Architectural Knowledge Management with Semantic Wikis: An E-Government Case
Remco de Boer
ArchiXL

Abstract:

The Dutch government is currently transforming into what is often referred to as 'e-government'. The objective of e-government is to provide better services to citizens and businesses. To reach this goal, government agencies need to work together, align their business processes and use each other's information. For example, until recently building or renovating a house in the Netherlands required several different permits (e.g., one for demolition, one for construction, one for felling a tree that stands in the way, et cetera), independently issued by different government agencies. As of October 2010, a new law is effective that aggregates a substantial number of permits (about 25 of them) in one ``environmental permit''. Municipalities act as a single point of entry for this permit, while behind the scenes different government agencies are still involved in judging 'their' part of the permit request. Under the new law, it is the government agencies' responsibility to orchestrate their work and reach a joint judgment on the requested permit. Developments like these obviously have tremendous impact on information technology and business processes for all parties involved. In order to reach the necessary level of collaboration, the government has issued the Dutch Government Reference Architecture (NORA). This reference architecture primarily consists of a set of principles that, when adhered to, establish processes and systems that ensure interoperability. The NORA is further refined by more domain-specific reference architectures such as those for municipalities (GEMMA), provinces (PETRA), water control boards (WILMA), civil service (MARIJ), and education (ROSA). Each of these reference architectures falls under the authority of - and is maintained by - a particular governmental body. The reference architectures in turn form the basis for organization-specific enterprise architectures, e.g., for a particular municipality or educational institution. In this colloquium, we will address the question how we can manage the different types of architectural knowledge used and produced in the context of e-government by means of a knowledge management platform based on semantic wikis. We discuss the benefits of semantic wikis as compared to regular wikis, and the way in which they can be employed for managing architectural knowledge. We will particularly look at the distinction between generic and organization-specific architectural knowledge, and investigate how a system of semantic wikis may support reuse of generic (reference architecture) knowledge in an organization-specific context. Concrete examples from the domain of e-government will illustrate the concepts being discussed.