EMPL/ - 2213/12 - EN
EESSI Project - Reflection Period
status and next steps
SECRETARIAT – 05.12.2012
Orig. EN
EESSI Project - Reflection Period - status and next steps
Note from the Secretariat of 05 December 2012
I. Introduction
In spring this year, the Administrative Commission, at the recommendation of the EESSI
Project Steering Committee and the Technical Commission, agreed to a reflection period.
During 2011, the tests by the piloting countries revealed that the system developed by ATOS,
although fulfilling to a large extent the terms of the tender, did not fully meet the business
requirements. The system also contained performance and quality issues which made it not
yet fit for production. Furthermore, the requested review of the business model confirmed
that, even though from a business perspective the model was more or less stable, further work
was needed to make it also fit for use in the electronic environment of EESSI.
Beginning 2012, DG EMPL decided to close the contract with ATOS. This created a good
opportunity to verify the original requirements and to address the concerns and points raised
by the Member States during the tests and the business model review.
These events led to the conclusion to initiate a reflection period with the following objectives:
to reassess the business needs and verify the requirements agreed at the outset of the
to decide on the technical option to be developed and implemented.
to develop a solid project plan for the delivery of the agreed solution.
DG EMPL has initiated a range of activities to reach these objectives. These will produce
results in the upcoming months with the aim to decide in June 2013 on the course of the
project. This will also conclude the reflection period.
A report on the results of the reflection period will be presented by DG EMPL in May 2013.
The report will also come with a recommendation on the technical solution and the course of
action. The report will allow the Technical and Administrative Commission to take decisions
on the course of the project and the solution to be implemented.
The aim of this note is twofold. Firstly, it provides a status report on the activities in the
context of reaching the objectives of the reflection period. Secondly, it outlines the next steps
the results of which will find their way in the evaluation report.
A detailed status report has been presented at the 55th meeting of the Technical Commission,
which can be found in note AC 452/12.
II. Reflection period – status of activities
Since the start of the reflection period in March 2012, a series of activities has been initiated,
some of which already produced concrete results.
Agreement on a layered approach (June 2012)
In June 2012, an important decision was taken by the Technical Commission with regard to
the architecture of the solution to be implemented. The solution shall contain a layered
structure. This will make it easier and less costly to manage, operate and enhance the system
in the longer term. The system to be developed shall have two technical layers responsible for
the actual transport of the messages, a business layer which captures the underlying business
processes within messages are exchanged, and a presentation layer which will contain a user
interface for clerks.
Collection and validation of the business and technical needs (June 2012 – January 2013)
We are currently in the final stage of collecting and validating the business and technical
needs expressed by the Member States. The collection and analysis is conducted for each
layer (the first three layers are done as a first priority, the presentation layer will follow in the
course of 2014). These activities have already led to an agreement on the high-level
requirements for the system.
A further drill-down into more detailed requirements for each of the layers is now being
undertaken to ensure that the needs of the Member States are correctly translated in the
solution. This process takes place in close interaction with the Member States to minimize the
risk of user-rejection. In this respect, the current process differs very much from the gathering
process at the outset of the project, which did not so much engage the actual users of the
system. This resulted in a much more high-level view of Member States' needs which was
open to different interpretations of the solution to be developed.
Assessment and prioritisation of the requirements (January – April 2013)
Once the needs and requirements for the system have been identified, an analysis of the
requirements will be undertaken to agree which requirements are included in the first
production worthy version of EESSI, and which ones, although equally important, can be
planned for later releases/upgrades of EESSI.
The analysis will be conducted based on a number of agreed criteria such as the level of
importance given by the Member States to each requirement, the need to fulfil it from the
beginning or at a later stage of the project and the costs implications for the development of
the system.
The analysis and prioritisation of the first two layers will finish in April 2013. For the
business layer requirements, DG EMPL will first conduct a general analysis to clarify the
functionalities that need to be supported by EESSI. This analysis will feed into the discussions
on the solution. After April, a more detailed analysis on the business layer requirements will
be carried out to clarify how the functionalities need to be implemented per sector and for
each business process.
Analysis of the technical options (January – April 2013)
Different technical solutions will be analysed (including the solutions developed by ATOS) to
assess to what extent these solutions can meet the essential requirements.
