ICT for sustainable digital government
Germany’s cities are set to get smarter – that is the declared aim. The futuristic concept of the “smart city” centers on urban living spaces that make full use of the opportunities offered by technologies and innovations to become more sustainable and more social.
But how exactly do you make a city “smart”? In this context, “smart” means – for example – car drivers using the the "park and joy" app
to find a parking space or street lights
only coming on when they are needed.
Naturally, smart city concepts influence many other aspects of modern city life. That includes making more sustainable use of resources by deploying intelligent systems to coordinate traffic flows or digitizing public services so that residents can use them online instead of having to visit officials in person.
First and foremost, however, a smart city has to have a modern and therefore digital public authority – in other words, it needs e-government
. Therefore, Germany has passed a dedicated E-Government Act with the aim of removing current legal obstacles. The legislation defines the framework for digital government at federal level, with the intention of its provisions cascading down to state and local agencies – putting the building blocks in place for efficient, future-proof communications and processes. Important first steps have already been taken with the electronic ID card,
online service portals for citizens and electronic records management. There have also been joint projects across multiple agencies – for example involving police departments and the judiciary.
The overriding goal is to create simpler, user-friendly services and more efficient workflows within the public sector – to save time and money. The results benefit all stakeholders: businesses, citizens and government agencies themselves. Within a digital government agency, information is always up-to-the-minute, administrative tasks can be performed with greater speed and reliability, and collaboration within and across agencies is easier and better.
High-performance ICT infrastructure is the foundation
The digitization of legacy processes and infrastructures creates new IT challenges – not least in terms of data privacy and security. Otherwise, digital government will not gain the acceptance required to ensure its successful adoption. Stable, high-availability and secure networks are therefore essential. The expansion of the broadband landline network and of the high-performance cell-phone infrastructure (LTE) is a vital step in digitizing and mobile-enabling the services delivered to citizens – for example, for public-sector workers in the field processing building permits, requests related to refuse collection, and even electronic parking tickets.
To implement digital government, agencies must upgrade their IT. Above all, this will require investment in digital infrastructure, even before they move on to developing concrete solutions and establishing security mechanisms and data protection. This calls for partnerships with proven experts, such as T-Systems and Detecon
– an organization that possesses not just outstanding IT skills, but also hands-on experience of the public sector and digital transformation.
Migrating to the cloud is becoming all-important
To square the circle of lower costs but better service, government agencies must reengineer existing infrastructure and processes. This entails centralization, standardization, and virtualization. In other words, cloud computing
is going to play a pivotal part in any step-change improvement. Highly scalable cloud-based resources are key to trimming costs and improving agility. At the same time, security
and applicable local and regional laws have top priority. After all, the sensitivity of data processed by government agencies requires the deployment of cloud solutions not only with exceptionally high security but also based on legal allowances. Overall, there is no doubt that the digitization of processes is a key strategic tool in the battle to overcome the challenges facing the public sector.