Interoperability. A digital transformation to sustainable information society

State of the art

Scientific Study, 2019

13 Pages, Grade: 7


Abstract. Digital technologies may provide various benefits, as well as interoperability risk and adaptability issues. Human knowledge multiplication accelerated dynamics may lead us to the advanced technologies identification and utilization of various opportunities, as well as technological advancement. In order to harmonize such a technological growth and human development opportunities we aim for systematic approach and interoperability development. When considering the public administration digital transformation, holistic approach challenges may become advantages, due to the acknowledgement and education, so processes of adjustment may bring the identification and solution for many challenges, but also provide a platform for further learning and development.

Keywords. Interoperability (IO), adaptability, public administration digital transformation, holistic approach

1 Introduction

New technologies are increasingly intertwined with the human organism, featuring the strong impact to individuals and organizations. They are actively contributing to the digital transformation, to the achievement and development of sustainable information society (SIS). Human resources and interoperability play the most critical role for all those processes, stressing out the importance of individual characteristics, at first the adaptability for the dramatic environment changes, opening the space for changes and development opportunities.

New “smart” ICT solutions contribute to institutions’ interoperability development and vice versa, providing the synapse role for the interoperability points. It has also a significant impact onto the various aspects of communications, transportation, logistics and other functionalities, but the common success depends on human decisions and the human factors influence.

In order to ensure sustainable systems’ functions and development, organizations’ leaders have to consider human influences, cultural aspects and dimensions, individual characteristics, big 5 or other traits.

Knowledge detection and development, application of new ICT and solutions, lead to additional alignment, adaptation, integration and interoperability between organizations and systems, not so much in technical terms, but primarily in individual, cultural and social adaptability. Education has to provide assumptions for survival in the digital world – providing tools for new knowledge acquiring and its further development.

Interoperability points are becoming the organization synapses’, featuring awareness of increasingly diverse and numerous systems, subsystems and processes, by connecting each one of them with similar or different others, defining new roles and functions.

2 Public administration digital transformation and institutional interoperability – I3O concept

When considering the public administration digital transformation, we need to consider interoperability points as the critical ones for the system. In addition, interoperability impact has to be taken into account, as a kind of organization communication readiness measure, a kind of critical value for any digital transformation solution.

Interoperability is generally described as a continuous potential for receiving and sending data between two or more interconnected units, with a secure level of communication quality and negative impacts excluded from the receiving and sending network. (ISO - Information Technology Vocabulary, 2019)

Organizations are systematically changed, with goals and expectations, within plans, strategies, projects, and it should be kept in mind that every change phase, introducing technological or other solutions, is at the rate at which people can accept it, or through the stages of their adaptation. (Fabac 2017)

Digital business transformation is defined as the process of exploiting digital technologies and supporting capabilities to create a dependable new digital business model. (Gartner, 2019)

The interoperability importance growth, its impact onto public administration digital transformation, is recognized across EU institutions by incorporating them into strategies, the organization and the whole society development. (EU Semester 2018)

Higher levels of interoperability achievement contribute to public administration reform, better cross-sector harmonization, synergy, multiple action reduction, and overlapping through the expanded support framework for interoperability:

- E-Management,
- Public Administration Reforms and
- Governance. (Šimić, 2011)

Interoperability is described as the different systems functionality that enables their common work and the organizations ability for information exchange and business processes using common standards and practices. (IEEEE, 2010)

Interoperability is also described as the ability of different organizations for mutual communication to mutually beneficial and agreed common goals, including the exchange of information and knowledge between organizations, through business processes that support it, data exchange between their IT systems. (IMAPS, 2018)

Considering the most suitable solution for digitally transformed environment and its implementation into organization, organization leaders are aiming for the holistic approach. (Spremić, 2017)

Building the interoperable architecture becomes one of the key priorities, ensuring the collaborative business processes, as “complex networks describe a wide range of systems in nature and society”. The Architecture of Interoperable Information Systems (AIOS), published as a reference for the construction of interoperating systems and model-based enactment of collaborative business processes. (Ziemann, 2010)

Another important point for the interoperability development and implementation is ICT adoption and open-minded organizational culture, ensuring benefits through adoption of new technologies and interoperability. (Ziemba, 2017)

The Inter-institutional Interoperability Concept (I3O) is based on the positive relation of personal characteristics, adaptability at first, and organization resources, in order to ensure the interoperability as a basis for optimizing ICT and organization resources.

I3O is growing in importance, particularly considering cross-national aspect, regional, interinstitutional and global significance.

