Case The Finnish National Agency for Education

The Finnish National Agency for Education develops its information systems in a customer-oriented manner

Case The Finnish National Agency for Education

The Finnish National Agency for Education develops its information systems in a customer-oriented manner

The conglomerate formed by Gofore an Cybercom Finland Oy has supported the Finnish National Agency for Education in the change since 2011.

Digitalization is one of the cross-cutting flagship projects of the current government agenda, and many public actors are considering how best to respond to the needs of citizens and a changing society. However, the most effective solutions don’t come from the digitalization of individual functions or the updating of technologies. Development must be done deeper than the surface.

One of the pioneers is the Finnish National Agency for Education, which has developed its service-oriented operations since the early 2010’s.

– The task of architecture-based development is to integrate the organization’s operations and related information systems and technologies into a whole. In practice, this means that the focus is on developing operations effectively – not on the information system itself, says Erja Nokkanen, Head of Digitalization Unit of the Finnish National Agency for Education.

The tight schedule required new operating models

In the Finnish National Agency for Education, a new way of doing began with the SADe program, which was launched in 2009 and funded by the Ministry of Finance, with the aim of accelerating digitalization and democracy. At the same time, the Finnish National Agency for Education made a strategic policy to start building service-oriented system architecture. Architecture-driven development enabled agile development in a multi-actor environment.

– The aim was to combine and develop many of the Finnish National Agency for Education’s systems so that the customer is at the center. However, the project schedule was tight, and legislation was pending. Success wouldn’t have been possible if we had indefinitely defined and implemented the waterfall model, Erja Nokkanen explains.

Development work was started in close co-operation with ICT software companies, and the ongoing operation with Gofore also began.

– Gofore encouraged us to set off. They have also been strong from the beginning in that every project is considered from the perspective of operations and its development – instead of the technology or the system, Nokkanen says.

Information systems respond to an organization’s operations and adapt to the needs of the changing world

When an organization keeps development and architecture in its own hands, the result is a solution that corresponds to the organization’s operations one hundred percent.

– There are no ready-made solutions, but the value comes from the fact that we can genuinely develop and think about our operations with our customer, Nokkanen says.

– Good designing and defining allow for a seamless solution that’s easy to edit and maintain. The IT industry is advancing rapidly, and the system, designed with modern methods, enables continuous development, says Arto Seppänen, Gofore’s UX designer.

The Studyinfo site was built as a result of long-term cooperation

A concrete example of service-oriented architecture and one of the services that originated from the SADe program is the Studyinfo.fi service package, which was created in collaboration with the Finnish National Agency for Education, Gofore, Cybercom Finland and several other ICT suppliers.

The Studyinfo combines several different services in one place and is used by both educational actors and learners at several different levels of education. A service-centric approach plays an important role in ensuring that, from the customer’s perspective, the path from one level of education to another is seamless and the user experience first-class. However, that doesn’t mean rising costs – on the contrary.

– In SADe project, we sought financial benefits, and they have materialized well. Although the service is expanding, the costs will not increase in the same proportion. The work already done can be utilized in new development targets and information contents, Nokkanen states.

The services related to the Studyinfo site have been introduced in stages during 2013­–2019, and currently Gofore and Cybercom are responsible for the maintenance and further development of the service package.

– Development work like this also requires perseverance from partners. With Gofore, it has come true. I think they are acting responsibly and taking care of their staff, which is also visible to us. They have always found professionals for our projects, and agility and flexibility have been maintained, although Gofore has grown during our collaboration.

– The basis for the long-term relationship has been customer satisfaction. I appreciate their customer orientation and versatile services, as well as the fact that the people at Gofore are uncomplicated in nature, innovative in their ideas and solution oriented in their work. Our experience is that Gofore strives to provide added value for customers in a way that combines the customer’s goals and their values, sums up Pekka Matikainen, Head of Counsellor of Education unit in Finnish National Agency for Education.

Project Highlights

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Mission

To develop the National Agency for Education’s information system from the needs and services of the organization’s operations – in a customer-centered way.
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Approach and work

In architecture-driven development, the operating models are developed first and only after that the information systems that respond to changed practices.
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Outcome

The new method enables continuous development in a multi-actor environment and long-lasting partnerships. At the same time, cost savings are achieved when the work already done can be utilized again.

"The task of architecture-based development is to integrate the organization’s operations and related information systems and technologies into a whole. In practice, this means that the focus is on developing operations effectively – not on the information system itself"

Erja Nokkanen

Head of Digitalization

The Finnish National Agency for Education

Interested? We would be happy to talk more!

Riikka Vilminko-Heikkinen

Sales and Customer Value