Citizen King

More service, speed, and performance are the goals associated with the use of record management capabilities in the SAP for Public Sector set of solutions. Every year, mail, faxes, telephone calls, and e-mails bring the city of Villach thousands of requests that it must capture, document, and process. Commercial matters, ordinances, or requests for building permits trigger the movement of files and records, a procedure that had so far featured little transparency. The internal transport times for paper documents were often slow, and the process did not allow the necessary transparency.

Entering Uncharted Territory Together

To simplify, accelerate, and make these administrative processes more economical, the city of Villach implemented the records management capability of SAP for Public Sector in 2003 and 2004 – and thus entered uncharted territory. It was the first time anywhere in the world that this SAP solution was to be used as the basis for electronic record management without a previous implementation of other SAP software. Looking back, both sides profited from the pilot project: the requirements of the city of Villach became part of the standard version of the SAP solution. An IT service provider based in Kärntner, Austria, addIT, and SAP Österreich collaborated on the implementation.

Information at the Push of a Button

“The electronic record management project is a giant step toward the realization of the city’s e-government strategy,” says Mayor Helmut Manzenreiter. Along with the SAP solution, the city began to operate a workflow management system that enabled electronic processing of administrative and business processes. All files, business transactions, and documents are handled comprehensively – from arrival to completion – and archived securely for audits in the Easy Archive system. City employees have access to all the data at the push of a button.

Lengthy throughput times have disappeared. Several users can work on the files simultaneously and offer the transparency required for quick and effective administration even when large quantities of data are involved. Because electronic files free employees from time-consuming routine tasks, the employees can concentrate on more complex tasks, like advising citizens, which significantly improves the quality of service. The system also automatically monitors time limits and schedules, and this information is linked to an escalation scenario. A full-text search option offers additional advantages when a file number or reference number is unknown.

More Closeness to Citizen and Business

Citizens and businesses profit from the shorter processing times and the opportunity to access city services in Villach over the Internet. “No one needs to go to city hall to register a business any more. And the question of who’s responsible no longer arises,” says Mayer Manzenreiter, citing examples of the benefits. “Citizens can ask for a permit over the Internet at any time and from any location, and they can check on the status of the request in real time.”

Modern Architectural Model of E-Government

The pressure in and the demands on all areas of public administration continue to grow. That’s why public sector organizations need a service-oriented architecture (SOA). The task for the government of Villach involved automating cross-application business processes to correspond to the combined flows of various systems and to integrate new flows seamlessly into the existing landscape.
The city of Villach can implement this future-oriented architecture model for e-government with the SAP solution. An internal enterprise service bus (ESB) is based upon the SAP NetWeaver platform. The ESB is also based upon standard service technologies and serves as a framework for Web services, automated interfaces, and data transformation and mapping. “With the ESB, we can implement future requirements more quickly, independently, and regardless of national or international developments in the area of e-government. That gives us a significant improvement in our ROI on IT investments,” says Manfred Wundara, CIO of the city of Villach.

Step-by-Step Use

In the future, electronic files will support more and more official procedures in the city of Villach. The new system will be used as an information system to administer political bodies. The system also supports the creation and publication of street ordinances with its link to another application, the GIS of the city of Villach. Additional areas of use include business registrations, operating permits, notices of events, building permits, and criminal law procedures.
To involve citizens and companies more closely in the city of Villach, the next step integrates digital signatures and electronic notification. The city also plans to use an electronic payment system and integrate financial transactions – from payment to posting.

Comprehensive E-Government Solution

Looking to the future, CIO Wundara says “little by little, electronic record management capabilities from SAP will be used across all departments throughout the entire municipality. We aim at a step-by-step implementation of automated services and, ultimately, at a comprehensive e-government solution from which citizens and the economy benefit.”

Targeted Knowledge Management

Centralized available of the information in SAP for Public Sector enables the city of Villach to target the use of knowledge management to optimize services and processes. “For example, the evaluation of user profiles lets us provide citizens with tailored information and communication offers,” says Wundara as he describes the result of knowledge management. As another example, if the electronically determined processing time for a business registration displays unexpected concerns, the personnel involved can be changed accordingly. And employees can tell when specific requests are repeatedly incomplete. They can send the appropriate information sheets to citizens to bring them up to speed.

Sibylle Hofmeyer
Sibylle Hofmeyer