Success Story: Logius

Axway Interchange helps governments improve services and cut red tape

  • Headquarters

    The Hague, Netherlands
  • Industry

  • Challenge

    Provide a central compliance testing service to 900 government agencies to push the adoption of open standards and interoperability while reducing costs

  • Solution

    • Interchange
  • Results

    • A standards reference platform for compliance testing
    • Reliable and secure system available 24x7, with low operating costs
    • Service complies with the ebXML standard as defined by OASIS, the international standards consortium
    • Compliance / non-compliance is automatically evaluated and reported
    • Operating costs are reduced to a minimum

“When we started with the ebMS standard, there were not a lot of organizations that were capable of supporting it. Axway had by far the best references, and today we use Axway Interchange as a reference point for all other government agencies.”

Logius is an organization that provides digital government services under the leadership of the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations in the Netherlands. It maintains government-wide ICT solutions and common standards that simplify and expedite communications between authorities, citizens and businesses, with a view to bringing consistency to e-government networks. Logius supplies products that relate to access, data exchange, standardization and information security.

To reduce expenditures, improve efficiency and provide superior services for citizens and businesses through smart ICT solutions are the goals behind the e-government programs, and Logius is helping to achieve them. Logius offers a cohesive ICT infrastructure so that citizens and businesses can reliably, quickly and easily conduct electronic business with public service providers.

“Axway had by far the best references, and we use Axway Interchange today as a reference point for all other government agencies.”

A Central Platform for Interoperability

Ensuring government agency compliance nationwide

Of the 1600 Dutch government organizations — both central and local agencies — about 900 are required to exchange electronic messages with other government agencies. Logius provides a compliance and test platform for the standards it has chosen based on ebXML, specifically the underlying ebMS transport protocol, and on profiles of Web Services (WUS). The standards must be adopted and properly used in compliance with Logius’ implementation by all government agencies in the Netherlands. Logius based its compliance testing service on Axway Interchange, and made it available to all government agencies.

Axway has been deeply involved in the structuring of the ebXML/ebMS standard in collaboration with OASIS, the international standards consortium. “When we started with the ebMS standard, there were not a lot of organizations that were capable of supporting it. Axway had by far the best references, and we use Axway  Interchange today as a reference point for all other government agencies,” said Ruud Koreman, Implementation Coordinator at Logius, Ministry of the Interior.

Users send specific test messages to an address, and behind that address is Axway Interchange. Interchange checks the message to determine whether it is based on the correct standards, and also whether the standards are correctly implemented. The entire verification process is based on the Axway solution. If the message is  not compliant with the standards, or the standards are not correctly implemented, Axway Interchange sends an error log back to the user. If the implementation is correct, Interchange will send a reply stating that the use of the standards is compliant.

“With the Axway solution, we have a secure and stable solution that runs 24x7, and requires very little intervention on our part. Our operational costs are as low as possible.”

A Multi-Million Dollar Topic

Fewer standards, lower costs, reduced red tape

Reducing the number of exchange standards used within the Dutch government translates to an estimated savings of €500 million in operating and maintenance fees over a period of three years. “With government agencies using a variety of standards and up to seven different ways of exchanging data, it is simply not efficient and cost-effective, particularly with regard to the increase in data exchanges required. Within five to eight years, all entities will have to comply with the standards,” said Koreman.

The need to exchange more information electronically came about with new legislation introduced in 2006. The new law specifies that government agencies are not allowed to ask citizens or businesses to provide information that they have already provided to another government agency. For example, if a business files its taxes with the internal revenue service, and it is applying for a grant from another government agency, that other agency must obtain the information that was already provided directly from the internal revenue service, through secure and standard electronic data exchange. This particular law was designed to reduce red tape for businesses and also to improve service levels for citizens. In the past, businesses were faced with providing the same documents to numerous agencies for diverse purposes. It has been estimated that, with the introduction of this law, red tape for businesses has been reduced by about 25%. The improvement experienced by both citizens and businesses will continue to grow as more government agencies adopt the ebMS and WUS standards.

Many government agencies in the Netherlands have chosen Axway Interchange as their solution for electronic messaging; however, all agencies are, of course, free to choose whatever solution they prefer, as long as it is compliant with the standards as they are implemented within Axway Interchange.

“We’ve noticed that as soon as organizations start exchanging messages compliant with our implementation of ebMS and WUS on Axway Interchange, the number of exchanges grows very rapidly. With the introduction of these standards, you also introduce a new way of working — not based on file exchange, but on message exchange, and on a much higher frequency,” said Koreman.

“We’ve noticed that as soon as organizations start exchanging messages compliant with our implementation of ebMS and WUS on Axway Interchange, the number of exchanges grows very rapidly.”

Keeping Costs Down

While providing a key service

Ultimately, all 900 government agencies in the Netherlands will exchange data using the same open standards. This cohesion will benefit the 16 million inhabitants and one million businesses of the Netherlands, which pay a total of €64 billion in income taxes. However, setting up interoperability between information systems of public administrations is a major challenge. As a central agency, Logius provides the compliance testing service, making it easier for government agencies to adopt the standards without changing their infrastructure. “Basically, The Ministry of the Interior is financing the service for the benefit of the other agencies nationwide. With the Axway solution, we have a secure and stable solution that runs 24x7, and requires very little intervention on our part. Our operational costs are as low as possible,” Koreman concluded.

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