Federal Minister of Finance Olaf Scholz visits Polyteia

Vice chancellor and Federal Minister of Finance Olaf Scholz visited the GovTech Startup Polyteia in Berlin-Kreuzberg. In conversation with the team, the Minister of Finance spoke about the growing impact of startups developing digital solutions for the public sector. The sector known under the term „GovTech“ (Government Technology) is deemed a growth market in Europe and holds great potential for the digital transformation of the political and administrative sphere. 

Faruk Tuncer, CEO of Polyteia, demonstrated the smart governance platform, which merges and prepares data from different sources. Faruk Tuncer and his team of experts in the fields of IT, data integration and analysis founded Polyteia, as they saw a lot of potential for a more effective delivery of municipal services through a better use of administrative data. Through Polyteia’s platform solution, data is being drawn from the different silos of software systems, excel-sheets and analog files and is made available to mayors, treasurers and council members. Municipal managers can thus take better data-informed decisions, communicate better with the council and have the right numbers to respond competently to any questions that might arise. 

The Polyteia founders told Mr. Scholz from their angle how they perceived the digital transformation in Germany. The more than 10,000 municipalities in Germany were on the one hand faced with great challenges, e.g. in regards to the Online-Access regulation, demanding all municipal services to be available online by 2022. At the same time, digital transformation is also leading to internal processes being put under scrutiny. „In many municipalities data is hardly being efficiently used as of now. The collection and preparation of the data consumes big amounts of resources“, says Faruk Tuncer. At the same time, a lot of employees in the public sector keep holding on to these processes.

„There is many bold and innovative municipalities in Germany, who are open towards putting their data to better use through digital tools.“ 
Faruk Tuncer
CEO Polyteia

To develop digital solutions for citizens and municipal employees, startups like Polyteia need access to data, which is often found in legacy systems in public computing centers. With some of these actors, Polyteia was able to initiate fruitful partnerships, which both sides are profiting from. In other cases, the processes of data integration turn out to be lengthy. To support innovation it is especially important, to allow for a better access to municipal data via standardized interfaces. The protection of personal data naturally plays a significant role when dealing with municipal data. What is needed here, is a path that allows for the necessary protection of personal data, but also enables the development of innovative digital solutions. 

Generally, the GovTech startups are in an optimistic mood, according to Tuncer. The sector in Germany is well-connected and the companies support each other. Only joint efforts among the state, established IT industries and startups however could bring about a real digital transformation of the administration. The visit of the Minister of Finance with Polyteia however sends a strong signal for the future cooperation of the federal government and the GovTech startup-sector.