|Introduction||Collaborate to identify common needs|
Public administrations rely on IT solutions of different sizes and complexity to carry out their day-to-day work. Traditionally, they have designed, procured and maintained their IT solutions. This is true at cross-border level and within countries, especially in Member States organised in federal or decentralised structures of government.
In many cases, this means greater autonomy but it can also contribute to an expensive and fragmented IT infrastructure, which often duplicates IT solutions and impedes sharing and reuse.
Although there is a clear need for a new approach, public administrations rarely consider co-creation and have difficulties with coordinating work across organisations at different levels of government. The following are among the most prominent reasons hampering coordination:
• Limited awareness of similar activities across different sectors. Administrations may put parallel work into developing IT solutions that meet similar business needs across borders or different sectors due to insufficient exchange of information and limited or non-existent coordination.
• Lack of a cross-organisational IT governance structure. This can reduce the pace and efficiency of reusing common IT solutions due to the lack of coordination and alignment among administrations responsible for the development of IT solutions.
1.1. Adopt cross-organisation IT governance
Cross-organisation IT governance, in other words an approach that involves common or tightly-coupled governance schemas for the different organisational entities, can help public administrations implement public services and eGovernment systems faster and more efficiently.
|Supporting instrument||The European Commission provides a number of IT governance models in two key documents: The Business models for sharing and reuse  and the Governance Models for sharing and reuse of IT Solutions. |
By adopting cross-organisation IT governance, public administrations enable the alignment and streamlining of their business processes supported by common IT solutions. Such a structure can also increase the overall efficiency of IT spending by eliminating the duplication of work and focusing on developing solutions that satisfy common needs. Moreover, it increases service quality and strengthens accountability, as only one entity is responsible for developing and delivering a solution, its change management, sharing process, support, etc.
1.2. Follow guidelines and templates when drafting collaborative agreements
Collaborative agreements are a useful tool for establishing long-term partnerships between public administrations, using resources in an effective and economical way and ensuring that involved parties accept mutual benefits as a goal.
|Supporting instrument||The European Commission has developed Guidelines and templates for agreements between public administrations to be used when sharing and reusing IT solutions. |
However, writing and negotiating a collaborative agreement may be a difficult, costly and lengthy process, which could result in agreements that do not cover all aspects of a collaborative project, such as responsibilities, handling of complaints, project change control or intellectual property rights. In turn, this may hamper an otherwise harmonious relationship and, consequently, affect the degree of trust between public administrations.
Following guidelines and standard templates when drafting agreements for collaborative development, maintenance or use of IT solutions between different public administrations, helps to increase the level of trust. Standard templates typically cover different elements of collaboration, such as:
• the structure and recommended content of service level agreements;
• financial terms of the agreement (charging method, invoicing, payment terms);
• liabilities and IPR;
• project change control, governance, responsibilities;
• contributors agreements (in case of collaborative developments)
Recommended measures for central bodies
• Coordinate IT governance within and across Member States
It is preferable to put in place an IT governance structure that aims to align the different levels of administration within a Member State (for instance federal, regional, local government) and between Member States, taking into account their respective IT policies, needs and capabilities.