Electronic allocation

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Electronic procurement (e-procurement for short) refers to the electronic implementation of procedures for the award of public contracts. It is characterized by the use of electronic means of information and communication when awarding delivery, construction and services, especially for public sector institutions in accordance with public procurement law . Electronic procurement is a sub-area of electronic procurement (e-procurement).

Due to a multitude of different technical approaches and portals as well as a lack of binding standards, the interoperability of the applications is often not guaranteed. For this reason, too, the acceptance of electronic procurement in business and trade has so far been low. In view of the economic importance of public procurement, this is to be changed by Directives 2014/24 / EU and 2014/25 / EU (“Sector Directive”). The aim of the guidelines is to make greater use of e-procurement systems in Europe in order to reduce the costs of procurement procedures through increased efficiency.

Requirements from the EU directives

According to the recitals for EU Directive 2014/24 / EU of February 26, 2014, electronic information and communication media should become the standard for communication in procurement procedures. Exclusively electronic communication - in all procedural stages, especially when transmitting offers - should be prescribed by the member states. The systems used and their technical characteristics must not have a discriminatory character and must be generally accessible and compatible with the widely used products of information and communication technology.

In addition, the directives allow the member states to conduct “electronic auctions” under certain conditions, at which new, downwardly corrected prices and / or new values ​​based on certain components of the offers can be submitted.

Situation in Germany

For federal procurements in the so-called upper threshold range (see threshold values ), central procurement offices of the federal government as well as the federal states and municipalities are obliged to only communicate electronically with participants and bidders, including the electronic transmission of requests to participate and offers. All clients and contractors must have completely switched to electronic communication by October 18, 2018 at the latest. Non-electronic documents may no longer be accepted after October 18, 2018. For federal procurement in the below-threshold range, offers and requests to participate must be submitted electronically by January 1, 2020 at the latest.

The obligation in the upper threshold area concerns the electronic data exchange. Public clients are not obliged to process the offers electronically or to carry out the examination and evaluation electronically.

According to the German understanding, e-procurement begins with electronic publication and ends with the award. Another essential element is the EU's e-procurement concept, which includes “electronic procedures for communication and process processing by public sector institutions when purchasing goods and services or tendering public works, from announcement to payment”.

Standard X award

In Germany, the XVergabe standard should make it possible in the future to participate in tenders with application software on the various federal, state and private tendering platforms. XVergabe is developed within the framework of the specifications for electronic data exchange in public administration ( XML in public administration (XÖV)).

Expected benefit of electronic procurement

Every year in Germany alone, public contracts with a volume in the three-digit billion range are awarded. According to a study commissioned by the then Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology in 2008, the total economic costs for awarding public contracts amount to approx. 19 billion euros each year. 14.3 billion euros are incurred for process costs alone, around 2 billion euros for the publication and research of tenders and around 980 million euros for requesting and submitting tender documents. The preparation of the tender documents and the evaluation of the bids received account for the largest share of costs in the entire award procedure, at around 7 billion euros, and thus contain the greatest potential for savings.

In addition to purely monetary effects, the transparent publication of announcements on the Internet has the effect of addressing a far larger number of market participants and thus increasing competition. On the other hand, a high degree of transparency is an important argument for avoiding corruption.

Finally, the use of e-procurement helps standardize processes. Because individual departments or offices of an administration opt for a software solution, the allocation process is standardized for all users.

E-tendering platforms

E-tendering platforms are used to support electronic communication between the awarding authority and the bidder in the context of formal awarding procedures. Functions for the publication of notices, the provision of tender documents, bidding communication and electronic submission of bids are often supported.

Aids for submitting offers

When it comes to the options for submitting electronic bids using the electronic signature , the platforms differ in that they either provide a web-based solution for submitting bids or provide an application to be installed locally on the bidder's computer. Such locally installed fat client solutions are more common due to various security aspects.

Web-based bid submission

The web-based offer submission only requires a current web browser on the user's computer. In terms of security, the main disadvantage here may be that the bidder's confidential data is not already encrypted on the bidder's computer and only then transferred to the tendering platform, but rather when entered by the bidder without end-to-end encryption .

