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PloneGov : a young eGovernment project with great promises

by Nicolas Bossut last modified 2009-06-30 11:09

PloneGov shows something that hackers of FLOSS in the public sector have long talked about: Public bodies only stand to gain from cooperating in software development and procurement. Though developing applications is obviously not the remit of most public bodies, free licenses provide a highly efficient tool to share development cost and mutualise risks.

Based on a case study by the Open Source Observatory and Repository (OSOR), an initiative of the European Commission's IDABC project.

The success of PloneGov also rests on a number of other factors. One key element of PloneGov's success is what Lambillotte, IT manager of the town of Sambreville, calls its "human dimension". There are meetings on a monthly basis, and most members attend at least occasionally. This way, they have a chance to get to know each other and develop trust relationships.

As in many projects, people are much more important than structures. The fact that PloneGov has a committed and enthusiastic core team and a vibrant community has turned a network of municipalities into a successful project with an international reputation.

PloneGov, in its turn, is a young project with great promise. Notably, the push towards international cooperation comes from SMEs pursuing their own business interests, rather than from public bodies that might just see such activities as an additional task they may not consider essential. Yet it is easy to see for public bodies that there is added value for them in joining the network: a living community, tailor-made applications at lower cost, and a push to the local economy. It is precisely this constellation of individual interests that is likely to make PloneGov sustainable and successful in the long term.

PloneGov profits from their close ties to the Plone community. This large, established group provides them with models for their way of working. Heymans, Zea Partners CEO, predicts that as PloneGov grows, the ties to the Plone community will become even stronger.