IADIS International Conference E-Commerce
Friday, December 7, 2007
Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) is gaining momentum as a platform for heterogeneous e-Government systems. With SOA e-Government is perceived as a collection of Web services. A real-life event (e.g. a newborn) triggers a sequence of a number of services. This sequence is usually part of a process. A process has input requirements and produces a final output (e.g. a printed birth certificate). For a government there is a myriad of processes. Not all services are electronic though. This depends on the maturity of the e-Government endeavour. For all processes, the sequence of services must be fed somehow into the system. This enables the system to discern what services to invoke and what input requirements are needed for each process. Electronic services can be invoked instantly. Traditional ones are flagged to be carried out manually. Processes take the form of if-then scenarios. This paper proposes the use of a rule-based approach to define processes. As we shall see, this approach eases the maintainability of the plethora of e-Government processes. It does not incur recoding of applications should there be a change to one or more processes. A process sequence is not uniform for the same type of event. Two citizens/customers having the same real-life event can go through different sequences of a process to get the same output. Our rule-based approach can inherently automatically inform the citizen what input requirement is missing and why. It can also inform the citizen why a process sequence is particularly so for his/her case. This raises transparency to a great extent. Our approach is intuitive and natural. It makes it easier for public servants themselves lacking traditional programming skills to update the rules. To validate our approach we have built a prototypical tool to assist process implementation.