Human resource and the individual characteristics, a priori adaptability, are growing in importance, supporting the new technologies and organizational solutions adoption, as well as the preparation for the environment changes. This paper aim is to explore the positive correlation between adaptability, education and other individual characteristics, in achieving higher levels of interoperability and building inter-institutional interoperability models (I3O).

The work includes a current situation overview, preparation and selection of samples and methods, data analysis and results’ review, an outline of the research results and reports preparation, and guidelines and conclusions of the research development.

Institution development, digital transformation and public administration reform are largely related to achieving higher levels of interoperability, and the I3O construct - inter-institutional interoperability is the basis for further research and work.

EU member states are particularly interested in the multiple benefits resulting from the cross-border interoperability and recent institutional and ICT trends. The interinstitutional interoperability growth is visible through the national and international programs, projects and activities. (EIS, 2016)

3 IO developments and BCT impact

When searching the interoperability across the Google (February 28th 2019), we got over 23 million search results, indicating interoperability importance growth, compared to previous years’.

EU public sector is facing transformation challenge, as well as structural reforms, efficiency growth needs, new working places, and particularly new technologies and innovation utilization. (Janssen, Ubacht and Ølnes, 2017)

EU public sector is in need for the new development and public services transformation, as well as the most of its member states, in order to meet the growing expectations. One of the mentioned new technologies is Block Chain Technology (BCT), with growing potential in various areas, not only financial and related sectors. Upgrading the public service, large and complex systems, are opening a new area for research and studies, following the stakeholders’ interaction. Recent IO studies upon public administration reform needs are indicating growing influence of BCT. The BCT implementation potential in public administration and large embedded systems has not yet been systematically researched compared to its growing application in the ICT. Most literature often cites growing opportunities of BCT, with one side, and technological advantages on the other hand, but often ignores challenges such as deployment, constraints, materiality and management aspects limiting these potentials. Authors provided an overview of the potential benefits and recognized the government potential to manage the BCT, but also ensured their possible future benefits and challenges. (Janssen, Ubacht and Ølnes, 2017)

There are also strong interconnection potentials for those studies and projects to interoperability maturity models and its further influence to enterprise architecture further development. (Panetto, Jardim-Goncalves and Molina, 2012)

Considering the interoperability constraints, Scholl and Klischewski (2007), cite nine limitations that affect the integration and interoperability of the public administration. These limitations have to be considered at different stages of our model. These are:

1. Constitutional or legal constraints,
2. Jurisdiction limits,
3. Cooperation limits,
4. Organizational constraints,
5. Informational restrictions,
6. Limitations of management,
7. Cost constraints,
8. Technological limits and
9. Performance limits. (Gottschalk, 2009)

While some of the constraints can easily be solved, others should be taken into account in full complexity when determining the optimal degree of interoperability. (Scholl and Klischewski, 2007, Gottschalk, 2009)

3.1 Sustainable interoperability (SIO) and adaptability

Author considered recent works in the area of sustainable interoperability (SIO). (Ziemba, 2017) Following the IT growth, social development has to be harmonized with - values, institutional and citizen integration to society that is changing continuously, with new challenges and opportunities. They utilize SIO towards optimal use, so to ensure growth and development, providing various benefits, but also need caution for this challenging task. The establishment of the sustainable information society (SIS) has become a priority for many countries and regions. Social and technology development are closely tied, as recent studies described the IT influence to growth and development, with high correlation between IT society development and the social-economic growth. That may include business (SME and other businesses) development, food and agriculture industry, services and tourism, particularly public administration, considering each part and level. Considering SIS concept, we have to be aware that IT isn’t the key human activity, regardless of the fact that IT supports majority of human activities. There is obvious trend of IT growth and impact to social and economic development, as well as a strong need to consider IT as a key factor or contributor to SIS. (Ziemba, 2017)

When considering EU new member states, Croatia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Poland and other new MS, they are putting additional efforts to support their administration and interoperability development. Those societies, described as transition societies contributed to further EU social and economic development. Author considered mutual influence and benefits of those related developments, and hope that paper will support the SIO and related concepts.

There is a need for the further research upon:

- Literature review of interoperability contribution to SIO concept and new systems development,
- SIO concepts as critical system communication and development point,
- Description of communication and coordination activities and systems,
- Contribution to theoretical model and construct building, in order to describe future systems growth and development,
- A research methodology and future studies’ presentation to ensure the further studies platform, model definition and implementation, future research. (Ziemba, 2017)


Excerpt out of 13 pages


Interoperability. A digital transformation to sustainable information society
State of the art
University of Zagreb  (University of Zagreb, Croatia)
Organizational development
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
Interoperability (IO), adaptability, public administration digital transformation, holistic approach
Quote paper
Darko Lugonja (Author), 2019, Interoperability. A digital transformation to sustainable information society, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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