Developers in the 21st century are very privileged. With seats in the front row, we are equipped with apps and tech and knowledge our ancestors only dreamt of.
But what counts the most in our ability to create new, is our ability to apply and enrich what has already been done.
In ICT "that old" often seems to be an impediment. But the deep fulfillment in life comes from beating the difficulties, solving the problems and climbing over the mountains of obstacles.
Enough with the chitchat, what I wanted to share with you today, is a notion I'd call the fourth step in developing eServices.
Developing ICT-based services is like..
Me and my colleague developers and visionaries have often envied the "new" Eastern European countries. They had a fresh start, building everything from the scratch, being able to align everything at once, at least, so it seems. More mature ICT-countries suffer from the burden of the past. Our systems are partly old technique, and combining that old with something new and very different can be tough, costly - sometimes even impossible.
..building with blocks?
What I've learned, in my networks of different branches of the society, is to look at things like blocks or Legos, if you like, and then share the same blocks whenever possible. It seems to me that building something new can only start at the ground level - obviously! For the most efficient outcome, it also needs to be modular, done with blocks.
In public sector, my fear is that we're always trying to build something else.. something that "can't be built with these old blocks, so let's build a brand new something else" - only to find out that we can't get rid of that old one, either, because this new one needs bits and pieces of that old one. Or, that old one still carries a bit of the old process and the new one takes care of only part of the entity.
For higher productivity we would need solutions that truly make it possible to let go of something old. Otherwise our empire keeps eternally expanding.
Data as the smallest joint particle
When you can isolate data into the smallest mutual factor, you can look at any process as a flow of data. The real productivity can only be achieved with wisdom: sharing information, combining processes whenever possible and starting with the customer / citizen. A few great examples on this road to Real-Time Economy
are eInvoicing, Fully Integrated Accounting (F) and Unified Reporting Code.
eInvoicing takes all the information electronically, from system A to system B. It is the green way, the productive way and the most efficient way to work. And, thanks to development alongside SEPA, eInvoicing with its ISO20022 standard will also enable carrying that data of the financial transaction directly to accounting.
Fully Integrated Accounting can thus entail data from the eInvoicing, via an electronic accounting reference. Further on, data on actual payments and the different particles, split payments, of the total amount can also be verified by the bank.
Overlapping use of data needs..
Accounting, however, is only the halfway. Closing the books starts the marathon of a multitude of reporting. Businesses need to file in their tax returns, report to statistics, file their financial statement in the trade register, to name but a few. All those "sub-processes" demand skills and further calculations.
Now, with our previous thought of joint data as building blocks, Unified Reporting Code (F) has now split certain items of information into smaller fragments in a way that enables more automatic reporting in Finland.
..harmonization of concepts
Essential blocks are the steps toward more Real-Time Economy and higher productivity. What public sector needs to do and has now started to do, is unifying its core concepts. Definitions and meanings must be unified, in order to ICT to co-work, mingle and be integrated.
With meta data, relations and data models taken care of, a real ontology will one day enable semantic web and enormous savings in overlapping workload, vain searches and loss of information.
In the meanwhile - let's work together.
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