Companies that will not learn to use IT services to the largest extent will not be able to face the competition on international markets

roman stirbuInterview with Roman Stirbu, director at Simpals

When did you start to use the Digital signature and why did you buy it?

 

I bought the Digital Signature when I learned about the possibility to fill in the declaration on the income tax online on www.servicii.fisc.md. My main motivation was the will to avoid standing in queues at the State Fiscal Inspectorate. Everybody knows who priceless time is. For those in the business environment time is money! J

 

What electronic services do you access by means of MDS?

For now, I only use the Digital Signature to fill in the income declaration, but I deem the digitization of Electronic Services is a good thing. I wish there were more services allowing the use of the Digital Signature and it would be great this tendency also extended towards the private sector. We are living in a digital era, when time is running fast. This is why we should make wise investments.

Which are the advantages of the Digital Signature for you as a user?

The biggest advantage is that I only need my mobile phone connected to the Internet – and it is always at hand. Digital Signature sounds complicated, but when you start using it, you realise it is quite easy to use. All you need to do is follow the menu instructions.

What could you suggest to improve the quality of electronic public services?

Currently, there are several virtual signature enabling access to Public Services, and this could be misleading. I believe it would be much easier and simple if all the e-Services could be accessed with the Digital Signature (as for me, I would like to be able to vote online using my Digital Signature). Electronic services could also help us get rid of many bureaucratic practices if public institutions communicated between them.

What do you think is the future of the MDS and Electronic Services in the Republic of Moldova?

I believe the signature will evolve in something more advanced like, for example, a chip planted under skin. You will not have to recharge it or worry you could lose it.

You are a successful businessman. Efficiency is undoubtedly the main criterion in organizing a business. What do you recommend businessmen in terms of using e-Services and the MDS?

We have many clients in other business fields who we provide consultancy in the field of IT, including forecasts on how their volume of sales could increase by provide online payment possibilities or by automating processes. IT services and e-Services are indispensable for every business. Companies that will not learn to use IT services to the largest extent will not be able to face the competition on international markets. One of the main benefits of implementing information and communication technologies is boosting your services and money movement and boosting the national economy.

 

 

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Semnătura Digitală – acces sigur la serviciile publice. Beneficii și provocări

La 23 ianuarie, ne-am întâlnit cu colegi de la instituțiile care beneficiază, reglementează și prestează servicii de Semnătură Digitală precum și cu reprezentanți ai Consiliul Economic de pe lângă prim-ministru. Am discutat despre cum putem eficientiza acest instrument și impedimentele care limitează utilizarea pe scară largă a Semnăturii Digitale de către cetățeni, business și autorități publice.

În cadrul discuțiilor am constatat că în Republica Moldova Semnătura Digitală este valabilă doar un an ( în timp ce în țările UE acest tremen este de 3-5 ani), modalitățile și instrumentele variate de aplicare a semnăturii digitale crează confunzii, iar numărul limitat de servicii publice ce poate fi accesat cu ajutorul ei o face neatractivă

Prestatorii de servicii publice care pot fi accesate cu ajutorul Semnăturii Digitale au cerut reducerea prețului pentru mijloacele de semnătură digitală. Aceștia au făcut referință la nemulțumirile contribuabililor dar și la practica țărilor membre ale Uniunii Europene.

La ședință, am punctat acțiunile necesare pentru asigurarea rezolvării durabile a problemelor ce țin de Semnătura Digitală printre care: extinderea perioadei de valabilitate a semnăturii digitale până la 5 ani, reducerea costurilor mijloacelor pentru semnare, asigurarea interoperabilității mijloacelor de semnare, integrarea serviciilor publice electronice cu serviciul MPass si MSign, pentru a oferi cetățenilor posibilitatea de accesa serviciile publice indiferent de ce mijloc de semnătura digitală posedă și utilizează.

