014v8.
The MSP Secretariat The Commission services provide the secretariat of the MSP, that will be composed of members of DG GROW and DG CONNECT. The secretariat will support the submission of proposals as well as the evaluation process and the link with the CAMSS Team.

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CAMSS Solutions

The CAMSS solutions and their release components are depicted below:

Solution Description

CAMSS Tools

CAMSS Tools are the assessment tools provided by the CAMSS Team. They are publicly available and support the fulfilment of assessments of standards and technical specifications.

CAMSSaaS

CAMSSaaS, CAMSS-as-a-Service, is the service provided by CAMSS for the execution and review of assessments on demand. There are 3 modalities of service:
  • CAMSSaaS assessment: In this modality the user requests the CAMSS Team to perform the assessment of a technical specification.
  • CAMSSaaS content review: In this modality the user requests the CAMSS Team to review an already performed assessment. The CAMSS Team will perform an in-depth review of the information, improving the answers of the user when needed and challenging them in order to strengthen the quality of the assessment as much as possible.
  • CAMSSaaS compliance review: In this modality the user requests the CAMSS Team to review an already performed assessment. The CAMSS Team will perform a review of the assessment in order to determine if it has been properly filled, not challenging the actual content of it.

CAMSS Assessment

CAMSS Assessment is a solution which corresponds to the output of an assessment of a standard or technical specification using the CAMSS Tools. Each assessment produced is considered a CAMSS Assessment once it is approved by the CAMSS Team. Any approved assessment is published by the CAMSS Team and publicly available within the Assessment Library.

ELIS

The EIRA Library of Interoperability Specifications is a library containing the standards and specifications defining the interoperability aspects of the architectural building blocks (ABBs) contained in the European Interoperability Reference Architecture (EIRA). The aim of this library is supporting solutions architects when modelling using EIRA.

 

 

The picture below illustrates the relationship between the CAMSS Solutions and depicts their release components.

Solutions

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CAMSS Assets

Apart from the solutions presented above, the CAMSS method is composed by the following assets:

 

Asset Definition
CAMSS Assessment Library Catalogue of the assessments produced through the use of the CAMSS Tools. Each assessment constitutes a CAMSS solution and is fully reusable.
CAMSS List of Standards

CAMSS maintains a list with all the standards and technical specifications recommended by the Member States of the EU. It can be consulted at:

https://joinup.ec.europa.eu/collection/common-assessment-method-standar…

Documentation

The documentation is composed by the following assets:

 

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Change Management Process

CAMSS has defined a change management process in order to group the activities related to the management of requests for changes and the development of new CAMSS releases.

The overview of the change management process global activities is illustrated in the picture below:

change management

The change management life-cycle starts and ends with the public announcement of a release. It takes one year (unless the governance bodies decide otherwise); divided in two equal periods of 6 months each.

The CAMSS roles and activities during this process are split into:

Change Request Management Procedure

A change request is any proposal oriented to modify CAMSS solutions and assets:

  • Starts with the submission of a change request form by a requestor (Download it below)
  • Once the CAMSS team receives the request form, they validate if the request is related to the CAMSS method and the impact of the change.
  • Once all the change request are collected, the release management life-cycle starts.

Phase two: Release Implementation

This phase consists of the implementation of the changes proposed in the previous phase.

Once updated and reviewed by the CAMSS team, a public review and announcement is done in order to verify the correctness and the good quality.

The status of the current change management cycle can be consulted below:

 

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Owner/Contact Information

Owner
Name
European Commission (DG Informatics) - ISA² Programme
Type
Supra-national authority

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