The Ministry of Interior

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
E-Government is one of the key elements for public service innovation. As the demand for the information systems becomes more diverse and complex, the systematic procedures and tools for software development have become critical to improve development-productivity and reduce costs for building information systems. These tools, which are called software frameworks, have been used for the efficient implementation of most e-Government services. Before this initiative, only a few large companies were capable of utilizing and realizing the benefits of these software frameworks, which required not only a lot of manpower but also increased costs for development. The frameworks of large corporations are provided in the form of Black Boxes modules without disclosing their source codes. It has made the bidding processes of e-Government services uncertain and thus has become one of the causes of undermining fair competition and transparency in the public IT market. As a result, e-Government service development projects were naturally monopolized by large companies which widened the opportunity gap between large and small enterprises in the market. These problems have increased the cost of software development and the difficulties of maintenance and updates. In addition, since the software frameworks of each company were different from one another, a software module developed for one system could not be applied to another that adopts a different framework, even when the system is implemented for the same function. Moreover, some systems would have to be developed again from the beginning when the developer companies changed. Due to the technological dependency caused by the unique characteristics of each software framework, this became one of the main issues leading to the problem of vendor dependency that has made it difficult to change development companies easily. From the citizen's perspective, there was a great demand for an integrated online service window where citizens could use different e-Government services. In order to provide such services, the South Korean government wanted to integrate various e-Government systems which had been developed on different software frameworks, but the aforementioned problems served as key stumbling blocks to e-Government integration.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
In order to solve the already stated problems, the South Korean government developed and released for free an open source, code-based standard software framework named "eGovFrame" (e-Government Software Development Framework) as well as common functions that are frequently used in government systems. To apply and spread eGovFrame across the whole of the government, the South Korean government enacted laws and regulations which recommended government organizations and developer companies to adopt eGovFrame for all software development projects in the public sector. For the sustainable operation and development of eGovFrame, the government has made continuous investments and built an open community that all stakeholders of the both private and public sectors can take part in.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
eGovFrame has become an open technology standard for implementing e-Government services and solved the stated problems in the following ways: First, the deployment of eGovFrame has increased the transparency of e-Government initiatives by eliminating the dependency on monopolized and opaque software technologies owned by a few large corporations. Second, the development and maintenance of the e-Government systems became much more efficient and easier to develop leading to cost effectiveness of these systems. Third, the reuse of software which was developed and verified for e-Government services has enhanced both the quality and stability of e-Government systems and helped to deliver high-quality public services to the public. eGovFrame improved the quality of peoples’ lives as follows: First, an open standard framework, training programs, and technical support has been provided free of charge and enabled all IT SMEs as well as all developers to be equipped with relevant knowledge and know-how to narrow the technological gap between large companies and small or medium sized enterprises. Second, it helped e-Government systems to promptly respond to the demands for new services and to improve existing services effectively so that the citizens are able to use more convenient public services online. Third, as the integration and interoperability between different e-Government systems has become easier, citizens are able to enjoy integrated public services with much more convenience.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
This project has a creative and innovative implementation model in that it has been developed as an open innovation based on a unique private-public partnership model where the outputs have been used in a way to innovate public services. Many governments around the world are encouraging the use of open-source software, but a lack of confidence in both the quality and availability of technical support has made it difficult to apply open-source products to key government services. The South Korean government adopted the eGovFrame as a government-wide standard software technology for the first time in the world to be used for public service development and made all the source codes publicly available that reflected various forms of feedback from both the public and private sectors. The feedback was collected through briefing sessions, public hearings, roundtable discussions, and opinions from the online eGovFrame portal site. In addition, it overcame any shortcomings of open source software through constant quality control, updates as well as relevant technical support. These innovations have created an open software ecosystem for public service development and provided SMEs with more business opportunities open to them in public sector projects.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
The implementing bodies of this initiative are the Ministry of the Interior and the National Information Society Agency (NIA). This initiative benefits four groups. The First group is 85,000 eGovFrame community developers and the members of the eGovFrame portal. They are playing an important role in the software development ecosystem in Korea, participating in the development of eGovFrame through collaborative work projects such as presenting technical issues and opinions on various sites and utilizing the latest version of eGovFrame reflecting the new technology. More than 1,500 development companies and solution providers which include both big companies and SMEs can be categorized as the second beneficiary group. The third beneficiary group includes more than 1.62 million domestic software developers (Software Policy & Research Institute estimated in 2014) including 2,268 developers who have been involved in 17 overseas projects in 9 countries, for which eGovFrame has been deployed. The fourth group includes more than 30 million citizens or 76.7% of the total Korean population (e-Government service utilization survey, 2015) - who have used 695 e-Government services (as of the end of 2016) to which this project has been applied.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
From December 2007 to June 2008, a strategy was established that included a design model for eGovFrame development through the Information Strategy Planning (ISP) and established an annual implementation plan based on a phased approach. From November 2008 to November 2009, the first and second phase of the initiative was conducted in collaboration with large enterprises such as Samsung SDS, LG CNS, SK C&C and six SMEs including Tmax Soft to develop JAVA platform-based eGoveFrame and 172 types of common components. As a result, eGovFrame version 1.0 was released. During the third phase from April to November, 2010, the government constructed 47 kinds of common components and earned the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) certification. In the fourth phase from April to November 2011, upgraded and lightweight versions of open source were developed and mobile framework of eGovFrame was implemented, while Version 2.0 was released. Through this kind of planned and gradual approach, eGovFrame Version 3.6 was launched in December 2016. The key functions of the eGovFrame were developed based on 45 open source software products that were proven viable and effective by the e-Government common-service system development project. More than 200 people have been involved in the initiative from over 20 organizations through private-public partnership cooperation arrangements that have included; government, large corporations, SMEs, and private developers. The Ministry of the Interior invested KRW 18.5 billion over the course of six years in software development and KRW 1.5 billion has been invested annually to support maintenance and proliferation of eGovFrame since 2011.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
Various entities such as government agencies, large corporations, SMEs, open SW developer communities, academic societies and associations were involved in the design and implementation of eGovFrame. The government, led by the Ministry of Interior and the National Information Society Agency (NIA), have invested manpower and financial resources and supervised the initiative by encouraging private sector participation. Large corporations such as Samsung, LG and SK participated in the development by making the use of their extensive experience in developing and using the existing frameworks and contributed human resources to the development of eGovFrame. Small and medium-sized IT companies with technological prowess have contributed their products and human resources in the development and provided feedback on the eGovFrame. Individual developers helped to build an open ecosystem through various community activities, and reflected citizens’ opinions to the development community through public hearings and conferences. The Korea IT Service Industry Association (60 companies), IT Service Society, Korea Commercial SW Association (200 companies), Information Processing Society, and Administrative Societies engaged in communication, promotion and outreach activities that contributed to raising awareness of the project.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
The most successful outputs of this initiative and its achievements are in line with SDGs can be summarized as follows: First, by expanding educational opportunities through regular free training programs (144 times, 6,519 people) and open community technology seminars (75 times, 13,329 people) which are open to all, this initiative serves and satisfies "SDG 4 (Quality education)". Second, eGovFrame has been used in 695 domestic e-Government projects, amounting to KRW 1.7 trillion in total. As the deployment of eGovFrame for e-Government service development has expanded, the market shares of IT SMEs and individual developers have dramatically increased. It contributes to "SDG 8 (Decent work and economic growth)". Third, eGovFrame has been established as a standard technology infrastructure for building and operating of e-Government systems and has been applied to 49% of Korea‘s e-Government services. To date, the total number of downloads comes to 566,934 and 78,000 developers have joined the community. In addition, eGovFrame has also been applied to the public cloud environment which has been developed and administered by the Korean government. This is in line with "SDG 9(Industry, innovation and infrastructure)". Fourth, eGovFrame is provided free of charge to all, thereby eliminating the gaps in technology and the number of business opportunities between large enterprises and small, medium-sized IT companies. As a result, the participation rate of IT SMEs in the e-Government system development market went up from 29% to over 90%. Moreover, the technology has been transferred to 17 overseas projects in 9 countries amounting to KRW 56.7 billion. This has enabled eGovFrame, which is one of the world's best e-Government technologies and experiences, to be utilized in other countries as well, contributing to narrowing the technological gap and digital divide both within countries and between countries. It serves to "SDG 10(Reduce inequalities)". Fifth, eGovFrame has 251 reusable built-in software function modules with proven quality and stability, which have been until now continuously used in the development of e-Government systems. In addition, eGovFrame has been widely used for the development of commercial solutions which are applied to not only public services but also private businesses. There are currently 114 types of commercial solutions whose compatibility with eGovFrame has been certified. This meets "SDG 12(Responsible consumption and production)".

