publicplan: Driving Innovation in Public Sector
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Publicplan: Driving Innovation in Public Sector

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Dr. Christian Knebel, CEO, PublicplanDr. Christian Knebel, CEO
Unlike the private sector, public agencies face unique challenges when it comes to acquiring, implementing, and using digital tools and technologies. “It is necessary to cope with very complex organizational structures and a range of different stakeholders and agencies. Also, mandates, constituencies, and legislative terms must be considered when implementing new IT-systems,” reveals Dr. Christian Knebel, CEO at publicplan. With an aim to translate complex processes into digital services that offer a great user experience, publicplan specializes in developing innovative egovernment software and services. The company provides citizen-friendly egovernment and makes processes as easy as possible for both—public administrations and citizens.

Since its inception in 2010, publicplan has been a driver of innovation in the field of egovernment. The company actively pushes technological innovations and makes them suitable for the public sector with its web and open source-based software solutions. By translating best practices into the public context, publicplan develops highly innovative, flexible, cost-efficient, and secure solutions and products. The product portfolio encompasses the content management system based on Drupal 8 (deGov), chatbot systems (GovBot) as well as secure chat/messenger software (GovChat). “publicplan pushes the use of open source software in the public sector by introducing it in consulting projects as well as software and web portal development that complies with various constituencies and legislative terms of the country,” says Dr. Knebel.

To begin with, publicplan assists clients in web development with CMS Drupal—from consulting to conception. deGov that offers highly secure and flexible software architecture with greater accessibility. A Drupal 8 open source distribution, deGov contains optimal features and functionalities for websites of public administrations. An advantage of using open source software is that it doesn’t enforce mandatory license fees, and the only time a cost occurs is when an individual module or service is provided.


publicplan pushes the use of open source software in the public sector by introducing it in consulting projects as well as software and web portal


publicplan’s product portfolio also includes GovChat, a messenger software that provides a wide range of functionalities—video telephony, data transfer, and conversations in private chats rooms—for public administrators. The software combines simplicity and a high level of data security to ensure encrypted communication between the server and client at all time.

publicplan plays a pivotal role in improving the technical processes within the public sector. An excellent example of this is its GovBot, developed to virtually assist the needs of the sector. “The product is already integrated with different public websites, providing information about services to citizens,” mentions Dr. Knebel. The system can connect to data resources via API and provide a wide range of information and specialized knowledge. The virtual assistant uses machine learning technology to communicate based on the uniqueness of each conversation held. This enables conversations in natural language between the users and AI. The chatbot uses the answers to improve its language and the quality of its responses. “For the city of Bonn we developed a chatbot that allows the user to apply for a personal license plate,” Dr. Knebel adds. What makes publicplan unique is the fact that they are exclusively working for the public sector. The company is familiar with the challenges and requirements important in the field of IT services.

To highlight publicplan’s capabilities, Dr. Knebel details an instance of developing a web portal for the public sector. The company had to design a web portal for digital business registration in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW). The portal based on Drupal 8 allows users to register their business from home electronically. With the aid of an arranged online form, commercial registration is then transmitted to a concerned public authority with just a few clicks. publicplan integrated the portal with GovBot to enable smart dialogue assistance for questions as well as saved the complicated search for many similar types of businesses.

Scripting similar success stories, publicplan will continue supporting egovernment solutions with its in-depth understanding of the public sector.