Support During the Crisis: An Application System for Covid-19 Aid

Steinbeis team develops digital system for providing emergency support in Bavaria

Germany is responding to the economic crisis triggered by the coronavirus pandemic with huge programs aimed at offering emergency support and bridging loans to companies, institutions, and the self-employed. In practical terms, the programs – which are aimed at certain sectors and occupational groups – are being implemented on a decentralized basis within each of the federal states, which have set up new processes and systems. Obviously, it’s a challenging time. With thousands of cases having to be processed within a very short period of time, IT systems had to be made available quickly to provide support for the administration. The Steinbeis Transfer Center for Business Development, which is based at Pforzheim University, has been providing support with the IT project for the State of Bavaria.

The process steps in the Bavarian application system for bridging and emergency support program.


The Steinbeis Center had already developed and managed the application system for a Bavarian innovation voucher program since 2009. As a result, there was already a digital backbone in place, which could be built upon to launch an application system for the current bridging and emergency support program. In technological terms, the solution is based on a system called the Management Monitor, a proprietary Data Warehouse and Business Intelligence software developed by the Steinbeis Enterprise with exactly the functionalities required to address the current challenge.

After an extremely curtailed development cycle, the project team was ready to go live with the first application system in July 2020, as part of a rapid prototyping process for financial help for venues such as theater houses and movie theaters. In the months that followed, applications were set up for event organizers and sole traders, and a scholarship program was launched for young professionals.

The core function of the application system is to drive the entire digital process underlying the emergency support program – starting with eligible recipients submitting applications online, to application processing at corresponding centers and authorities, and disbursements through the state bank.

The application procedures in detail

Applicants apply for the support they require by entering their personal information on a form provided through a web portal. The website sets up a company and personal account so that applications can be processed on a continual basis. The applicant’s tax return preparer, whose certificate must also be uploaded to the portal, then confirms that the information is correct.

Applications are then validated and plausibility checks are conducted by the software before assigning cases to clerks according to each region and zip code area within Germany. Administration clerks are provided with a task list detailing all open applications that are now ready to be verified. They can automatically ask applicants questions through the system or request further documentation. All communication between applicants and administrators in charge of their cases is documented in the system, and processing statuses can be tracked at any time by authorized users. The system checks all applications received for multiple submissions to avoid any such problems arising in the first place.

After initial checks, application are forwarded to a second reviewer based on a dual-control principle. Applications then go through a multi-stage decision-making procedure before it is finally decided whether they will be accepted or rejected. Decisions are recorded in the system by a clerk, automatically triggering the next stage of the process in which confirmations are set up by the system and issued to each applicant by email. To ensure payments are transferred, data files are created and sent to the state bank for remittance. Possible reclamations can also be set up within the system and issued along the same lines.

At any time, administrators are in a position to obtain clear information on the status of application processing and approvals. Applications can be filtered according to the stage they have reached within workflows with follow-up files to provide an optimal overview. The system offers a variety of filtering options and export functions to allow administrators to work flexibly and carry out their everyday tasks as efficiently as possible.

The application systems provided by the Steinbeis experts have helped ensure applications in Bavaria are processed quickly in recent months. Despite the heavy workload placed on administration clerks, there was still a clear overview and the clear lines of communication meant that every applicant has been able to see the processing status of his or her application – a win-win solution for all parties.

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Prof. Dr. Elke Theobald (author)
Steinbeis Entrepreneur
Steinbeis Transfer Center for Business Development at Pforzheim University (Pforzheim)

Jan Britsch (author)
Head of Software Development
Steinbeis Transfer Center for Business Development at Pforzheim University (Pforzheim)