In this analysis not only technical feasibility, but also costs (both at EU and Member States
level), benefits and time needed for implementation will be taken into account. A more
detailed list of criteria that will be used for this analysis can be found in note AC 452/12.
Discussion process (March – June 2012)
The results of the analysis of the requirements and technical options will be presented in an
extensive evaluation report that will be prepared by DG EMPL in spring 2013.
In the course of the preparation of the report DG EMPL will also organise consultations with
the Member States to ask for their comments. It will be particularly important to get an active
feedback during that period and an adequate participation at the workshop planned mid April
Decision process (June 2012)
The final step will be (a) to decide on the essential requirements and technical associated
option, and (b) to agree on the planning for the implementation of the agreed technical
This decision is envisaged to be taken by the Technical and Administrative Commission in
June 2013. This will also conclude the reflection period and open for the restart of the
development of the IT system.
III. Other activities
With the finalisation of the contract with ATOS, DG EMPL (unit G4) has also assumed the
role of IT supplier in the project. In this new setting, DG EMPL has also engaged in a reevaluation of the EESSI project approach and methodology for the second project life cycle.
The implemented project approach has been communicated to the Technical and
Administrative Commission in October 2012.
One of the activities in accordance with this approach is to review the vision and scope of the
project which define the boundaries of the project as a whole. Note AC 481/12 explains in
more detail the results of this review.
In parallel to these activities, DG EMPL will continue its work on the finalisation of the
EESSI Business Model in the next period. The model constitutes the actual backbone of the
A re-evaluation of the EESSI Business model started already in November 2011. Since then,
the SEDs working groups have worked closely together with three external business analysts
to define functionalities that need to be provided by EESSI to allow clerks to conduct their
business with the support of EESSI (such as the possibility of cancelling a message, or a
flow). This re-evaluation also has resulted in a further refinement of the SEDs, which has led
to a further update of the SEDs and flows.
At the last meeting of the Administrative Commission it was agreed that this latest version of
SEDs and flows will not be used to replace version 1 of the SEDs and flows in the paperbased exchange until EESSI becomes operational.
Even though this new version will not be used in real-life exchanges, the Technical
Commission acknowledged that the model shall be tested as soon as possible in order to avoid
the risk of developing a solution which does not correctly reflect the business needs. This will
be done by so-called “dry-runs” with paper versions of the latest version of the SEDs and
flows. As a next step, DG EMPL will make an inventory of institutions and Member States
interested to engage in these dry-runs. It will define an action plan to conduct these tests and
take on the coordination of the organisation of these tests. In note AC 456/12, the proposed
set of actions in the context of the EESSI Business Model is described in further detail.
IV. Reflection period – Summary of the next steps
In the period until June 2013, following activities relevant for the Technical and
Administrative Commission are:
13th meeting Steering Committee
31 January 2013
56th meeting of TC
27-28 Feb 2013
334th meeting of AC
12/13 March 2013
End March 2013
Mid April 2013
14th meeting Steering Committee
24 April 2013
Beginning May 2013
57th meeting of TC
5/6 June 2013
335th meeting of AC
Presentation of progress on analysis of requirements and solutions
Presentation by DG EMPL of first findings of requirements
analysis and technical options
Presentation of first findings of requirements analysis and
technical options (high-level presentation)
Presentation of preliminary evaluation report with first analysis of
detailed requirements and possible technical options by DG EMPL
to Member States for first feedback
Workshop with Member States on preliminary analysis of
requirements and technical options
Presentation by DG EMPL of findings workshop and feedback by
EESSI Project Steering Committee
Final evaluation report submitted for decision by TC and AC
Recommendation from TC to AC on the course of the project and
the technical option to be implemented
Decision on the course of the project in consultation with TC
19/20 June 2013
As a concluding remark, DG EMPL would like to underline that in the next period a close
interaction with the Member States will be essential to make the necessary progress in
realising the agreed objectives in the reflection period.
One of the key lessons that can be learnt from the past is that in a complex project as EESSI
early constructive input and feedback from the Member States and representatives of
the final users is essential for the success of a project in order to ensure that the final solution
is tailored to their actual needs.
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