Conștientizăm că fără infrastructuri precum Semnătură Digitală, accesibile și comode, nu putem avansa în implementarea serviciilor de calitate atât de necesară astăzi cetățenilor și mediului de afaceri. Totodată, nu ne va fi ușor să realizăm obiectivul de digitizare a tuturor serviciilor publice care pot fi oferite electronic până în 2020.

Pentru a obține rezultatele dorite de e-Guvernare, Executivul urmează să identifice modalități prin care să asigure disponibilitatea Semnăturii Digitale în condiții foarte accesibile pentru cetățeni, mediul de afaceri și autorități publice. De asemenea, Guvernul trebuie să avanseze în procesul de digitizare a serviciilor publice și integrarea acestora cu Semnatura Digitală pentru a asigura interacțiune și tranzacții securizate prin internet.

 

Iurie Turcanu, Coordonator Tehnologic Sef, Director Executiv Adjunct, Centrul de Guvernare Electronica.

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Benefits and challenges using Digital Signature in digital transactions between business, citizens and government

On January 23, we held a meeting with our colleagues from the institutions –that regulates, provides and benefits of Digital Signature Services, as well as with the representatives of the Economic Council under the Prime Minister. We discussed about various steps that could be taken to streamline the Digital Signature instrument and approached the issue that limits the use at a large scale of the digital signature among citizens, businesses and public authorities.

During the discussions, it was point it out that the digital signature in Moldova is valid for one year only (while in the EU countries its validity is up to 3-5 years). There are too many various methods and tools used to apply the digital signature that confuse its users. The limited numbers of public services that can be accessed by using the digital signature, make it less attractive for citizens.

The state institutions providing public services that may be accessed by using the Digital Signature requested a price reduction for the digital signature devices, due to the taxpayers’ discontent, as well referring to the practice of European Union member states.

During the meeting, were settled steps that needs to be taken in order to eliminate, for a long term, the issues related to the digital signature that includes : extension of the validity of the digital signature from 12 months to up to 5 years, to reduce the signature devices related costs, ensure the signature devices interoperability, integrate the electronic public services with the MPass and MSign services, and provide citizens with the opportunity to access public services regardless of the digital signature device or tool they own and use.

We are aware that without accessible and handy infrastructures of the Digital Signature, we cannot progress in implementing quality services that citizens and business environment – need so much. At the same time we understand that it will be not an easy way to digitize all public services that are planned to be provided by 2020.

To obtain the results aimed by the e-Government, the Executive shall identify ways to insure the availability of the Digital Signature under very accessible conditions for the citizens, the business environment and the public authorities. The Government must move forward in the public services’ digitization and their integration with the Digital Signature, to ensure secured Internet interactions and transactions.

 

Iurie Turcanu, Chief Technology Officer, Deputy Director, e-Government Center/Government Chief Information Office, Moldova

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e-Government Newsletter

newsletter_egov_january-1 copy

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World Bank study: Open data for economic growth

Banca-Mondiala--Tarile-in-curs-de-dezvoltare-sa-se-astepte-la-un-soc-economic“Data usefulness depends not only on the availability of information itself, but also on the ideas and the tools for their creative and effective use.

Despite the difficulties in estimating the real economic impact of open data, their huge potential can not be denied.

Open-Data-for-Economic-Growth study highlights the beneficial economic and social impact of open data, based on a coagulation of monetary and statistical arguments.

Although opening of data is a relatively new initiative, a number of studies have been conducted, which collect evidence of the social implications of open data at the micro and macro-economic level on the one hand and serve as pillars in policy- and decision-making on the other hand.

Thus, a study by Vickery estimates that the (direct and indirect) benefits of open data for the overall economy of the EU reached an approximate value of 200 million Euro in 2008, at that time accounting for 1.7% of EU’s GDP.

A more recent study conducted in the UK (2013) estimates the direct economic benefits of open data to 1.8 billion pounds per year. Looking at the overall impact of open data (direct and indirect benefits), the values ​​amount to 6.8 billion pounds.

