Smart public services

Digitization Made Easy: How a Helpdesk Enables Smart Work in the Public Sector

On the way to a digital society, municipalities, city councils and other players from the local government sector play a central role. They are in charge of shaping the quality of life, work, and location of different areas, as well as the user-oriented citizen services throughout the country. The focus is on a common understanding of digitization, a defined distribution of roles, and clear areas of responsibility.

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What this post is about

  • How can communities take the first steps toward digitization?
  • The digital administration, the municipality as a business, and the community form the local digital ecosystem
  • The first steps are easy thanks to Zammad

Upon hearing the word "digitization", many people still think of paper forms being entered into "contemporary" masks on the computer. But that doesn't even begin to cover it! Digital transformation is, in particular, an accelerator for process optimization. Responsibilities are clearly defined, coordination processes are simplified, and nothing should be forgotten.

There is no single golden road to digitization in the municipal sector. Much depends on where you currently stand (e.g., do you have a digitization officer?), how much understanding there is for the necessity, and whether decision-makers are leading by example.

Let's take a look at the framework conditions for a successful transformation!

What does the ecosystem of municipal digitization look like?

Here at Zammad, we have talked to some key players, which has helped us to build up a deep understanding of the organizational structures and needs of the public sector. It became apparent that there are three major problem areas:

  • Digital administration:
    Can appointments be booked online at the residents' registration office, can business matters be handled digitally, and can daycare places be applied for at the touch of a button? Are all relevant forms available to everyone?
  • "Municipality as a group":
    Local services that benefit the local community are often provided by municipal companies. They benefit from shared technical infrastructure and clear coordination processes.
  • Local community:
    Are all the players in the city, district, or municipal society networked with one another? In other words, citizens, residents, companies, clubs, and associations should be connected to mutually benefit from one another.

A successful digital transformation can only be achieved if all three areas are transformed with equal meticulousness and at a consistent pace. Otherwise, there will soon be a lack of individual willingness to engage with solutions, as they can quickly be considered too complicated when viewed in isolation.

Current status of the Online Access Act

The Online Access Act (Onlinezugangsgesetz), introduced in 2017 with ambitious goals, aimed to achieve the digitization of municipal services by the end of 2022. This initiative was intended to enable citizens and businesses in Germany to conveniently access administrative services through the internet. While this intention was correct and important, the majority of Germany's 11,000 municipalities faced a significant challenge.

Complex federal structures, varying degrees of digitization, and an inconsistent IT landscape contributed to the fact that the desired goal, according to the The Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community (BMI), could not be fully achieved. The conclusion, therefore, is that the successful implementation of administrative digitization requires efficient collaboration, a modern IT infrastructure and the development of common standards among the federal government, states, and municipalities.

In terms of the first two aspects, the use of smart tools like Zammad represents a critical starting point.

Three steps to a digital municipality with Zammad

The good news is that the first steps toward digital transformation are easier than you think. Our smart helpdesk Zammad makes it possible - without any complex restructuring processes for your users or yourself.

Simply link your existing communication channels (telephone, email, fax, etc.) and organize incoming and outgoing requests, messages, and tasks with the help of a simple ticketing system.

Thanks to the open-source license, you can host Zammad on your own server immediately, free of charge, and in compliance with data protection laws (or you can let us help you with deployment and maintenance).

All of these features work out of the box, with no hidden costs:

  • 1. Connect your communication channels

Gone are the days when nobody knew what tasks other team members were currently working on. With a helpdesk system like Zammad, every new message becomes a ticket that needs to be processed - with a defined responsibility, processing status, urgency level, notes, and a ticket history that guarantees nothing is forgotten.

  • 2. Independent task management

Within your organization, you can create as many accounts as you like (called "agents"), assign them access rights and establish clear responsibilities in various teams. This enables efficient and person-independent processing. Text modules and templates for common processes ensure consistent and fast results.

  • 3. Fill the knowledge base

The best thing about Zammad: The more knowledge you accumulate, the easier it will be to answer future inquiries. Simply create a knowledge base for this purpose, which citizens can also access themselves and search using keywords. Meanwhile, you fully control which parts of your knowledge base are public.

And there's much more to discover!

Experience Zammad live at the Smart Country Convention

Theory alone often provides only a limited impression. Witness how Zammad serves as the ideal link between government authorities and citizens in action, from November 7th to 9th at the Smart Country Convention 2023 in Berlin. Our partner OneTouch will demonstrate on-site, at their self-service terminals, how effortless citizen communication can be realized with Zammad.

Never heard of SCCON before? The Smart Country Convention is the leading event for transformation and innovations in the public sector. With the motto 'Stadt.Land.Tech,' it advocates for equal digital living conditions in urban and rural areas, offering a platform for the exchange of ideas and best practices from politics, science, business, and administration.

Interested in having an exclusive conversation with OneTouch? Secure your personal consultation appointment now!


Digitizing communities is key to improving the quality of life, work, and location. Even if you are still in the very early stages of optimizing your processes and infrastructure, the right strategy and technological solutions can help you achieve initial results quickly and easily.

  1. What does the ecosystem of municipal digitization look like?
  2. Current status of the Online Access Act
  3. Three steps to a digital municipality with Zammad
  4. Experience Zammad live at the Smart Country Convention
  5. Summary

*Updated version of the article published in April 2022.

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