DIEGO – Digital Inclusive eGovernment (DIEGO)

Published on: 15/09/2010
Document

The project contributes and follows accessibility guidelines not simply by being compliant to de facto standards as W3C, but applying whenever possible a combination of strands such as: availability (whichever is the ICT channel to be used); affordability (within everybodies reach); accessibility (easy to use and fully inclusive), complemented by other equally important factors as content, skills and motivation.

DIEGO supports a partnership approach where different stakeholders can participate and where all actors can be trained and supported, and are responsible for achieving the outcomes, rather than on delivering particular services. In the context of the project the links in the delivery network are crucially enabled by ICT, in a mix of systems, technologies and media, including human based interactions.

The main outcome of DIEGO, will be to offer to any European Public Authority a FULL e-accesibility front-end  for eGovernment services, highly scalable and affordable:

1) a new "user-centric" and accessible service provision model for speeding up Inclusive e-Government & e-Governance (Inclusive e-Gov), including trans-borders services, according to preferred ICT media available (interactive TV, smart mobile devices, [desktop] kiosks or PCs) to their respective citizens;

2) and a "highly scalable Deployment Model", based on a Software as a Service (SaaS) approach and widely accepted webservices standards (guarantee of interoperability with any back-office) and the affordability of the implementation, beyond the project (in the self-sustainability phase).

DIEGO's main target is to provide a friendly and easy way of transforming pre-existing eGov services, removing their ICT barriers (eExclusion), or creating new ones "from scratch" which will have an inclusive character from the beginning,  based on "open source best practice" across all Europe.

Policy Context

DIEGO is partially funded by the ICT Policy Support Programme (or ICT PSP). The Competitiveness and Innovation framework Programme (CIP) runs for the years 2007-2013 and is organised around three multi-annual specific programmes: Entrepreneurship and Innovation: Programme (EIP); Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Policy Support: Programme (ICT PSP): Intelligent Energy Europe: Programme (IEE).

DIEGO was submitted in the third call for proposals 2009 and has been designated as a Pilot type B: stimulating the uptake of innovative ICT based services and products under the theme 3.3: ICT for government and - Inclusive eGovernance.

The ICT Policy Support Programme aims at a wider uptake and best use of ICT and digital content by citizens, governments and businesses, in particular SMEs. It helps overcome hurdles that hinder the advancement of an information society for all. ICT PSP aims to develop pan-European, ICT-based solutions and services, most notably in areas of public interest. Greater uptake of such ICT services will open a wide range of new business opportunities, in particular for innovative SMEs.

ICT PSP supports pilot actions and networking activities in areas such as: ICT for health; ICT for ageing and inclusion; Digital Libraries; ICT for government and governance; ICT for energy efficiency, environment and smart mobility; Public Sector information etc.

Description of target users and groups

DIEGO, whose approach is based on leveraging innovation in response to growing societal demands, falls into the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Policy Support Programme (ICT PSP) and aims at stimulating innovation and competitiveness, in favour of Socially Disadvantaged Groups (part of them info-marginated), through the wider uptake and best use of ICT by citizens, governments and businesses and in particular SMEs.

The Objective 3.3 -Inclusive e-Governance- is tackled by DIEGO focusing in significantly improve quality of life and ensure Full e-Accessibility and User-Centric approaches to socially disadvantaged by specifying and demonstrating innovative ICT enabled e-Government Services throughout any IP-based communication channel.

Accordingly, the set of e-Government Services of DIEGO focuses in improving the quality of life of End Users and their relationship (relatives, proxy users) with their public administrations, substantially prolonging the time and the way they can be independent and manage their day-to-day e-procedures, and supporting their social interactions.

On the other hand, DIEGO also empowers civil servants day-to-day activities by providing a unique and easy to manage framework for service and content creation, update, upload and management, resulting in benefits not only for End Users but for enabling new e-Gov Services delivered across different administrations.

Description of the way to implement the initiative

DIEGO's proposition moves in the area that can be termed "Inclusive ICT enabled Public Services", a complex and dynamic area where social and inclusive eGovernance meet.

