Technologies, financing and procurement

An orientation guide to technologies, financing and procurement

Small and medium-sized municipalities in particular often lack the time, personnel or financial resources to succeed in digitization. Digitization does not only mean the provision of the necessary infrastructure (broadband expansion), the promotion of start-ups or a stronger focus on digital topics in education.

Rather, digitization is made up of a large number of individual measures that affect the public sector. The municipalities, as the lowest level of local authority level, rank first in the implementation of digital projects in the context of their task fulfillment.
This guide was developed in the context of the accompanying research of the technology program Smart Service World funded by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi) with the support of the project. It is helping to empower small and medium-sized communities in the introduction of digital technologies, and is one

Overview of the subject of digitization in the municipal environment. The orientation guide presents various digital technologies on the basis of concrete questions from the municipal task areas, describes their use with the help of selected practical examples and explains their functionality in understandable language. Funding opportunities and financing instruments will be presented on questions of financing and investment, which can make a contribution to the sustainable anchoring of digital measures in municipalities. Due to the mostly innovative nature of digital projects, procurement law aspects in the tendering and procurement of digital technologies are also highlighted and also explained on the basis
of practical examples. It has already been noted that legislators have extensively reformed public procurement law in recent years, which has made it easier for municipalities to access innovative products and services.

Digital technologies for municipalities

Basically, all digital technologies can be used for every application. The networking of devices and systems enables more efficient Datenerfas¬sung and device control. The advantage here ranges from a more comfortable work design for employees (remote control, monitoring of the workplace) to process optimization and efficiency improvement through thinking and communicating machines, devices and systems (Internet of Things). Cloud computing can be used to outsource large amounts of data generated in daily operations “to the cloud”, but also to “rent” application software and computing power provided via the cloud in a targeted and on-demand manner. This can save computing resources (computer / server) and software license expenses. The cloud computing technology is also based on so- called (data) platforms. Originally used only for data exchange, they are also increasingly used for the delivery of software applications.

For example, platforms are also used for app stores: App developers provide their apps there and app users can use them. The platform operators decide on supply and price. This model can also be used in other areas, so that in the course of digitization apps for unicipal
issues have already emerged. In order to be able to use the accessibility to platforms and the services and apps offered above, the use of digital terminals and mobile applications makes sense. Smartphones, tablets, as well as special application-related devices (like the train) provide the ability to get the information where it’s needed and access data and services from anywhere.

For municipalities in particular, there is a particular added value in the use of digital technologies in the unlimited scope for expansion and restriction (scalability). Data on a data platform can be used by one or several municipalities. They can be released without great effort only for certain users and users or made available universally ver¬. As a result, it is both possible to network all in-house devices within a community and to allow an optimized data exchange, as well as to integrate external devices of any intensity into the exchange. In addition to the option of providing data to other communities and institutions, there is also the approach of deliberately providing information to the public. These data, referred to as “open data”, are part of digital information management. They should lead to more transparency and cooperation and are particularly helpful for commune-citizen communication.

Whether the investment in a new digital technology pays off and which digital technology is the right one depends on the specific problem and the general conditions. These transfers can often be difficult for small and medium-sized municipalities. The project KOMMUNAL 4.0, which is funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy within the framework of the technology program “Smart Service World”, is therefore developing For example, an application-oriented potential and benefit analysis that should help municipalities make this decision-making. In a pilot project with the
municipality of Bad Salzschlirf, an instrument is being created with which municipalities not only grasp their digitization potentials, but, based on this, derive the benefits of different digitization methods and technologies for their subjects, as well as concrete organizational and organizational strategies develop a technical need for action.

In the following, this orientation guide shows how municipalities have already been able to successfully exploit their potential with the help of digital technolo- gies. It invites you to think about your own potential and, if necessary, to implement it with the help of suitable practice partners. To this end, some of the technologies already in use will be presented and later explained in more detail in the respective context. The selected practical examples are only an example of a selection of possible application examples.