The Austrian government started a digital reformation process 20 years ago. Austria was lagging behind in the EU rankings. One of the key actions consisted of separating strategy from implementation.
At the policy/strategy level, the focus is on feasibility and prototyping so as to define a minimum set of strategic guidelines.
At the operational level, the key goal is to deliver IT services that are commercially competitive.
The eGovernment Innovation Center (EGIZ) is in charge of strategic innovation. Scope of work: feasibility and prototyping; unbiased from the perspective of companies that are selected to do the work. The goal is to make sure that openness and interoperability are the gold standards for government technology innovation. Any organisation, down to the municipal level, can leverage the work of EGIZ. The need to do so is particularly urgent in small to medium-sized public administration because, internally, such organisations have the resources only to carry out day-to-day activities.
BRZ is the operating arm. It provisions finance systems, citizen web portals, and registries for the federal government.
EGIZ and BRZ collaborate closely, but they are independent. For example, they are currently working to integrate pictures from passports and driving licenses with school grades to create an official school record that can help citizens apply for jobs.
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⭐ Good Practice Description
The Austrian government started a digital reform process almost 20 years ago. Austria was lagging behind in terms of the EU’s eGovernment Benchmark. So, the decision was taken to create two agencies at the federal government level, which took the lead in digital transformation programmes: The eGovernment Innovation Centre (EGIZ) in charge of strategic innovation and the Federal Computing Centre (BRZ) is the operating arm.
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Separating innovation (EGIZ) from implementation (BRZ) has helped the Austrian Federal Government focus all government innovation decisions on interoperability standards, feasibility, and prototyping, as defined in a minimum set of guidelines. The two agencies collaborate closely but they are managed and funded separately.