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
The biggest obstacle was a lack of awareness and the misunderstanding of each of the stakeholders that the initiative would conflict with their own interests. SMEs were dissatisfied with learning techniques which seemed useless and/or unnecessary to them and were afraid that their lack of expertise would lead to reduced opportunities for market participation and penetration, while large companies were reluctant to participate because they were worried that they could lose their own market share they previously monopolized and dominated through their own propriety frameworks. Concerns about a lack of sustainability, such as continuous technical support, system stability, as well as education and training, were the biggest hurdles for government agencies and local governments, who are the main stakeholders in charge of e-Government system development projects. We were able to successfully overcome problems and challenges through the following efforts: First, the government encouraged both large companies and SMEs to jointly participate in activities for development and proliferation, helping companies to build up their own confidence with regards to open software standards, and promoting a win-win cooperation between them; Second, we continued to hold training programs, meetings, forums, seminars, and conferences in order to raise stakeholder’s awareness; and Third, succeeded in building a dynamic ecosystem by releasing open source software versions and updates, results of the initiative, and continually has been providing training and technology transfer programs to corporations and individual developers, free of charge. Fourth, not only companies, but also individual eGovFrame community users can now apply eGovFrame to many development projects. A member of the community said: "Now, eGovFrame makes it easy to solve problems that previously had taken a lot of time to prepare for development in the past. Now developers can easily participate in its development and communicate with other developers just by knowing eGovFrame."

