Interoperability denotes the ability of diverse information systems and of business processes they support to exchange data and share information and knowledge seamlessly.

It is the creation of systems that facilitate better decision making, better coordination of government agency/private sector programmes and services in order to provide enhanced services to citizens and businesses, the foundation of a citizen- centric society, and the one-stop delivery of services through a variety of channels. A key factor for implementing interoperability is to ensure that different systems, processes and organisations conform to common standards.

It provides a unified framework for implementing eGovernment. It includes cross-governmental specifications and policies, to enable cross-governmental integration and facilitate G2G, G2B transactions and data sharing.

Standards play key role in enabling interoperability between management, applications, data and networks.

Technical interoperability denotes the interoperability of infrastructure and software. Infrastructure interoperability is the ability of hardware acquired by different organizations to work seamlessly. Software interoperability refers to the ability of software used in different organizations to exchange data. Achieving software interoperability requires the establishment of common data exchange protocols, development of software necessary for the management of data connections, and creation of user interfaces in order to enable communication between different organizations.

Semantic interoperability refers to the ability of different organizations to understand the exchanged data in a similar way. This presumes the creation of a mechanism allowing the presentation of service data and data definitions.

Semantic interoperability entails a co-ordination of meaning. Semantic interoperability is concerned with ensuring that the precise meaning of exchanged information is understandable and acceptable by any other application not initially developed for this purpose.

Organizational interoperability stands for the ability of organizations to provide, by making use of information systems, services to other organizations or to their clients. Organizational interoperability is associated with the activities of organizations and agreements between them. Organizational interoperability is ensured by legislation and general agreements.

Benefits of IOP

a. Ensure interoperability in the ways the private sector, Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government use, deploy or leverage ICT;

b. Enable inter-agency collaboration, messaging and sharing of data thereby promoting interaction and integration;

c. Increase public sector efficiency and productivity;

d. Reduce operational cost;

e. Leverage existing investments;

f.  Facilitate inter-agency/cross-governmental transactions.

The First Edition of the Nigerian eGovernment Interoperability Framework (Ng-eGIF) was produced by the National eGovernment Strategies (NeGSt) in collaboration with the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and the World Bank in 2008. The Ng-eGIF is a set of policies, standards and guidelines aimed at promoting common system-wide standards for public institutions, enterprises and citizens.

The document is currently undergoing review.