| 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
The implementation strategy has been characterized by different milestones in its path which can be summarized as follows:
1) Evaluation of the contest
2) Editing of technical requirements and consolidation of the paper document templates in a a small number of digital document classes
3) Development of an action plan with costs and construction specifications
4) Presentation of the Action Plan to the government co-sponsor for follow-up and acceptance
5) Definition of resources and consequent fundraising
6) Software design and development
7) Technical realization of the project
8) Assembly of the hardware infrastructure
9) Test and inspection
10) Physical setup of the document management platform
11) Consolidation of results
12) Progressive consolidation of a project for a data transmission network dedicated to secure interconnection between Headquarters and Branch Offices (S-RIPA, the International Network of Public Administration). This infrastructure is the connective tissue necessary for the operation of the document management platform
13) Extension of the implementation to foreign Branch Offices.
The sustainability of the project is ensured, from the economic point of view, by sections specifically dedicated to this within budget provisions. From the technical point of view, the flexibility of the choice of technology adopted allows to work constantly in designing evolutions to the system (often prompted by user request) through updates that are implemented even on a bi-weekly basis.
| 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
The groups that have shaped the initiative are:
INSIDE THE ORGANIZATION:
High tier: they have managed to balance the need for production process improvement with the increases in cost, service and quality, in accordance with the Law
Low tier: they contributed concretely to the improvement and streamlining of processes and procedures to be planned. This has laid the foundation for a working environment favourable to fostering excellence in Government.
Users: they were able to find in the tool new creative and innovative approaches to the management of administrative procedures, in compliance with the Law. This has permitted the pursuit of an increase in professional efficiency and personal productivity
The Agency for Digital Italy (AGID): by the co-financing of the project it has recognized the innovative value of the experience to convey to other government agencies
The citizens: with the expression of the need for efficient and effective services they have influenced in particular the development of the multi-channel capabilities of the platform
Businesses: they need a useful and effective support outside the Country, that only the digital document management platform of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs can provide.
| 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
Initially, the necessary resources to the development and sustainability of the project were not proportionate to the resources available in the expenditure budget of the office. It was thus decided to pursue a course which, by involving other governmental units dedicated to this purpose, has made it possible to integrate ordinary budget funds with a specific co-funding operation to insure full coverage of needs.
The overall budget was 5.2 M €, of which 1.2 M € paid by the Ministry and 3.8 M € delivered by the sponsor.
The costs incurred for the implementation and maintenance of the project to date are as follows:
- Total cost of the project to completion of the platform (analysis and drafting of technical requirements, analysis and technical design, coding, testing and integration, installation, commissioning, progressive maintenance, technical infrastructure, hardware, etc.): approximately 3.1 M € for external costs, 0.4 M € for internal costs
- Availability costs for the foreign branch office network: about 0.5 M €
- Average yearly maintenance cost (external resources for system support, evolution maintenance, system updates, etc.) 0.4 M €
- Resources are still available to the office amounting to 0.8 M €, to be used for the year 2015.
| 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
In addition to the benefits listed in item B.2, there have been many awards received outside the organization in relation to the presentation and implementation of the Action Plan in the Headquarter.
Awards And Accolades Received At National Level
2011 – FORUMPA, " Less Paper More Value" Award, Certificate of Excellence in the category "Digital Document Workflow"
2012 – SMAU, “ICT Innovation in Lazio Region" Award
Platform Re-Use Requests
Central Government Authority for the Protection of Personal Data
Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and of Tourism
Senate of the Republic of Italy
Introduction of “Project@doc” among the templates considered for the national implementation of a document management platform common to all PA (SGPA) overseen by the Agency for Digital Italy (AGID).
| 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
The designations of unique domain (MFA) and homogeneous organizational areas (combinations of several offices that interact for collaborative purposes) as well as the adherence to rules and procedures specified by legislation - which include, among others, the writing of registration metadata in only in two cases of the document life cycle - have produced a drastic reduction of documents requiring formal registration allowing for a reduction in gross production time. In fact, these classifications have produced, at a stabilized regime, savings of thousands of registration transactions per year avoiding legal obligation to use a digital signature even if the document travels between AOO of the same domain, with obvious advantages that also affect legal archiving.
For objective evaluation purposes, the following parameters were considered:
- Paper Consumption- the completion of a digital process of managing multiple document classes, the widespread adoption of digital streams and re-designing of processes related to administrative procedures made it possible to achieve a considerable reduction in the volume of paper previously used for the production of documents: a consumption of 17 million sheets of paper per year has been reduced to about 9 million; to this should be added the economic savings induced by reduced consumption (printers, toner, maintenance, etc.).
- Document registration time - the time required by registration processes was reduced to the time required by the machines for all document classes in use, with the exception of some sporadic manual intervention.
This reduction has been estimated at 7 man-days / year for each office (approximately 750 man-days per year).
- Delay in availability - is the drastic reduction of time delay in the availability of documents as far as electronic handling is concerned and the ensuing improvement and upgrading of the entire administrative process, to the benefit of end users. This balances to a recovery of efficiency and effectiveness in the administration to the end of serving the citizen. The delay in the availability of the document, downstream of the assignment stage has been reduced to only "time machine" terms.
- Time to search for indexed documents - the massive adoption of a single document platform has reached the added benefit of significantly augmenting the capability to carry out file searches (decrease of search time).
| 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
The first challenge that the development team has had to face has been the resistance to change working habits in an environment where methods had been long established.
To solve this, demonstration sessions were organized comprising 28 classroom meetings with 2800 students to publicize the principles of collaborative document management; a comprehensive user's manual has been made available supplied with updated practical examples (how-to); a platform for e-learning content related to the subject was also put forth to the user.
Such implementation has generated considerable financial effort. The enactment of the initiative was made possible by the individuation of a co-funding partner complying to support part of the economic burden.
Subsequently, sustainability of the project became a priority. By the former one means the persistence of follow-up management once the development phase had been terminated. To this end, the project was included among permanent items in the budget of expenditures of the office supervising the Action Plan.
To overcome the need for a data transmission network which would be secure, reliable and available at the time of the extension of the platform abroad, the deployment activities have been synchronized with the parallel plan of improvement of connectivity and security called S-RIPA. This is a dedicated data network deployed to ensure uniform standards enforcement in foreign locations spread in most countries in the world presenting the most diverse technological conditions.