With the e-government initiative BundOnline 2005, the government of the Federal Republic of Germany has undertaken to provide all internet-capable government administrative services online.
Modernization and cost savings through efficient content management
As part of BundOnline 2005, in 2001 the Federal Ministry of the Interior sent out a Europe-wide request for proposal for five basic e-government components, as a major step in modernizing administration. Among these components was content management. Content management systems (CMS) serve updated and target group specific content to different output media. They are a prerequisite for the provision and maintenance of comprehensive information on intranets and the internet. The RFP specified a standard solution that could cover 80% of all standard administration processes without major modification or individual developments, and support open-source solutions like Linux and Tomcat. The requirements for the CMS were:
- Full multi-client capability – The very different contents of various government bodies must be economically administrated on a common technology platform, without losing their individuality in structure and appearance.
- Flexibility for defining complex administrative processes – In every government authority, configurable and expandable workflows define work processes and structure them in a consistent manner.
- Audit security – Legal requirements for records retention must be met by a highly capable electronic archive.
- IT security – All government-mandated safety and compliance requirements (GSHB, SAGA) must be 100% met, and data protection must be assured.
- Heterogeneity – The system must be adaptable to the different organizational structures and cultures of the various branches of the Federal system.
Usability – The system must have an intuitive user interface that is easy to operate after only brief training, even for users without substantial prior IT familiarity.
Government Site Builder (GSB) based on CoreMedia CMS
As a result of the Europe-wide request for proposal, the content management system by technology leader CoreMedia AG was selected as the basis. This flexible, comprehensive software has unlimited scalability, is based on open standards, and has groundbreaking usability. From this basis, the Federal Office of Administration developed the basic CMS component, the Government Site Builder (GSB). The GSB contains preconfigured building blocks (including a fully prepared website) that agencies and offices can adopt as a standard, or adapt to their needs with little effort. The GSB is naturally multi-client capable, SAGA-compliant, and enables the creation of handicapped-accessible websites per BITV.
By the end of 2005 the GSB had been implemented in over 70 projects, and was a major factor in helping the BundOnline initiative meet its targets within the allotted time. By August 2005 over 400 administrative services were already available to the public online. The portal www.bund.de, which bundles all Federal online services, is also based on GSB. Almost all Federal ministries and many state-level institutions, such as the German Federal Bank, use the Government Site Builder either for internal or external communication (internet, intranet or extranet). They help keep administrative activities transparent and also more economical, by making them more automated. High-performance CoreMedia CMS has functionalities that are ideal for personalized services, and makes it easier for users – private citizens, corporations and other institutions – to communicate with government and saves them many a trip to a local government office.
The many benefits of CoreMedia CMS have also become apparent to public institutions outside the Federal government. For example, the State of Schleswig-Holstein, the City of Hamburg, the police departments of Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein, and the German Pension Insurance institutions use CoreMedia CMS. All local and state-level authorities also have the possibility to use the Government Site Builder. Its wide expandability and ongoing product upgrades ensure future viability at all levels and full investment protection. With BundOnline 2005, German government is now extensively online. Federal, State, and local authorities use the powerful, future-safe CoreMedia CMS technology for their e-government, putting them at the same technological level as leading corporations.