By Olivier Libouban, Software Project Manager at Lingoport.
A Region is an administrative layer in France, with elected officials, getting tax Euros, and setting up programs and initiatives for the citizens. Part of the responsibility of any region is also to provide software solutions to the citizens. Part of the responsibility of any region is also to provide software solutions to the citizens, with significant budgets: the IT department of any Region manages bids, responses, and supervises the implementation of the solutions.
A case in point for “Region Centre”, situated close south west of Paris, is the need for an e-learning platform, dealing amongst other things with budgets, financial institutions, training institutions and citizens able to register and follow classes, either on-site or on-line. The request for proposal of such programs is sent by the IT department and gives the context, the functional needs, and the requirements at large for this type of program, including strategic technologies, such as Portal by a specific vendor. The entire platform may be composed of a large number of software components, in this case ranging from the software infrastructure pieces, such as Web application server, LDAP, and databases, to specific functional components, such as an e-learning tool to be integrated in the overall software and hardware platform.
The IT department oversees the responses to the request, and solutions which do not play in a French locale cannot be accepted. All components must behave and interact with each other, be it in terms of encoding, of searches, of collation, of UI presentation to citizens, training institutions, financing institutions, administrators of the system. In other words, the budgets for an administrative program are targeted at i18n compliant software.
Those administrative programs might be at a city level, a county level, a region level, a national level, even at a pan-national level, such as with the European Union, which serves citizens of Europe at large. The combined budgets of those IT departments are simply very large and can only be applied to i18n solutions.