At the beginning of July, an important milestone for the internal digitalization of public administration was reached: The first version of the MODUL-F platform is now available on govdigital’s EfA marketplace and can be used by federal, state and local authorities. As a digital building block, MODUL-F accelerates and simplifies internal case processing and enables end-to-end digitization of administrative processes. The technical basis for both is mgm’s A12 enterprise low code platform.
In line with the intended use of MODUL-F (“Modular Solution for Administrative Procedures”), the demo was given in an online session at the go-live in the EfA marketplace. This allowed interested administrative practitioners from all over Germany to be present and obtain information. The MODUL-F team around Program Manager Zehra Öztürk from the Senate Chancellery of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg and Jens Fromm, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of govdigital eG, provided deep insights into the platform and answered many questions from the audience.
The most important news came at the end: “Now it is official: MODUL-F is now ready for use,” said Zehra Öztürk. Almost two years after the start of the project and one and a half years after the start of development, MODUL-F is available on the marketplace for EfA services via govdigital – the cooperative for the dissemination and integration of IT solutions in the public sector. “Via the marketplace, our members and their contractors can place orders digitally, without the need for competitive bidding and with legal certainty,” explained Jens Fromm, COO of govdigital. “This means that the federal government, the states and almost all local authorities can use MODUL-F via the marketplace.”
MODUL-F: Digitization by government for government with low code
The vision of the product: “MODUL-F focuses on the internal digitization of government. This means that what we have developed has a purely administrative focus,” explains Öztürk. Online applications are often created elsewhere, so that was not the focus. In particular, MODUL-F can be used to map small, specialized processes in which applications still arrive at the authority on paper or application data is received digitally, for example as a PDF or by e-mail, but not yet processed digitally.
The project team at the Hamburg Senate Chancellery is responsible for the administration-specific functionalities and the development of the modules. Sophie Park, Deputy Program Manager at the Hamburg Senate Chancellery: “The great added value of low-code is that you can predevelop certain software parts and use them again and again, and thus assemble a specialized procedure very quickly. For this reason, MODUL-F also uses low-code. In this case, mgm’s A12 is used as the basic architecture for the processes and all interfaces, including accessibility.
Two interfaces and many modules for creating specialized procedures
- There are two target group specific interfaces: With the Special Procedure Editor, appropriately trained administrative experts can create special procedures. The Special Procedures Portal is used for the use of the created special procedures and for the processing itself.
- The MODUL-F module library contains cross-process modules that can be used at several points in the course of application processing. These ready-made modules include modules for uploading and downloading documents, assigning cases to agents, and generating documents and notifications.
- On the other hand, MODUL-F offers modules for individual process steps, e.g. for generating a case number, transfers from XML, as well as for review, hearing, approval.
Since the requirements and processes differ from state to state and municipality to municipality, the modules can be configured to a certain extent. For example, mandatory fields can be freely defined and additional required information can be added in modules. Use cases that have already been identified for the MODUL-F platform include applications for lottery sales outlets, permits for fish trade designations, resident certificates and event registrations.
In the future, the MODUL-F team will continue to develop additional modules and expand configurations centrally in Hamburg. In addition, the development of specialized procedures for EfA reuse is planned.
SaaS solution in the marketplace for EfA services
MODUL-F is designed as “Software as a Service” (SaaS). This means that once the basic technical connection to MODUL-F has been established for the respective administration, all that is required to use both the specialist procedure editor and the specialist procedure portal is a current Internet browser.
However, ordering from the EfA marketplace is not quite like ordering from an online shop, where the installable software lands on the hard drive after payment. Jens Fromm of govdigital explains: Ordering MODUL-F is initiated by the administration through an “expression of interest” procedure. This means that after clicking on “express interest”, consultations begin with the Hamburg Senate Chancellery, which will result in an individual offer and – in the best case – an order. The basis for this is a price model based on the costs of operating the data center. The focus here is on covering the operating costs arising from the subsequent use of the solution. MODUL-F runs in BSI-certified Dataport data centers.
With the availability of MODUL-F on the EfA marketplace, a 2023 product roadmap was announced for the further development of MODUL-F. “The important thing is that we have not fixed what is coming in which release. We now want to focus more on customer feedback”, says Zehra Öztürk. During the development process of the first version, the team asked a lot of questions and analyzed needs, and now the development will be based more on reports from the user community.