After the cosy evening at Altes Tramdepot, surprisingly, everyone arrived on time at University Bern. Perhaps it was the anticipation of the forthcoming presentation that got everyone excited. And we would not be disappointed.
The program started with Peppino Giaritta, Federal and Cantonal Commissioner for Digital Public Services Switzerland. Digital Public Services (DPS) formally exists since March 2021 and acts as a network administration organization. It is intended to foster coordination between the federal government, the cantons and the communities with regard to digital transformation projects, the definition of standards in the area of data management, the consistency of processes, and the identification and provision of basic services such as identity services. Biggest challenges are missing digital services and the dynamics of digital transformation, mainly regarding a lack of speed in institutional process compared to the fast technological development. Thus, DPS is directly seed funded by the Federation of Switzerland. The success of the Swiss Covid Certificate might be an enabler for DPS in its further development.
After a short coffee break we got blasted by the stunning performance of Isabelle Emmenegger, Assistant Director of the Federal Customs Administration (FCA). She gave an insight in the DaziT programme, probably the most advanced digital transformation project of the Swiss administration. Apart from the digitalization, DaziT also contains a reorganization process, aiming to merge customs and border security sections to become the Federal Office for Customs and Border Security. Therefore, cultural change represents the biggest challenge besides the usual technical issues. Learnings from the project so far are a clear user focus, need for radical simplification, a holistic approach rather than patchwork solutions, going step by step and establishing a culture of error, and last but not least, integrate the cultural transformation.
After lunch we left Berne for the first time heading straight to Biel where summer 2021 stroke back with its never ending rain. We were awaited at the city council building in the old town of Biel by Silvia Steidle. The current finance director of the city surprised us with a political role play. We formed a fictive city council and parliament. We then were handed a real interpellation, motion, and postulate and were advised to debate them in the two committees. The FDP politician Steilde provided some first-hand information about the ongoing financial and political situation of the city.
Our last visit was truly the icing on the cake of a very insightful and exciting day.