Fat client solutions

In contrast to the web-based submission of tenders, locally installed fat client solutions require the installation of additional software or a client on the bidder's computer in addition to the web browser required for access to the e-tendering platform. The advantage of this variant is that the confidential data is electronically signed and encrypted locally before it is transmitted to the tendering platform.

Notice platforms

Notice platforms are to be distinguished from the e-procurement platforms. These serve as a pure information platform for announcements in the context of procurement procedures. These also include the official platforms TED (Tenders electronic daily), the former Official Journal S of the EU, in which all notifications of tenders must be published across the EU, the expected order value of which is above a defined threshold. The national counterpart in Germany is the bund.de platform . There are also many other tendering portals, including regional portals.

Award management systems

Award management systems support the internal processes of the awarding authority and in particular also take over the audit-proof documentation of the award in the context of an electronic award file (e-award file). Such procurement management systems can be used in addition to an e-procurement platform and belong to the area of ​​e-procurement in the broader sense.


  • Christoph Glock, Michael Broens (ed.): Public eProcurement: Basics, Perspectives and Implementation Aids . B + G Wissenschaftsverlag, Würzburg 2012, ISBN 978-3-944325-00-2 .
  • Dieter Laux: Effectiveness of the use of e-procurement in public administration procurement management. kassel university press, Kassel 2010, ISBN 978-3-89958-864-4 .
  • Rainer Thome, Heiko Schinzer, Martin Hepp (eds.): Electronic Commerce. Application areas and potentials of digital business processing. 3rd, completely revised edition. Vahlen, Munich 2005, ISBN 3-8006-2824-4 .
  • Sven Schindler: Public Electronic Procurement of Municipal Purchasing Associations . 2008, ISBN 978-3-934235-67-0
  • Heiko Schinzer: eVergabe is more than a platform. In: eGovernment Computing. 05/2010, p. 16.
  • Heiko Schinzer: Standard for award. In: Kommune21. 09/2012, p. 40f.
  • Heiko Schinzer, Nicolai Bieber: Electronic allocation and procurement in the public sector. In: Rainer Thome, Heiko Schinzer, Martin Hepp (eds.): Electronic Commerce. Application areas and potentials of digital business processing. 3rd, completely revised edition. Vahlen, Munich 2005, ISBN 3-8006-2824-4 , pp. 135-164.
  • E-Procurement Golden Book of Good Practice. Final report. (pdf) European Commission, accessed on September 30, 2017 .

Web links


  1. Directive 2014/24 / EU. (pdf) European Commission, accessed on September 30, 2017 . Provided on the website of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi). See in particular recitals 52, 53, 55.
  2. Directive 2014/24 / EU. (pdf) European Commission, accessed on September 30, 2017 . Provided on the website of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi). Recitals 52 and 53
  3. Article 35 Directive 2014/24 / EU
  4. Electronic allocation. Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), accessed on September 30, 2017 .
  5. GWB and VgV entered into force on April 18, 2016. Order Consulting Center Bavaria e. V., accessed on September 30, 2017 .
  6. "The design of your internal work processes is left to public clients and companies." Electronic procurement. Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), accessed on September 30, 2017 . Section "Legal Basis of Electronic Procurement"
  7. European Commission: Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: A strategy for e-procurement. COM (2012) 179 final (PDF), accessed September 30, 2017 .
  8. Decision 2017/07 - Awarded as a national standard. IT Planning Council, accessed on September 30, 2017 .
  9. ^ Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy: Public contracts and award. Retrieved July 18, 2019 .
  10. Cost measurement of the processes of public delivery, service and construction contracts. Institute for SME Research (IfM) Bonn, accessed on September 30, 2019 . Completed research project. Access also via IfM materials. Institute for SME Research (IfM) Bonn, accessed on September 30, 2019 . Search / scroll to "cost measurement"
  11. by Rosa Haroon: Tender portals: Nationwide and European tenders. September 18, 2018, accessed on July 18, 2019 (German).