This session was delivered by Ian Bailey (Director of Application Architecture, Office of the CIO, Provence of British Columbia, Canada) at Digital ID World in San Francisco. A compelling session in its own right, it was also the coming out party for the BC Identity Management Architecture Project.
The provincial government leadership has taken a bold step to provide better outcomes for BC citizens through the use of online services and advanced identity management technology, such as Information Cards. They organized a working group of government agencies and vendors to define an architecture that will enable critical, online access to services provided by the government and the broader public sector, while protecting the privacy of BC citizens. The website spells out the scope and vision of the project.
The Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) for the Province of British Columbia, with the advice and counsel of an executive committee of Broader Public Sector (BPS) Chief Information Officer’s (or equivalent), and key industry leaders have collaborated to develop an architecture that would enable an identity management service for the government and the BC BPS.
The goal of this project is to develop an identity management architecture to enable interoperation across a diverse range of public sector organizations and their service providers using multiple vendors’ technology solutions.
I have had the privilege to participate in this project. It has been an exhilirating experience to work with peers from so many BC government agencies and leading vendors in the identity management space. In addition to Ian, I especially want to congratulate Dave Nikolejsin (CIO) and Peter Watkins (Executive Director, Office of the CIO) for their vision and energy. And I want to thank Dick Hardt (CEO, Sxip Identity) for leading us in the development of a Claims Based Identity Management Architecture that I personally believe will become a model for governments and the broader public sector everywhere. This quote from the introduction of the Architecture Document should explain my enthusiasm.
Over the past three decades, the British Columbia Provincial Government and Broader Public Sector (BPS) organizations have invested heavily in the automation of business processes. Much of this investment has taken place only to meet a single organization’s unique local needs. It was usually done with limited consideration towards building interoperable cross-organizational information architecture.
To achieve the broader goals of the Province and improve service delivery, a mechanism must be created to securely share information between organizations and systems. An important piece of this mechanism is the development of common cross-organizational standards for interoperable identity management.
This is a complex issue to resolve when one considers the spectrum of public and private sector stakeholders involved: policy, management and administrative issues; privacy and security requirements for the management of access to information; and the various technologies in place. Compounding this architectural challenge is the fact that the Information Technology industry does not have an inclusive “off the shelf” solution. This project will require the British Columbia public sector to work with industry to build upon existing international standards in the development of a business and technology architecture to meet the secure information sharing needs of the BPS.
There is so much more I would like to share with you about this project. It is a profound endorsement of the industry wide convergence on Information Card technology and the underlying WS-* protocols and web services architecture. However, I have to catch another plane. So let me leave you with the knowledge that the BC government has also announced that they are taking the next step and moving the Identity Management Architecture Project from concept to reality. In his session, Ian described a pilot project that is expected to get underway this year.