Print and electronic mail delivery - DocBridge Pilot at State of Burgenland

“The performance and reliability are extraordinary when you consider the extremely complex data structures and number of different formats that the Compart software handles with ease.“

Franz Koch
State of Burgenland

Dual Delivery: Mail from the Government Office – Electronic or Hard Copy?

By setting up a dual delivery system, the state of Burgenland laid the foundation for centralized, multi-channel output management. Digital documents are sent either by e-mail or through an electronic delivery service certified by the Federal Chancellery of the Republic of Austria. Traditional mailings are printed at the EBRZ data center (“Erstes Burgenländisches Rechenzentrum”) and posted to the recipient. The DocBridge Pilot solution prepares the documents for printing and passes them on to the printing production line.

Electronic delivery has priority

Nearly a half-million documents a year

Centralizing output management

Fully scalable software solution

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Dual Delivery - Service by a Modern Customer-oriented Administration

In the state of Burgenland in Austria, paper still reigns – but digitalization is catching up. By establishing a dual delivery system, the state has laid the organizational and technological foundations for multi-channel document processing.

The Austrian state of Burgenland sends nearly a half-million documents a year, most of them by regular mail. The bulk of the documents are dunning and fine notices, requests for payment, confirmations of business registrations and changes, funding approvals, etc. Printing is handled by the ERBZ (“Erstes Burgenländisches Rechenzentrum”), of which the state is part shareholder. Because the law does not mandate paper documents, most could be sent electronically. In fact, Austria’s E-Government Act of 2004 requires federal, state, and municipal agencies to move increasingly toward digital communication.

In Burgenland, for example, individuals and businesses can complete many transactions electronically (e.g., business registrations, employee subsidies). The requester begins by filling out an online form or sending an e-mail request and then receives official notification by e-mail or through an approved electronic delivery service. Electronic delivery services ensure proof of delivery of official communications sent electronically. In Austria, registered letters are designated “RSa” (for personal delivery to the recipient) or “RSb” (delivery to a substitute acceptable). The recipient does have to registered with a delivery service approved by the Federal Chancellery to receive such communications. Examples of approved delivery services include “MeinBrief.at,” “eversand.at,” “BRZ-zustelldienst.at” and “Postserver.at.”

For certain processes (such as in commercial occupational law), a majority of transactions can already be handled electronically. However, due to the fact that very few private individuals and busi-nesses are registered with an electronic delivery service, paper still predominates, especially in penal matters. Over time, however, the physical-to-digital ratio in this sector will surely shift as well.

If not electronic, then traditional

To be able to provide both printed and electronic communications, Burgenland instituted the “dual delivery” principle, which was based on a state resolution that stipulated the following: Electronic delivery has priority. What cannot be delivered electronically is printed and sent by mail. The technological core is a central system that takes documents from the specialized applications (business, administrative penalties, subsidies, etc.) and automatically affixes an official electronic signature.

The system checks a central directory (electronic request router) for all individuals and companies that are registered with an electronic delivery service. If they are registered, the document is forwarded to the service. The service then notifies the recipient of the electronic delivery. After the recipient logs on to the service to retrieve the document, the sender is automatically notified of the download via an electronic return receipt, which indicates proof of delivery.

If the recipient is not registered with an approved delivery service, the document is routed to the data center. The system feeds it as a complete print data stream in PCL and PostScript formats to DocBridge Pilot, the software that the EBRZ chose for their facility. DocBridge Pilot then modifies the document as necessary (converts to another output format, adds metadata for downstream processing), applies a barcode for enveloping, and passes it to the printing/finishing line. The data center also takes advantage of the bundling function built into the Compart solution, which bundles different documents to the same recipient into a single mailing. It is either sent via regular mail in a window envelope or as an “RSa/RSb registered letter,” which is exclusively for use by government authorities and agencies.

Centralized mailing saves postage costs

The state of Burgenland is working towards applying the “dual delivery” principle throughout its entire jurisdiction. Clerks in the individual departments currently send out documents right from the specialized application, which is why the state wants to manage all outgoing communications centrally through the platform and the EBRZ.
The EBRZ is also planning on offering dual delivery to the local municipalities in Burgenland. Franz Koch from the IT staff unit of the State of Burgenland: “Centralizing output management (OM) and bundling allow us to take advantage of bulk discounts and hence reduce overall costs considerably.”

DocBridge Pilot has been in place at the state data center since April 2014. docolution GmbH, Compart’s partner in Austria and proven expert in implementing complex output management projects, handled the software introduction. In fact, docolution’s in-depth knowledge was just as critical as the software itself in the purchasing decision. What Franz Koch and his colleagues especially appreciate about the solution is how well it dovetails with the delivery platform from which DocBridge Pilot retrieves the data for processing and handover to the high-speed printing production line. “The performance and reliability are extraordinary when you consider the extremely complex data structures and number of different formats that the Compart software handles with ease.” Koch also points out that the software can reliably output signed PDF files so the official signature is retained in the printed copy. Koch sums up their reasons for choosing Compart: “DocBridge Pilot takes highly state-specific regulations into account, which makes it very interesting for our applications.”

Dual delivery is being expanded

Franz Koch and his colleagues found out about Compart and docolution through the state government of Carinthia, which has similar OM structures for dual delivery, including the platform. DocBridge Pilot has been running successfully there since 2013. “We knew from Carinthia that the concept worked, and because our general setup is the same, we were able to adopt it virtually one-to-one,” explains the IT expert. Implementation was a breeze and the collaboration with docolution was extremely professional. Any problems that arose during the introduction were quickly addressed, which helped to maintain the schedule.

Because the dual delivery experience was so positive, the state is planning additional projects. It wants to incrementally link other applications to the system by expanding the platform to ultimately tie in all applications that produce output. In any case, the technologi-cal foundations are already in place.

© State of Burgenland

The State of Burgenland

The “Erstes Burgenländisches Rechenzentrum GmbH” (EBRZ) was founded in 1970 as a shared IT operation to ensure cost transparency for each of its shareholders. The EBRZ is held in equal share by the State of Burgenland, Burgenland Energy AG, and the Burgenland Regional Health Insurance Fund. The state is the data center’s main DocBridge Pilot user. The EBRZ prints and sends official correspondence (e.g., notifications), mainly related to administrative penalties and trade. The data center provides the required IT infrastructure and software, however the state runs the actual specialized applications. EBRZ operations are managed in offices at Burgenland Energy and another location four kilometers away in Eisenstadt. Redundant design and clustering ensure uninterrupted operations if a server or location fails. All data are also backed up onto tape libraries at both locations to ensure no loss of data in the event of anomalies in the data store at either location. Both locations are equipped with a controlled access system, an emergency power supply, fire extinguishing systems, and air-conditioning technology – all state of the art. Data are stored only in EBRZ data centers and are subject to the Austrian Data Protection Act.

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