State-of-the-art onsite search for Bavaria’s authorities

In spring 2021, the starting signal was given for the cooperation between the Bavarian State Office for Digitization, Broadband and Surveying (LDBV) and Iphos IT Solutions, which had launched searchit, a secure and particularly user-friendly enterprise search solution. The aim of the cooperation was to implement an efficient and barrier-free search function for the more than 400 websites of the Bavarian offices. Data security and scalability have been the focus from the very beginning. In the meantime, searchit’s onsite search processes around a quarter of a million search queries per month.

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Three years of cooperation between LDBV and searchit

Digitizing, networking and surveying – that’s what the State Office for Digitization, Broadband and Surveying (LDBV) in the Free State of Bavaria stands for. It also acts as a central IT service provider, the first point of contact for broadband expansion and the collector of basic geodata. In addition, the State Office is also the supervisory authority for more than 70 offices and branch offices. In order to provide both the approximately 3,700 employees of the LDBV and all citizens with a comprehensive multisite search on all websites of the Bavarian ministries and offices, the LDBV has been relying on the enterprise search solution searchit for three years now.

“The tailor-made adaptation of our services and the guarantee of high data security are among the guiding principles of our company. We are very pleased that we were able to convince in the Europe-wide tender of the LDBV,” says Christoph Wendl, CEO of the Austrian IT service provider Iphos IT Solutions, which is behind the development of searchit. “An efficient search function is enormously important for public sector websites in order to make relevant information easily and easily accessible to citizens and employees,” says Mr. M., Systems Engineer at LDBV, explaining the motivation behind the project. “From the very beginning, the Iphos IT Solutions team brought a good understanding of the special requirements of the public sector. Of course, this included all questions relating to data security, but also a cross-agency search for the services of the Bavarian authorities,” continues M., who has been involved in the project since its launch in 2021.


Tailor-made development to ensure the highest safety standards

IT security has the highest priority in the LDBV’s projects, especially in the integration of third-party software. “By default, our application is hosted on the Iphos servers,” explains Wendl. “In order to give the LDBV more control over compliance with its security standards, searchit was implemented on eight virtual machines provided by the State Office.” As a result, the IT security measures are implemented exactly according to the specifications of the LDBV. In addition, it is possible to expand the scope of searchit at any time. “Updates to the software are also carried out directly on site by the LDBV after encrypted, external transmission. This makes uploading to all instances much faster,” explains Wendl.


Multisite search in over 400,000 pages and documents

The basis of the enterprise search software searchit is a full-text search in various data sources – from file and web servers, mail servers, databases and more – with additional functionalities such as automatic categorization. It also makes it possible to search websites in almost all file formats, thanks to Optical Character Recognition even in scans and images. In the LDBV, around 405 overarching websites were precisely crawled and indexed. If you add up all indexed landing pages, images, documents, events and more, more than 400,000 files can already be searched and found – and the trend is rising.
“Intuitive search boxes on websites that also provide the right results prevent high bounce rates. For the Bavarian ministries and offices, this also means that citizens can easily find the information they need and can also navigate easily between the related websites of the ministries and offices,” says Wendl, listing the advantages of searchit . “If, for example, citizens search for information from their local tax office via the website search function, they will also be shown relevant results from the main website of the Bavarian tax office.”


Easy installation, barrier-free application

Which Site Search features are implemented on each of the 405 websites is ultimately the responsibility of the offices themselves. With the individual customizability of the searchit search widget, web administrators can decide on site which functionalities, filters and sorting options are most important for their users and which cross-site pages should be searched using multisite search. The display of results is supplemented with a pictorial preview of the found document or website, which enlarges when the mouse is over. This makes it even easier to find the information you are looking for. “Accessibility is a major concern for us, as well as for the LDBV: Our enterprise search solution is compatible with text-to-speech applications and allows search results to be read aloud to people with visual impairments,” explains Wendl.
Three years after its implementation, the success of Onsite Search speaks a clear word in user statistics. “We can now record around 230,000 search queries per month on all our government websites,” says Mr. M. happily. “For us, this is a clear sign that our multisite search with searchit is very well received by users. The cooperation with Iphos has brought us exactly the search function that the users of our website have been looking for. This means that we are also well equipped for the future.”


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