PA and Softwares: between Open Source and Reuse

“Italia Digitale 2026”:  the ambitious goal set by the Italian National Recovery Plan (PNRR), allocating 6.74 billions to cover all investments in Digitization for the Public Administration.

What are the objectives? The NRP’s objectives for the PAs are to get them to use cloud services at the 75%; to reach at least the 80% of core services delivered online; to reach, in collaboration with Mise, the 100% of Italian households and businesses with ultra-broadband networks.

In fact, as written in the NRP “The objective is to make the Public Administration the best “ally” of citizens and businesses, offering increasingly efficient and easily accessible services.

How does the choice of a Software for the PAs work?

The changes incoming for the Public Administration and the impending need to adapt to the evolution will lead many public entities to undertake a software selection journey, for this reason clear and precise  guidelines on the subject have been prepared.

As shown on the AgID website, the use of reusable Open Source softwares is promoted. There are various benefits to this choice: cost saving, interoperability, possibility to avoid the vendor lock and ensuring that the personal data of citizens/users are kept under control.

The Obligation to Adopt Reusable and Open Source solutions

The analysis, selection and procurement process is regulated by art. 68 and 69, in particular: “Public administrations acquire computer programs or parts thereof in compliance with the principles of cost-effectiveness and efficiency, protection of investments, reuse and technological neutrality, following a comparative technical and economic evaluation among the following solutions available on the market”.

  1. Comparative Assessment: the first stage of the procurement process starts with the comparative assessment of the various available solutions on the market, the main criteria to be considered are the following:
      1. Overall cost: or better the solution’s Total Cost of Ownership, which includes the purchase, implementation, maintenance and support
      2. Use of open (or Open Source) data formats or interfaces
      3. Use of interoperability standards
      4. Appropriate security levels regarding both the software and the supplier
      5. Data protection compliance
      6. Service levels provided by the supplier in compliance with Service Level Agreements (SLAs) identified by the public administration
  1. Identification of the needs: during this stage the potential needs, constraints and tangible needs that the PA could have are analyzed and the type of software needed is identified
  2. Analysis of Reusable and Open Source solutions once defined the “what”, meaning the needs to be satisfied, it is necessary to think about the “how”, that is to identify a software. As written in the AGiD guidelines, priority is given first to Reusable ones, moving on to Open Source solutions in case the former do not meet the PA’s needs. Therefore, turning to proprietary solutions remains a last resort.

Developers Italia: the official portal for software selection

Developers Italia is the official portal at the service of the Public Administrations, where they can either look for softwares already in use by other administrations, and hence reusable, or consult the list of recognized Open Source softwares among which they have full freedom of choice.

Consulting the portal is an essential and compulsory step in the process of implementing a software solution among public administrations.

In fact, all the solutions collected on the website have been subjected to careful analysis and fully comply with the standards imposed by the regulations.

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Are you a PA looking for a software? vtenext makes the list, contact us!