Another study revealed that the infomedia sector in Spain (companies that sell services based on open data) currently comprises 150 entities (4,000 employees), generating 330-350 million EUR annually, which can be assigned to the series of benefits of open data.

Although the studies were conducted in different time periods and concerned the economy of different countries, they revealed three identical key issues:

  1. Although the DIRECT economic benefit of companies that deliver services based on open data is remarkable, most of the benefits of open data are INDIRECT. These benefits are felt by end users of services;
  2. Open data generate new types of re-users of information, particularly SMEs, and new business types, living from advertising, without burdening the end user of the service;
  3. The value of open data is not limited to presence of information itself, but consists of a combination of data, data use ideas and proper infrastructure.
  4. The difficulty of assessing the benefits of open data is explained by the impossibility of separating data from the value of innovation on the one hand and by the real benefits of open data that are felt over time on the other hand.

Open data generate new types of re-users of information, particularly SMEs, and new business types, living from advertising, without burdening the end user of the service.

Another difficulty derives from entrepreneurs’ habit to enter the market with a service and then search for the information needed to improve that service, although the process should begin with development of a service based on open data available at a time.

Entrepreneurs have the habit of entering the market with a service and then search for the information needed to improve that service, while the process should begin with the development of a service based on open data available at a given time.

Thus, there has been an increase in the number of companies in North America and Western Europe specializing in the development of services based on open data and companies adapting their work so as to integrate open data in their services. Some of these companies have achieved impressive results, with a market value of over USD 3 billion, or companies that record annual sales of over 70 million pounds. (Case studies presented in the World Bank’s study).

Types of businesses established due to open data:

  • Suppliers: companies/organizations publishing the data in an open form, allowing data reuse;
  • Collectors: companies that collect and aggregate data;
  • Enrichers: companies that use open data to improve their products and services;
  • Developers: companies and freelancers that protect and develop open data based web applications;
  • Enablers: entities that provide platforms and technologies to be used by individuals and entrepreneurs.

Many governments have already launched “Open Data” programs to make information accessible both to ordinary citizens and business. For most governments, policy objectives are a mixture of incentives:

  • Economic growth, including business innovations, creation of jobs;
  • Citizen participation in improving public services possible only through complete information on the service operation standards;
  • Increased transparency and accountability;
  • Increased efficiency of public services themselves, with improvement of decision making processes due to data opening.

Despite multiple “Open Data” programs, the potential of open data has not been fully harnessed yet. Even the countries that have been the first to open the data still have much to do in order to transform data opening and use into a sustainable process with economic and social impact.

In achieving this objective, governments play a key role, and their participatory approach means awareness and acceptance of 4 distinct roles:

Government – supplier – opens the data it holds, data which are indispensable for economic development;

Government – leader – develops and provides policy support and tools / levers to encourage other institutions to open data relevant to the development of innovation and business environment;

Government – catalyst – serves as a catalyst for data use by maintaining an adequate infrastructure for data movement;

Government – user – by own example promotes use of data in public institutions at national and regional level.

Moreover, it is critical that governments perceive open data as a determinant of innovation in all area of economic activity, not just IT.

The key issue in all this proces is delivery of information which is detailed enough, without compromising the national security and the privacy rights protection policies.

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“Cloud in a Box” for the Government of Moldova

The Government of Moldova has completed successfully piloting the use of Cloud Computing by ministries and government agencies. Launched on February 2013 with the World Bank support, the private government cloud (MCloud) is now used by 19 government ministries and agencies to deliver eGovernment services to the public. The major MCloud products – IaaS, MPass (government authentication and access control service), MSign (government digital signature service), and MPay (government electronic payment gateway) – are all experiencing rapid take-up, both by the government clients and citizens. Electronic services hosted on the MCloud Platform are in highly demanded and adopted by the public. The e-Government Center/Government CIO in partnerships with sectorial ministries are piloting new services for content management, document management and data exchange, to support governance digital transformation and modernization and improved public service-delivery. Because of its popularity, MCloud Phase I has reached the limits of its capacity in year from the launching. Also, in order to improve its resilience and security, the second, remote data center is required.

