The interoperability challenge
Interoperability is more than a strategic priority on the political agenda. Today, it is expected to be standard practice in the day-to-day operations of public administrations. Public service owners are facing a number of challenges when it comes to delivering public services that are digital by default. These include:
- Improving interoperability of digital public services and bringing their maturity to a higher level;
- Optimising the customer experience by providing ‘one-click’ digital public services;
- Redesigning and standardising procedures to make digital public services more efficient, effective and transparent
- Enabling seamless interaction of shared public services and promoting a culture of collaboration.
What is IMAPS?
IMAPS is an online survey that helps public service owners evaluate, consider and improve all key interoperability aspects of their digital public service (legal, semantic, organisational, or technical). Ultimately, they can view and monitor the service’s compliance with the New European Interoperability Framework (EIF).
Not only can IMAPS be used to assess the interoperability of any public service – from open data portals, and e-voting platforms, to public procurement services, and much more – it is applicable to services at all levels of government (international, national, regional and local).
IMAPS looks at three different service areas (see IMAPS conceptual model below):
- Service Delivery (D) – Delivery of the digital public service;
- Service Consumption (C) – Consumption of reusable machine-to-machine services from other public administrations and businesses. This can include the consumption of functionalities, base registry information and security services;
- Service Management (B) – Controlling and monitoring the process flow related to service interactions with the external domain from trigger to outcome. This area includes Service Management aspects such as enterprise architecture, procurement, and service level management.
IMAPS defines five levels of interoperability maturity:
- Ad hoc (level 1): Poor interoperability – the digital public service cannot be considered interoperable
- Opportunistic (level 2): Fair interoperability – the digital public service implements some elements of interoperability best practices
- Essential (level 3): Essential interoperability – the digital public service implements the essential best practices for interoperability
- Sustainable (level 4): Good interoperability – all relevant interoperability best practices are implemented by the digital public service
- Seamless (level 5): Interoperability leading practice – the digital public service is a leading interoperability practice example for others
Is IMAPS relevant for you?
You are involved in the design, development, management or delivery of a digital public service? IMAPS gives you a tool to evaluate the interoperability maturity of your digital public service.
IMAPS can be used at all government levels: national, regional, local and international.
What are the benefits of IMAPS?
IMAPS provides you with:
- A compact, highly user-friendly and free-of-charge online survey questionnaire, which can be completed in 30 minutes;
- An interoperability maturity score which captures the current maturity level of your digital public service;
- A set of recommendations tailored to your digital public service for improving its interoperability maturity;
- A set of interoperability good practices and standards;
- A confirmation of conformance of your digital public service with the European Interoperability Framework (EIF).
The IMAPS action has developed specialised versions of IMAPS, which enable public service owners to assess their digital public services in terms of their:
- Legal Interoperability (LIMAPS): the LIMAPS survey provides insights into legal interoperability aspects enabling the provision of a digital public service in a cross-border context and provides recommendations;
- Organisational Interoperability (OIMAPS): the OIMAPS survey provides insights into organisational interoperability aspects enabling the provision of a digital public service in a cross-border context and provides recommendations;
- Semantic Interoperability (SIMAPS): the SIMAPS survey focuses on semantic interoperability aspects enabling the provision of a digital public service in a cross-border context and provides recommendations
- Technical Interoperability (TIMAPS): the TIMAPS survey focuses on technical interoperability aspects enabling the provision of a digital public service in a cross-border context and provides recommendations.
All IMAPS specialisations are compliant with the latest version of the European Interoperability Framework (EIF).
How can we support your organisation in the uptake of IMAPS?
We organise knowledge transfer sessions with public administrations across Europe to support them in their IMAPS assessments and their uptake of IMAPS and its specialisations. If you are interested in participating in an IMAPS knowledge transfer, please contact us via e-mail: DIGIT-IMAPS@ec.europa.eu.
IMAPS publishes an annual report which analyses the state of interoperability maturity of European digital public services which have been assessed with IMAPS.
The latest version of the IMAPS report (2020) reveals that all of the digital public services assessed are on average below the Essential interoperability level (IMAPS maturity level 3).
Up-to-date, IMAPS has been used by public administrations across Europe for assessing more than 150 digital public services.
Discover the experience of other IMAPS users here.
IMAPS is an action of the ISA² programme. The ISA² programme is an instrument for the modernisation of European public administrations. Modernising European public administrations and increasing their interoperability is an important contribution to the completion of the Digital Single Market, as one of the top 10 political priorities of the EU (https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/digital-single-market).