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
First, by using a standardized and proven software, the quality (stability, security, convenience, and accessibility) of e-Government services has been dramatically improved and numerous challenges caused by service interruptions, errors and delays have all been fully addressed. This can be confirmed by the result of a survey carried out on e-Government service operation staff in each department where over 92% of the respondents answered they recognized the improvement in the quality of e-Government services (refer to the presentation on the standard framework best practices, 2016). Second, by providing the software development environment based on open source to everyone for free, not only, the dependency on particular technologies and companies could be eliminated but also the improvement of fairness and transparency of e-Government system development projects could be increased as well. Third, by providing developers with software development training programs for free even though these programs were usually offered at a high cost and only available by expensive professional training courses, it enabled the less privileged who probably could not have received such quality training in the past to easily attend software development training programs and upgrade their knowledge and skill sets. Fourth, IT SMEs have enhanced their technological competitiveness using eGovFrame as a standardized software framework that only large companies used to be equipped with. In addition, a manpower shortage has been relieved by fostering a wide range of the talents with SW development experience with the necessary knowledge and skills. Above all, participation in the e-Government service market, which was dominated by a small number of large corporations became much easier to enter and become not only competent but also competitive enterprises in this market. According to government surveys from 2003 to 2007, large corporations monopolized over 71% of e-Government initiatives ISP for development of e-Government common service management system, June 2008). However, after this initiative, statistics demonstrate that small businesses now account for more than 90% of the e-Government service market. Fifth, the problem of developing the same functions redundantly for each project when using different frameworks was minimized and unnecessary financial waste of the budget could be prevented. Through efficient budget management, more e-Government services to the public with limited resources could be more readily provided. Sixth, the monopoly problem that was caused by being subordinated to a big company’s specific framework was solved for in this case that a system was developed based on this very framework so the monopoly was eased significantly. Seventh, companies and developers are now free to receive eGovFrame training and can use eGovFrame technology for all government projects.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
Prior to the application of eGovFrame, excessive competition remained and a possibility of collusion between providers to increase the dependency on their own software framework existed. For example, if a particular system was built upon Company A‘s framework, that framework would have to be used for any upgrade and maintenance projects as well. In this case, it would result in technology lock-in, which made other companies apart from Company A, not able to participate in such projects. In addition, SMEs that did not have their own software framework could seldom participate in the e-Government service market in the past. However, with the adoption of the standard technology called eGovFrame, the technical dependency issue has been resolved and both fairness and transparency of procurement have been improved. The participation rate of SMEs, grew from 29% to 90% by using eGovFrame according to a RFP analysis of the ordering system of the Public Procurement System (PPS). eGoveFrame has been applied to more than 49% of e-Government services as of 2016 without relying on specific companies’ technologies with the government developing standard technology infrastructures and continuously managing quality control in a responsible manner.

 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)
The Ministry of the Interior and the National Information Society Agency (NIA) definitely have provided free software development training programs for any developers in SMEs, freelancers and non-professional developers including women and girls to acquire or enhance their knowledge, skills and capacity in order to actively participate in e-Government service development projects. In addition, online resources such as development guides (wikis) and technical guides are offered for free, which greatly expands the opportunities for people in the technology-vulnerable classes to upgrade their knowledge and experience in order to land a job in any relevant fields.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   The Ministry of Interior
Institution Type:   Ministry  
Contact Person:   Ethan Byounghun Choi
Title:   e-Government Bureau Information Resource Policy  
Telephone/ Fax:   +82-70-8795-1223 / +82-70-8795-1231
Institution's / Project's Website:  
Address:   #1008, 209, Sejong-daero,(Sejong-ro), Jongno-gu
Postal Code:   03171
City:   Seoul
State/Province:   Seoul

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