Building on this success, we have recently released the bid document for procurement of MCloud Phase II, which will be installed in a remote data center (http://bit.ly/1neZdYN). The extra infrastructure will give at least a threefold increase in the capacity of MCloud Platform, and additional resilience from a second data center and distributed cloud resources. MCloud Phase II will also extend our self-service capabilities, and provide for new backup and archiving services.

The bid document has a broad scope including a freestanding modular data center, virtualization platform, storage and archiving infrastructure and tools, and cloud management software, all to be delivered by a single prime vendor. We have developed the bid document in line with our core principles of technology-neutral specification, transparency and fair competition, and best value for the investment of government funds.

The work we are doing marks another level of innovation in the use of Cloud Computing by governments. We are seeking the widest range of responses from the market so that we can select the best partner to work with us to achieve our vision of governance digital transformation.

By Iurie Turcanu, Government CTO, Deputy-Director, e-Government Center/Government CIO

www.egov.md

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Digital Agenda for Europe

To promote awareness and knowledge exchange on EU Digital Agenda, e-Government Center continues the series of interviews and presentations about Digital Agenda for Europe and best e-Government practices from the EU member states.

In this context we present you Francisco Garcia Moran that will tell us more about EU experience

What are the key objectives of the Digital Agenda for Europe and the EU e-Governament Action Plan and what is the European Commission doing to advance in its implementation

The objective of this Agenda is to chart a course to maximise the social and economic potential of ICT, most notably the internet, a vital medium of economic and societal activity for:

  • doing business
  • working, playing
  • communicating and expressing ourselves freely

Leading to innovation, economic growth and improvements in daily life for both citizens and businesses.

dsafsdThe potential of ICT can be mobilized through a well-functioning virtuous cycle of activity. Attractive content and services need to be made available in an interoperable and borderless internet environment.

This stimulates demand for higher speeds and capacity, which in turn creates the business case for investments in faster networks. The deployment and take-up of faster networks in turn opens the way for innovative services exploiting higher speeds.

This process is illustrated in the outer ring of Figure 1.

 

 

7  most significant obstacles that undermine efforts to exploit ITC:

  • Fragmented digital markets
  • Lack of interoperability
  • Rising cybercrime and risk of low trust in networks
  • Lack of investment in networks
  • Insufficient research and innovation efforts
  • Lack of digital literacy and skills
  • Missed opportunities in addressing societal challenges

The Digital Agenda for Europe frames its key actions around the need to systematically tackle these seven problem areas, which as a horizontal initiative spans, the three growth dimensions set out in Europe 2020.

The European eGovernment Action Plan 2011-2015  (Harnessing ICT to promote smart, sustainable & innovative Government)

The Digital Agenda for Europe  sets eGovernment within a comprehensive set of measures aimed at exploiting the benefits of information and communication technologies (ICT) across Europe.

The implementation of the first European eGovernment Action Plan  saw governments across all Member States exchange good practice, and resulted in a number of large-scale pilot projects which are developing concrete solutions for rolling out cross-border eGovernment services.

EU-wide electronic identity systems are coming into existence, which will enable people to access public services electronically across the EU .

The Commission is therefore proposing a second eGovernment Action Plan which aims to realise the ambitious vision contained in the declaration made at the 5th Ministerial eGovernment Conference (the ‘Malmö Declaration’ ), which was also supported by industry and by a citizens’ panel .

According to this ambitious vision, by 2015 European public administrations will be “recognised for being open, flexible and collaborative in their relations with citizens and businesses. They use eGovernment to increase their efficiency and effectiveness and to constantly improve public services in a way that caters for user’s different needs and maximises public value, thus supporting the transition of Europe to a leading knowledge- based economy.”

