Getting trustworthy data in the right format and with the required accuracy is imperative for organizational processes. All governments face this challenge in getting the high quality data for administrative processes, decision-making and policy-making. In practice, many government agencies still struggle with getting the right data in the right format at the right moments.

Standard Business Reporting (SBR) is steadily developing towards becoming the national instrument for trustworthy data exchange. SBR includes a broad framework of standards for trustworthy data exchange and a comprehensive governance structure that steers adoption and decision making. While more public agencies are adopting SBR, this instrument itself has not developed to its full potential. Thus far, literature does not provide a model for assessing and communicating this potential.

Objective and Research Question

Consequently, the main objective of this study is to develop a maturity model for assessing the potential of SBR, since a maturity model can systematically provide insight in the different aspects of the end to end data delivery chain and aid in improving these aspects to reduce administrative and regulatory burdens and increase the quality of the delivered data. However, since SBR is but a form of digital reporting, the general notion of qualified information exchange is used as a base for the development of a maturity model. Here, qualified information stands for information of acceptable quality. This raises the research question of this study: What are the components of a maturity model for qualified information exchange?

The notion of SBR is to reduce the administrative and regulatory burdens that are necessary in the mandatory financial reporting. This also occurs in the financial reporting in the Netherlands, where the SBR program makes use of the Dutch Taxonomy, XBRL and Digipoort as components of the end to end data delivery chain. A case study about the educational data delivery chain at the Dutch Education Services Department (DUO) is used for the development.

Research Approach

This study focuses on the development of the components of the maturity model for qualified information exchange and also provides a demonstration of its usage in the case study on the educational data to DUO. To develop the components of the model, the processes of a delivery chain were examined first in order to note the different aspects of the process chain. The process is completely modeled in BPMN to the point of reception of the educational data. In the BPMN models, the involved parties are the board of directors and the supervisory board of an educational institution, the accountant who assures the data, the administration offices which sometimes take over certain tasks from the educational boards and the two online portals, the XBRL Educational Portal (XBRL onderwijsportaal) and Digipoort, which route the data to the right recipient. The iv BPMN models were developed by interviewing a senior process and product expert, the advisor taxonomy and a specialist report and supervision from DUO, while also investigating internal DUO procedures.

The BPMN models were used to identify challenges in the data delivery chain. To create a more complete understanding of these challenges, two workshops and three depth interviews were held. The workshops included eighteen participants including all parties of the delivery chain, with the exception of educational board members themselves. Present were members of the educational councils to represent the educational boards, members of Logius, which governs SBR, employees from DUO and employees from the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW), who develop the law governing the mandatory reporting of data. The participants created an extensive list of challenges of the delivery chain. Some of these challenges are: the double delivery per postal service and digitally, the lack of cooperation in the development of the taxonomy and digital authentication. This study focuses on the technical challenges in the delivery chain. To validate the presented challenges by the educational council members, three additional interviews were done with educational board members. The goal of the additional interviews wat to validate the challenges provided by the educational countcil members. In addition, the board members added a few extra challenges. The interviewees were chosen based on known availability and cooperativeness, as not all known available board members wanted to contribute to the challenges and measures.

During the two workshops and the three interviews, the participants were also asked for measures against the presented challenges. The list of measures is useful as a base for developing components for the maturity model. To create a priority scale in the maturity model, a vote was cast during the workshops and the interviewees were asked which measures they thougth had the highest priority to implement. The priority scale is later used in the development of the maturity levels. The list of measures was also divided in different dimensions of a financial data delivery chain. Twenty-four dimensions were developed with the measures and by interviewing seven different experts affiliated with SBR, accounting or qualified information exchange. The experts were chosen based on availability and credibility of known knowledge. The experts also validated the dimensions and checked them on internal dependency, completeness, relevancy and consistency.

The Maturity Model

The different dimensions are categorized in five different categories: (1) the exchange dimensions, which regard the exchange of data itself. It involves the medium of exchange, the medium of assurance, the intervention of human action in the exchange process and the authentication of the different parties in the exchange. (2) The data dimensions include the dimensions about the data itself: how long it takes to deliver the data, the reusability and structuredness of the data, the availability of open data and business analytics and the communication about faulty data in deliveries. (3) The data quality dimensions category manage the quality of the data, which is set to three branches: the frequency of delivery, the certainty level of the data checks and the integrity of the systems by which the data is delivered and received. (4) The standardization dimensions encompass the different forms and implications of standardization within the delivery chain. The usage of a consistent standard format, implementation of a taxonomy, standardized validations and standardized process are included in this category. (5) The final category consist of the governance dimensions, which manage the organizational side of the information exchange. The availability of knowledge of the technical aspects, the decision-making authorities, the parties that are included in the partnerships, the necessary agreements surrounding the collaborations and the base of the decision-making reasons. These five categories include all twenty-four dimensions and therefore are the components of the maturity model, encompassing the concept of qualified information exchange. These components shape the answer to the research question.

Insights from using the model

The model is used to assess the maturity level of five SBR data delivery chains: DUO, Chamber of Commerce, SBR Wonen and, tax income delivery chains for private individuals and businesses to the Tax Agency. To demonstrate the model, the current situation of these delivery chains had to be assessed. This assesment is done via a maturity scan, which is an extensive online questionnaire with all modeled options presented over the different dimensions. The scan was emailed to several employees of each organization. These employees were known to be involved in the SBR data delivery chain of their respective organization. The maturity scan will be made public on Six employees from the DUO financial justification team were found available to fill in the maturity scan and discuss the results to assess the maturity level of the delivery chain. For the other delivery chains to KVK, SBR Wonen and the Tax Agency, only one employee involved in those delivery chains was found available to fill in the maturity scan to assess the maturity level of these delivery chains. The following maturity levels were found:

DUO: Level 2
KVK: Level 2
SBR Wonen: Level 2
Tax Agency, private individuals: Level 3
Tax Agency, businesses: Level 3

A roadmap to higher maturity

A roadmap was designed for the delivery chain to DUO for future progression. Four steps were presented: (1) simple progression step, where file import is added to the online portal. (2) Digital progression, where digital assurance and digital authentication are implemented in the delivery chain, becoming a fully digitalized delivery chain. (3) System progression, where data quality is assessed based on system integrity and assured more directly. (4) Automation progression, where system-to-system is fully integrated into the delivery chain, with data level assurance and more
standardized processing, reporting and benchmarking.

Contributions and Future Research

This study contributes to research by providing a way to break the first mover problem in the business-to-government reporting chains. Furthermore, it establishes a potential goal for the government to strive towards, which also aids in the development and improvement of SBR knowledge. Thirdly, the maturity is model can be used to communicate and assess the potential of SBR, expanding the SBR knowledge. Finally, this study provides a list of perceived challenges to verify existing literature about challenges in business-to-government reporting. More practical contributions are the demonstration of the model on the DUO data delivery chain, which allows improved supervision on educational institutions and accountants if the progression steps are implemented. This study also showed several possible future research topics. Main future research point is a study on the transition between maturity levels. The levels are proposed, but the intermediate steps to progress to the new maturity level require many organizational actions and agreements. Further research can be conducted on best practices for certain dimensions or the effect of left out technologies (e.g. biometric authentication) on the dimensions.