DIEGO offers an answer to the question of how governments can facilitate their services towards citizens by making them friendlier and inclusive. And it does so by using a multi-channel approach and flexible availability of services, personalised and configured around users' needs and preferences.

Although the nine pilots involved in DIEGO follow a common European approach, the asymmetry of addressing specific needs of Inclusive eGov services in respective Member States, partners of the Consortiu, in line with national Programmes, needs to be very flexible in order to guarantee the real feasibility of DIEGO deployment.

The DIEGO Consortium involves 13 partners from 6 different Member States of Europe (Spain, Greece, Cyprus, Ireland, UK, Italy). For a satisfactory deployment of these nine pilots (and its future replication during the full deployment) the key roles of DIEGO can be grouped in two categories:

  • The common tasks of coordination and technical provision and support of the platform (IDI EIKON - coordinator of the project). They act as instrumental partners in benefit of all of the rest.
  • The specific tasks of "involving users" and customization, localization of categories of services and personalization in each scenario (all other partners). For tackling these tasks, two subcategories of stakeholders are needed in DIEGO:

- Public Administrations: present in each scenario and playing an active role

             - Citinzery affairs leading the provision of services to citizens

            - ICT leading the e-Inclusion

- Business deployers in eGovernment markets: represented in the proposal by partners IDI EIKON, ALTEC and INTERFUSION.

Technology solution

The actual state of DIEGO, embryonic, but well-formed, is deployed as Software as a Service (SaaS), being easily expanded at huge pace throughout all Europe in less time than similar e-services or any other conventional ICT architectures.

The key characteristics of SaaS in DIEGO  include:

  • network-based access to, and management of software
  • activities that are managed from central locations (but accessed from everywhere by supporting people) rather than at each customer's site, enabling customers to access applications remotely via the MULTI-CHANNEL Web browsers (including xlets and browsers for Interactive Digital TV)
  • application delivery that typically is closer to a one-to-many model (single instance, multi-tenant architecture) than to a "one-to-one" model, including architecture, pricing, partnering, and management characteristics
  • centralized feature updating, which obviates the need for downloadable patches and upgrades.

DIEGO uses a multi-tenant architecture, meaning that multiple customers are running the same software, but with a virtually separate data. It's reasonable to assume that multi-tenant architecture will simplify application maintenance and management for DIEGO. The multi-tenant model also simplifies the value for all customers since upgrades are instantaneously available across the entire platform. Applying economies of scale, DIEGO will be able to offer better, cheaper, more reliable Inclusive eGov Services than other companies do.

Technology choice: Standards-based technology

Main results, benefits and impacts

A successful DIEGO deployment will help public administrations to expand the current limits of their eGov programmes and resources (by including socially disadvantaged users, drivers of a big part of Public Administration services).

Of course, these users' biggest request (eINCLUSION) could be observed, increasing citizen's quality of life and then the demand and effective use of these eGov services.

STEPS

To reach this we will need to:

  • Define General Public, Personal and Personalised e-Gov Services set;
  • Ensure Public Administration could manage this set of services (using pre-existing or new, from scratch, back offices);
  • Widely disseminate and market the new eGov Services;
  • Adequately training is provided to final user;
  • Proxy users participation in the chain of End User's User-Centric personalisation tasks is ensured.

If DIEGO Initial Deployment phase ends successfully, a very innovative European wide business could be quickly developed. EU market will specially help to build new trans-border eGov Services, fully innovative as the End User, in the centre of services provision, can freely move around Europe taking their eGov Services (general, personal and personalised) with them, everywhere they have an IP-based access.

STEPS

To reach this we will need to:

  • Close pre-commercial agreements with Public Administrations and private stakeholders in all Member States piloting DIEGO services;
  • Deploy a trans-European common pricing and commercial policy on DIEGO services (Business Plan);
  • Ensuring prices affordability (whoever pays them) and cost-free services to final users (if possible).

Return on investment

Return on investment: Larger than €10,000,000

Track record of sharing

Not available yet. Will be provided as soon as possible.

Lessons learnt

The lessons learnt must be filled in by the project responsible as soon as some information is available.They are not available yet. Will be provided as soon as possible.

Scope: International