With Terravis the goal was to digitalize access to the land register data and processes in Switzerland. Initially only as information: All participants in the real estate business were to be given the ability to read out digital data from the land registries instead of having to use paper, as was the case up until then. For instance, considering the stock exchanges and how simply digital business is conducted there, the paper-based bureaucracy in the real estate area seemed out of date.
But as simple as it sounds, in actual practice, it involved a number of challenges: above all the differences in processing in 26 independent cantons. For which reason, it has sometimes proven to be a rocky road. One of the positive aspects, however, was that numerous secondary developments and ideas arose during that period.
Close collaboration with INNOQ
INNOQ came on board when it was no longer about just digital information, but the fully digitalized processing of business transactions in the area of real estate (Terravis e-commerce (eGVT)): across domains, end to end. In the future, Terravis was to enable the land register, notary’s office, and financial institution to do without paper.
The close collaboration between INNOQ and SIX Terravis created the technical prerequisites: An engine was needed. The system had to be manageable and serviceable – corresponding to a process engine available on the market. INNOQ did a product evaluation and finally took on the development of the back end. Result: The process is now fully digital, with the exception of the customer’s signature at the notary’s office, which still has to be “analog.”
The collaboration with INNOQ is very close and takes place in a spirit of partnership. It is especially nice that communication takes place not just on the technical level but on a functional level as well – as a team, we form a unit.Walter BerliDeputy Director, Project Manager Terravis and SIX Nominee
In the third step, the “Nominee” module added fiduciary administration of land office promissory notes – in these cases, SIX SIS AG is entered in the land register as the creditor. From both a technical and an administrative perspective, this process is quite complicated. INNOQ took the lead in designing the technical architecture. That’s the great thing about close collaboration: Contracting party and service provider grow together, and all the participants learn from one another.
Hurdles for fully digital administration
However, the complexity of Terravis also shows the special challenges in the digitalization of public administration, particularly in regard to the interplay of public administration and private enterprise: For instance, the law had to be changed, so that SIX Terravis, as a private enterprise, could carry out corresponding functions. This required some lobbying, and, in addition to the technical aspects, the interests of the stakeholders – cantons, federal government, banks, notaries, and others – had to be taken into consideration. For this reason, the selected model, public-private partnership, was surely the most promising approach to a solution.
The detailed dialog used by SIX Terravis has proven to be a recipe for success: The project managers drove from canton to canton, spoke with the stakeholders, got feedback, and took doubts seriously. This enabled trust to grow, fears to abate, and the product to improve and become more closely aligned with needs.
In the end, the success of digitalization projects always has to do with the human level: Allies are needed in public administration and business – people who follow a project with enthusiasm and can therefore also overcome the inevitable obstacles, whether legal, security-related, or economic. That is exactly how it was in this case, so we are proud of having made a contribution to the digitalization of Swiss public administration.