Governments need to provide better public services with fewer resources. Each of the political priorities identified in Malmö, works towards that aim.

This Action Plan contributes towards fulfilling two key objectives of the Digital Agenda for Europe, in particular :

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One of the major activities in the EU eGovernment Agenda is related to what is called the Large Scale Projects (LSPs). They are developed under the motto

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The LSPs have been developed and run under the ICT Policy Support Programme in five main areas:

  • eID
  • eProcurement
  • eBusiness
  • eHealth
  • eJustice

Seven LSPs are piloting a number of solutions, or building blocks, that enable cross-border digital services in the above-mentioned policy areas.

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These solutions are bringing down the digital borders in Europe, many years after the physical barriers were already removed.

Cloud Computing

In September 2012, the European Commission adopted a strategy for “Unleashing the Potential of Cloud Computing in Europe”.

The strategy outlines actions to deliver a net gain of 2.5 million new European jobs, and an annual boost of €160 billion to the European Union GDP (around 1%), by 2020. The strategy is designed to speed up and increase the use of cloud computing across all economic sectors.

The strategy includes three key actions:

1. Safe and Fair Contract Terms and Conditions

–    providing contractual parties with a uniform set of rules

The aim of the cloud computing strategy is to develop model contract terms that would regulate issues not covered by the Common European Sales Law such as:

  • data preservation after termination of the contract,
  • data disclosure and integrity,
  • data location and transfer,
  • ownership of the data,
  • direct and indirect liability change of service by cloud providers and subcontracting.

2. Cutting through the Jungle of Standards

Cutting through the jungle of technical standards so that cloud users enjoy interoperability, data portability and reversibility is one of the aims of the strategy.

3. Establishing a European Cloud Partnership

The European Cloud Partnership (ECP) brings together industry experts and public sector users to work on common procurement requirements for cloud computing in an open and fully transparent way.

Key priority projects of the EC to to promote mobility of EU citizens in the EU Digital Market.

Citizens of Europe should be able to move and reside freely across Europe. In this area Member States and the Commission will work together to develop services for increasing the mobility of people who want to move between European countries for e.g. study, work, health care, residence and/or retirement.

The envisaged actions should ensure the development of interoperable services enabling citizens to communicate, perform transactions, and send and receive electronic documents and information to and from public administrations across the EU. These will allow for delivering secure cross-border exchange and safe storage of electronic information (eDelivery of documents and information).

Comment on Moldova’s efforts to catch up through Mobile eID, MCloud Platform, MPay – electronic payment gateway, Interoperability Platform.

“I can only congratulate the CGE and the political authorities for the actions carried out up to now, setting the basis for the rapid development of digital services”

Mobile eID was the first strategic choice and an important enabler for the deployment of eGovernment services. If citizens cannot be identified and authenticated properly, no real electronic service, other than the primitive publishing information or downloading forms, can be provided.

The public sector MCloud has been set up with those objectives in mind and is gradually gathering interest among the government organizations and agencies.

Facilitating the electronic payment of taxes can contribute to overcome the problems mentioned above. The MPay platform, developed in collaboration with the telecom companies and the banks, is the right answer to the problem and again using the mobile to facilitate payments is the best approach since it has become pervasive.

eGovernment services are seldom the result of processes carried out by a single administrative organization. They have to be, from the point of view of the users, seamless and crossing the organizational borders.

The Interoperability Platform is the right answer to the challenge mentioned above.

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With an experience of than 30 years working on IT, IT infrastructure and IT solutions related fields, Francisco García Morán holds now the position of European Commission’s Chief IT Advisor at European Commission.

Francisco García Morán hods a Degree in Mathematics “Numerical Analysis and Applied Statistics”, University of Sevilla, Spain Degree in Computer Science, Polytechnic University of Madrid “Spain”, Oct.77 to June 81. He joined the European Commission (EC) in November 1986.


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