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Interview with Giuseppe Romagnoli, Serpro

by paul last modified 2006-01-20 19:06

An interview with Giuseppe about the use of Zope and Plone in the Brazilian government.

Giuseppe Romagnoli works at Serpro as an ICT consultant in a Technology Consulting Department offering technology advice to implement internet solutions for the Brazilian Government. He has been working at Serpro since 1985 in many IT areas, including Artificial Intelligence, Internet Security, and Portal Solutions. Paul chatted with Giuseppe before his talk at the Plone Conference 2004 in Vienna.

  1. What does Serpro do?

SERPRO stands for Federal Data Processing Service We are the biggest IT service e-provider in Brazil. Among our principal products are Internet access services, consultancy and network communication services, and government applications (cities, states and federal).

You can say that Serpro would be better described as an Application Service Provider, an Internet Service Provider and a Network Service Provider or any other SP required by Government. Our government clients are: Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Planning and Budget, Civil Cabinet of Republic Presidency, Ministry of Transportation, communication and now education.

The most well-known application developed by SERPRO was the use of the Internet to submmit tax returns. It has received many important awards.

  1. Tell us about your Plone project.

We have defined Plone as the official portal solution tool at SERPRO and we are running many projects using Zope and Plone now. This mean that today we offer this solution to our clients. Our departament is responsible for keeping track of the evolution of this technology and for customizing it to our customer's needs.

  1. How did Plone rate in the evaluation of CMS products?

We evaluated many solutions and compared its features. But we were concerned about the table of requirements we first did when we started portal study. And the most important, was that Plone comprehensively matched our set of requirements. Plone is powered by Zope, which is a good application server. In our concept this Plone-Zope connection is the strongest thing about this technology.

  1. How did you discover Plone?

As a matter of fact everything started in 2002 when we were studying portal technologies to acomplish government necessities. We would select a proprietary solution, but the government changed in Brazil and the opportunity to select a free software solution was real. After evaluating some free software solutions we found Zope and Plone at the 4th International Free Software Forum, in Brazil.

  1. Is Plone doing well in Brazil?

Talking about goverment you may say that it increased a lot in the last two years because of Serpro adoption. Other Brazilian government organizations have been looking after us to tell them our implementation case. We can't tell much about private market because we don't have references.

  1. What is the most important thing needed for Plone to grow in Brazil?

We are making progress. Organizations must know Plone better, it is a very professional and good software. One problem we have in Brazil the lack of professsionals that know this technology. We believe that the increase in demand of Plone use will help market to solve it.

  1. Would you pay for Plone ?

Yes. Plone is a professional and high level solution that is as good as any proprietary solution. As a matter of fact, I would say that Plone is better than many of them.

  1. Why is adopting an open source solution such a big deal?

That is very important for us. Serpro is not a license reseller, we sell services and open source matches perfectly with our business. And besides this, we have the freedom to change and to better use our applications. And we cannot forget to say that it is compliant with Brazilian eGovernment directions, in adopting free software solutions whenever it is possible.