Chamber of Commerce of Bologna
|Site||Chamber of Commerce of Bologna|
The peculiar role assigned to the Chambers of Commerce by the Italian Law includes control, support and regulation of the businesses' activities, and is very well suited to take advantage of the flexibility of Plone and of Plone products, to make available several kinds of service, that let any business receive support from its very beginning to the end of its activity. Among the needs to fulfill:
- compliance with the Italian accessibility regulations (including XHTML Strict front end),
- availability of online forms,
- bi-directional, "Web 2.0" approach to ensure communication with the businesses,
- support to online payments of tributes,
- thematic subsites (fairs and local events),
- extended event management, with online subscription,
- document management features, e.g. for the public release of official publications,
- support to the Organization's internal complexity, that may require custom workflows to reflect the legal and operational specificity of each office and department.
No wonder that the first Italian PloneGov member was a Chamber of Commerce, from Ferrara: its feature-rich, business-oriented portal is the subject of a reuse experience involving - as of October 2009 - about ten other similar organizations, most of them in the Emilia Romagna Region. Here, the Chamber of Commerce of Bologna shortly describes its Portal + Intranet Plone solutions in the light of its mission. A "Technicalities" section follows, to illustrate implementation details.
The mission to accomplish
The following is an official statement from the Chamber of Commerce: « The Chamber of Commerce of Bologna offers the businesses the possibility of developing their activity in Italy and in all the world. The aim of all the available services is a dialogue with the firms and with the entrepreneurial organizations to favor an even growth of the provincial economy. As a public organization of the businesses of the Bologna province, it provides - using its management capacity and state-of-art technology - services that include:
- economical contributions and guidance services, to promote and qualify the economic system
- market regulation services
- analyses and economical studies
- certification ad advertising services about the business system
- activities aimed at the development of metropolitan infrastructures
A well-organized and modern public organization cannot underestimate the importance of telematic communication. The institutional website not only concretely contributes to the virtuous cycle of the information, but also offers to the citizens / businesses a number of services, ensuring the transparency of public information.
Plone and C2P, the solution made available for reuse by the Chamber of Commerce of Ferrara, allowed a significant saving of the analysis costs that would have been needed for the development of a new ad hoc solution, and set the ground for many synergies among the Chambers of Commerce sharing the same solution.
The choice fell on this software because it makes available a set of very easily used tools to create, edit, update and organize web contents, even to those not having specific technical knowledge, while complying with the technical requirements of Italian Ministry Decree 8 July 2005, “Technical requirements and different levels for accessibility to informatic tools”.
Besides that, the system favors interactivity and participation to several information and communication initiatives of the Chamber of Commerce of Bologna, with state-of-art, easily customizable open source tools that can be easily integrated in the portal.
As a conclusion, the renewal of www.bo.camcom.it by the Chamber of Commerce of Bologna pursued the objective of an higher proximity to the businesses / consumers / workers , putting at their disposal an institutional space for information, communication and services, thus improving the completeness and interactiveness of their experience of the organization.»
The development of the original Chamber of Commerce “C2P” Portal was based on specifications by the Chamber of Commerce of Ferrara, that recently launched a Plone 3 version dubbed “C3P”, showing the very same features of the Plone 2 C2P, even though some of the Plone products adopted in C2P were superseded by native Plone 3 features. A migration to C3P is planned as a part of the reuse agreements signed with Chamber of Commerce of Ferrara.
Both the versions were developed and heavily customized by RedTurtle Technology, with the integration of several Plone products, some of which were expressly designed for the specific context of the Chambers of Commerce. The following lists refer to the the C2P solution adopted in Bologna.
Among the Plone products, the following should be cited:
- StagingAddOn, for supporting a working copy of the contents being edited;
- PloneGazette, for the digital newsletter;
- AttachmentField, for attachment management;
- SignupSheet, for the online subscription to the events;
- CMFContentPanels (in C2P, to mimick the Plone 3 homepage and portlet style).
The Plone modules expressly developed for the Chamber of Commerce include:
- (in the case of Ferrara, but still not in Bologna): integration with secure online payment services,
- an XHTML Strict skin to ensure compliance to the Italian accessibility regulations,
- a customized workflow, with a two-stages level of approval,
- a complete management of online forms,
- subsite support,
- customized “fast link” management,
- a “send to” extention: possibility of sending the link to a page, to a Plone group or to single Plone users, that may be selected by a search form,
- new panels for CMFContentPanels including:
- Chamber of Commerce Portlet (local navigator in a site section),
- Other References (the images in the lower part of the portal),
- Spotlights on (highly configurable events and news section),
- View pages (possibility of displaying to pages side by side).
The Intranet is a Plone 3 portal, including products like PloneBooking for the online booking of resources such as meeting rooms, and custom modules by RedTurtle Technology, among which we cite the following:
- an intranet-specific workflow,
- a customized "delete" policy,
- the “Send to” extension mentioned above.