Buenos Aires is the capital and most populous city of the Argentine Republic. This autonomous city constitutes one of the 24 districts that make up the country. It has its own executive, legislative and judicial powers. With a population of over 3 million, Buenos Aires is a cosmopolitan city and an important tourist destination.
The Secretary of Innovation and Digital Transformation was created with the aim of bringing together different areas under a single umbrella. One of those areas is the Undersecretariat of Evidence-Based Public Policies, which aims to promote data governance by creating a common language and centralizing access and use of data by the different areas of government.
The Government of the City of Buenos Aires (GCBA) agencies generate extensive information in the process of operating and fulfilling inspection services. With the breadth of inspection units comes a variety of formats, templates and sources of the available data. Standardization is a must in order to make the most out of the inspections.
The Undersecretary of Evidence-based Public Policies is interested in putting citizens at the center of various political decisions. In order to best enable data-based decision making, the government needed to consolidate and organize this information.
María Eugenia Losada, Chief of Staff, General Direction of Data Architecture, Innovation Secretary, GCBA, said, “There was a pain point that each area was “speaking its own language”. The idea was to create a single repository, make the data available via API, and generate synergies between the different inspection areas.”
Melisa Breda, Undersecretary of Evidence-Based Public Policies, part of Secretary of Innovation and Digital Transformation, GCBA, explained, “We needed to create common standards and guidelines so that we can all measure the quality of the data we’re working with in the same way. Standards must also ensure the transformation, reuse, and exchange of data within government in a secure and transparent way.
“The inspection committee identified this need long ago. Sometimes, business owners get several different inspections asking for different things. We want this to be a tool for strategic decision-making and we want to make life easier for our citizens.”
“We needed a team that could develop an API. We have our own team, but our resources are limited,” stated Ms. Losada.
Ms. Breda added, “Netrix was recommended to us by close colleagues, and we had previously worked with Netrix on a similar project. We had a very good experience and a successful outcome, and we wanted to repeat it.”
GCBA seeks to get closer to the citizens. Specifically, the government aims to simplify bureaucracy and be present where it is needed without impeding progress. In the productive inspections realm, legacy databases and systems had been designed around areas of government service rather than around citizens. Putting the citizen at the center required a state-of-the-art, dynamic data model with a flexible schema that would adapt to the different data structures being integrated.
GCBA’s Intelligent Platform (PIBA) comprises data from the entire government to make it available in the new augmented intelligence tool. Some of the services used in this solution include Amazon S3, AWS Glue, Amazon API Gateway and Lambda.
Information is regularly collected in multiple transactional systems, such as civil registry, education, and health. The team is implementing an “ask once” policy: all information that has been collected is available at all times for retrieval or updating in each contact that the government has with commercial establishments.
Ms. Losada explained, “In order to exploit that data model we need to generate an API that allows that data to be made available. The Netrix team focused on the API development, working with the internal team within our Scrum methodologies. The API development is going great, and we’re currently at the last sprint of the project, documenting the process for assessment and testing.
“In government, everything is urgent and the sooner we make this available to users, the better. So far, we have been very much aligned and meeting deadlines as planned.”
Ms. Losada continued, “There are many stakeholders involved and several teams working simultaneously (modeling, API development, API deployment, coordination). As weeks went by, we were able to adjust the communication flow to align deliverables and expectations.
“We started with an idea of what we wanted, technically speaking, and Netrix was a great advisor along the way, for example, helping us decide the best way to create our DynamoDB tables.
“Collaboration was one of the main highlights of the project and we had positive feedback at each stage of the process. The teams worked back-to-back. There was a lot of information and skill transfer that allowed our internal teams to upgrade their technical skill, enabling them to operate the API solution once the project is finished.”
“We are developing a sample front end that we can show to the different inspection areas so they can see and test the solution. This solution will allow them to conduct searches on different establishments and organizations and find all the relevant information in one place,” said Ms. Losada.
“Sometimes, business owners are inspected several times and asked for different things. As a government unit, we want to make life easier for our citizens. I hope we can also be more thorough in assessing inspection efficiency and usability of the tool,” said Ms. Breda.