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Getting ITSM processes on the right track

Published 26-04-2022, last updated 01-02-2024 3 min read
Getting ITSM processes on the right track CLEVR Blog Overview

The Central Data Processing Agency for Hessen, Germany (HZD) is the central IT service provider for the Hessian state government since 1970. At its sites in Wiesbaden and Hünfeld about 1,000 employees develop and operate practical solutions for a citizen-oriented administration.
HZD is the central IT procurement office of the State of Hessen. Comprehensive quality management that ensures continuous self-testing of all HZD products and services is the foundation of HZD’s work.

After some 15 years in operation, HZD has replaced the previous "KONSENS Incident Management" platform with a new, cross-organisational and nationwide ITSM transfer platform. The new cornerstone of the interstate incident and problem management solution is called ORBIT. It is implemented in both the national KONSENS network and the e2 network.

Cooperation between the German federal government and the states (Länder) is an increasingly important success factor in the digitisation of Germany. Germany's federal tax authority has had a long-standing practice of cooperation in the development and use of tax software (KONSENS) across state lines, a practice that has been regulated by law since 2017. The justice system also develops software cooperatively in the e2 alliance. 

The joint use of software has its own inherent challenges: How can efficient support processes be ensured across state lines? As a rule, each state and each department administration within each state (if applicable) has its own individual processes and ITSM tools. These domains need to be connected intelligently in order to ensure the stable, trouble-free operation of the federally developed software. A typical real-world example: Dealing with a glitch that occurs in one state but that needs to be fixed in another - because that's where the responsibility for software development lies.

This is where ORBIT comes in: ORBIT enables transparent communication of operational processes (tickets), without media discontinuity, across system and state boundaries. This way, tickets are not simply forwarded, but are appropriately converted to suit the target systems, and all transmitted data is stored in a central database. For the exchange, all parties involved continue to use the customary internal ticket systems for that state. This fosters acceptance, increases efficiency and minimises costs, while creating additional capabilities through the central hub, e.g. central traceability. The planned KONSENS tax administration set-up connects the ticket systems of all 16 states, the federal government and ELSTER in this way. In the justice department's e2 network, six states communicate via ORBIT.

HZD is responsible for both the interstate ITSM processes and the provision and operation of the ITSM transfer platform - and has built up many years of expertise in this area. The IMK platform previously used for interstate support had been in use for 15 years. During this time, the underlying product experienced several vendor changes and was ultimately discontinued at the end of 2021. The HZD used this pause as an opportunity to modernise and completely redesign the platform from the ground up. 

By means of a tender, a sustainable product based on the Mendix low-code platform was found and implemented together with the Mendix expert CLEVR. The new platform enables a solution tailored to the specific needs of public authorities, which meets the growing demand for interstate incident and problem management. Its suitability was proven within the context of extensive testing in the HZD, so that ORBIT's implementation could be achieved in 2021.

ORBIT became operational on 26 November 2021. The HZD has migrated a total of more than 6,000 open tickets to the new platform, thereby ensuring seamless continued case-handling by the states. Thanks to good cooperation with contact persons in the other states, and successful prior testing, the migration and thus the linkage of the 18 connected ticket systems for KONSENS and the judiciary could be put into production successfully within just a few hours.

With ORBIT, HZD now has a future-proof product at the outset that enables easy, rapid integration of new clients and new connections within clients. In addition, low-code technology enables the implementation of new and close-fitting requirements much more quickly. In addition to KONSENS and the judiciary, other projects and cooperative ventures that work together across state lines can also benefit from this in the future.

ORBIT has the potential to become
Germany's premier public administration ticket transfer platform.

"HZD achieved a bespoke solution within just a few months. The project's high degree of complexity, the many systems involved and the associated external impact required meticulous planning and the participation of many stakeholders - both in Hessen and nationwide. The fact that the "big bang transition" was executed on time and almost silently speaks for itself. With ORBIT, the foundation is now in place to offer our customers the best possible support in the future and to be able to address new challenges professionally", according to Markus Brückner, Head of Customer Management, Controlling, ZOE REM.

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