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Stackfield as a success factor for inter-municipal cooperation

4 min read

Highlights

  • Linking communication and project management enables better inter-municipal exchange and efficient project planning
  • Stackfield's GDPR compliance ensures support from regional data centers
  • Valuable synergies are created through improved knowledge and document exchange

About Smart Cities: 5 für Südwestfalen

The smart city municipalities of Arnsberg, Bad Berleburg, Menden, Olpe, and Soest, along with the Südwestfalen Agentur ("South Westphalia Agency"), form the "Smart Cities: 5 für Südwestfalen" ("Smart Cities: 5 for South Westphalia") project consortium as part of the "Smart Cities made in Germany" model project of the German Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community (BMI). Their common goal is to use the digital possibilities in integrated urban development and to develop and implement exemplary smart city strategies and sustainable projects for the region. Here, the changing needs of citizens in terms of their living and working environment play just as much a role as the concerns of the environment and the economy. Südwestfalen Agentur is moderating the process, sharing experiences and findings from the pioneer communities with the cities and municipalities in South Westphalia, and is contributing them synergistically to the REGIONALE 2025 Prozess ("REGIONAL 2025 Development"). The project is funded by the BMI until 2026.

The initial situation

In 2019, the South Westphalia region was given the bonus for the BMI'S federal model project Smart Cities. The funding was intended to structurally strengthen the region, which is more rural than the Rhine region and to create long-term synergy effects between cities, districts, and municipalities.

For this purpose, the regional structure support program was interlinked with the federal model project. In addition, for each district in South Westphalia, a pioneer municipality was chosen, which should think innovatively and realize initial measures from which other cities would subsequently benefit. In the concept "Smart Cities: School", the solutions would later be presented and extended to other municipalities.


Matthias Barutowicz
Matthias Barutowicz - Project manager Smart City - Südwestfalen Agentur

What role does the Südwestfalen Agentur play in this constellation? "The Südwestfalen Agentur was responsible for ensuring that an opportunity for digital collaboration was being created. There had to be a place where the project managers from the respective municipalities and we as an agency could coordinate and centralize the work," explains Matthias Barutowicz, Smart City project manager at Südwestfalen Agentur.

Why Stackfield?

The requirements regarding the platform were demanding and versatile:

  • GDPR compliance and a high level of data protection had to be ensured, as certain data centers in the region block US tools such as Microsoft Teams.
  • The familiarization process should be simple for everyone, and the usability of the tool's functions intuitive.
  • In the future, the various committees should be able to quickly receive a clear visualization of numerous projects.
  • In addition, there was a desire for a central location for document storage - a "single point of truth" where all information comes together.

For these reasons, the final decision was made in favor of Stackfield as a German collaboration platform. Stackfield combines the areas of communication (team chat, video conferencing, screen sharing) as well as task and project management, which makes it perfect for inter-community exchange and project planning – and on top with a clear focus on data privacy and data security.

More overview in the entire project management

For Matthias Barutowicz, one of Stackfield's strengths lies in its project management functions: "An important quality of Stackfield is the portfolio view. With it, the individual pioneer municipalities can quickly present important stakeholders - such as the mayors - a quick and easy insight into running processes and current project statuses." For the "Smart Cities: 5 für Südwestfalen" project consortium, the bundled overview of the topics also marks the first step toward the future use of synergies.

Stackfield's experience shows: There are similar use cases in other companies and industries that demonstrate how project portfolios are increasingly relieving their project managers, highlighting critical deviations in the project course and automating as much as possible.

Eliminating silos, harnessing swarm intelligence

The goal of a "single point of truth" - in other words, a place where all information is collected and on which everyone can rely - is being followed up by everyone involved. At the beginning of the project, it is primarily a common place for document storage, however, other functions of Stackfield are being used as well.

"We control the swarm intelligence via Stackfield's discussion module. Recurring topics and questions that affect all municipalities can be added, making it easier to search for information."

In addition, each municipality uses its own Stackfield workspace, a so-called room group. Within these room groups, various project rooms can be created - for example, a project room where urban data is collected and displayed in a shared dashboard. Barutowicz additionally has a separate room for his three main topics: Committee Work, Smart Cities: School, and Knowledge Transfer. This combination of cross-community collaboration and internal collaboration with just one single tool ensures that silos are being broken down and a better exchange of knowledge is happening.

Personal support - a blessing for every admin

Another reason why Südwestfalen Agentur chose Stackfield was the customer support.

"From my perspective - as an administrator or project manager providing this solution to municipalities - it's a luxury to have primarily technical questions land directly at Stackfield and get answered."

The "customer" is therefore not the respective municipality, but each individual user. This means that anyone can contact personal support directly via the integrated chat function within the software. This way, in case of challenges, solutions can be found more quickly, and smooth work in the tool is guaranteed.

In conclusion: Stackfield creates a strong basis for the project "Smart Cities: 5 für Südwestfalen" and helps to sustainably develop the region.

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Cristian Mudure
About the Author:
Cristian Mudure is the Founder and CEO of Stackfield. He loves digital business models and spends his spare time on the tennis court.
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