Eschenburg municipality goes digital with iPads, iPhones, meeting management software, and Cortado MDM.
Eschenburg, a municipality in Germany’s Hesse state, began early its drive to digitalize local government services. Broad deployment began with the municipality’s meetings. Its 40 elected representatives meet regularly to decide on important issues. Until now, large numbers of documents were printed out, sorted, and distributed to the elected representatives every week. This caused an immense amount of work and a significant waste of paper and was something the municipality wanted to resolve.
In this small rural municipality, many tasks must be taken care of simultaneously. A small working group coordinates digitization internally. Launching digital meeting management was a joint mission, from procurement to training for the volunteer committee members. The IT department’s plan was for meeting management to be taken care of digitally via iPads.
Digital Meeting Management, with iPads, iRich, and Cortado MDM
“We worked on it for two years,” recalls Timo Gäßner, originally responsible for finances and budget planning, in addition to being a member of the IT team. “After all, the purchasing iPads had to be included in our budget.” Searching for a suitable tool for a “harmonious setup,” they were given a tip from the service provider w2plus, and Eschenburg selected Cortado MDM. Timo continued: “We were able to define and determine which software or which apps run on the devices and who is allowed to do what with them.” We easily rolled out Microsoft Outlook and Teams, the iRich meeting management software from Sternberg Software, a calculator, the Safari browser, and Apple Mail to the devices via Cortado MDM.
Solely Business Use of iPads
“For the volunteers to work on an equal footing on the meeting management iPads and help each other, this setup was in unison,” he said. Therefore, representatives only conduct official municipality business on the iPads. Of course, accessing the internet with the Safari browser is also possible, but he did not want users cluttering the iPads with non-authorized apps. Timo continued: “At the end of the day, users should find it useful to work with.”
All 40 municipal representatives have now eliminated paper-based work via their iPads. Acceptance by the users, who range in age from 25 to 75, was surprisingly good. All committee members received training in smaller groups. After that, no problems arose from anyone. Timo says, “It’s up and running. It’s being used. And that’s the most important thing.”
iPhones for Building Depot, Waterworks, Public Order Office, Forestry, and Janitors
After the politicians had been fully equipped, planning in Eschenburg continued. The employees at the public order office, the building depot, and the janitors already had smartphones, but they were outdated after two years of use. “We had to think of something quickly, plus avoid any GDPR data protection infringements,” says Timo. So, the municipality decided to purchase iPhones. They are more expensive than many Android devices, but the municipality would only replace them if they were broken or no longer covered by Apple’s update cycle.
For Timo, the collective decision in favor of iOS devices was primarily a question of time. Since he manages the entire IT system on the sidelines due to the size of the municipality, homogeneity of the device fleet was very important. In terms of time alone, he could not deal with managing Android devices in addition to the administration of the iPads.
In the end, the municipality purchased 26 iPhones and distributed them among employees. In the building yard, for example, this meant that CB radio, which did not comply with GDPR data protection regulations, was phased out. In addition to the usual apps, the municipality’s Eschenburg App runs on the iPhones, plus a worktime logger with cost center allocation. Other tools will follow as mobile working in the field becomes even more a part of day-to-day business.
Private Use Allowed
To ensure maximum uptake of devices, employees are also allowed to use the iPhones privately. The devices are synchronized with the cloud each night. So, if at some point it should be necessary to remotely wipe a lost device, employees’ files would not be fully lost and could be restored.
Timo is convinced that digitization depends a lot on the insight and enthusiasm of the individuals involved.
He sums up by saying: “If we had had to set up the iPads by hand, we would have been busy for a long time. We are really satisfied with Cortado. It works for us!”