Implementing Interoperability Standards for Electronic Government: A Case Study of the E-Ping Brazilian Framework

Implementing Interoperability Standards for Electronic Government: A Case Study of the E-Ping Brazilian Framework

Ernani Marques dos Santos (University of São Paulo, Brazil)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-918-2.ch004
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Interoperability standards play an important role in the integration of systems and information sharing for electronic government. However, these processes do not just mean exchange of data but, mainly, integration of processes and transactions. Therefore, the implementation of these standards depends not only on technological aspects, but also on other variables of the institutional, organizational and economical contexts. Based on this scenery, this chapter discusses the implementation of the standardization process in an electronic government environment. It presents the findings from a case study of the Brazilian interoperability framework (e-PING), based on documents content analysis and face-toface semi-structured interviews. As a result, it points out some aspects that may be conditioning in the setting of these standards.
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Standards And Standardization

A standard is a group of specifications to which all of the product elements, processes, formats, or procedures under its jurisdiction have to adhere (Tassey, 2000). For David and Greenstein (1990), a standard is a group of technical specifications adhered by a group of suppliers, tacitly or as a result of a formal agreement.

David and Steinmueller (1994) classify the standards in four categories: reference, minimum quality, interface and compatibility. The compatibility standards play a relevant role in the Information Technology field, because they enable data exchange among components of a specific system or between different inter-organizational systems.

According to Williams at all (2004), the development and implementation of compatibility standards not only technically define an inter-operational method among the different components in a network, but it also represents a proposal for the future of the complex socio-technical systems that are the form of an inter-organizational network.

Standards can also be classified according to the processes by means of which they are established. A distinction is frequently made among formal, de facto and de jure. Formal standards are created through standardization entities; de facto are technologies established by market mechanisms, and the de jure are the ones imposed by law (Hanseth & Monteiro, 1998).

According to Graham at all (1995), the standardization process represents an attempt to align interests, practices of businesses and expectations of a group of people with one interest to develop and to use the system that will be standardized. Therefore, the standardization is not just to provide a usable solution but, mainly, to articulate and to align expectations and interests (Williams, 1997).

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