With the Quality Tools an organisation can evaluate, monitor and compare the quality and use of its services within and between organisations. The tools include a Self-assessment, Customer Feedback and Utilisation Rate Measurement tool and are free of charge. The tools were developed primarily for public sector organisations to help them develop customer-oriented digital services and improve knowledge-based management. On a national level the tools provide data on the state of digitalisation.
The key challenge has been to develop measurement tools that collect unified data from digital services from all levels of public sector to enhance user experience and build customer intimacy between the end-users and public administration. The objective has been to smoothen and straighten digital processes in public digital services. Administrative burden for citizens and businesses is one of the key challenges for public administration. The main objectives in developing the Quality Tools have been to lower this burden as well as decrease costs for both the end-users and public sector at large. The developed service gives visibility to the perceived quality of digital public administration services. Without real-time data about the perceived quality, we cannot offer alternative ways of working and processes for public digital services. Through the Quality Tools we can start deploying activities and measure the effects of the new activities. This will provide us a learning loop and more precise activities to develop better and smoother public digital services for citizens.
The Suomi.fi Quality Tools were launched in the spring of 2022 by the Finnish Digital Agency for evaluating, monitoring, and developing the quality of digital services with a customer-oriented and end-user focus. Key target groups of the Suomi.fi Quality tools are individual private users, business users and public administrations as service providers. The Quality Tools measure the maturity and use of digital services and provide real-time feedback instantly after the use of a service from the end-users. They serve as a means for knowledge-based management, for evaluating, monitoring, and comparing the quality and use of digital services within the own organisation and between organisations and for identifying the strengths and points for improvement of digital services. In the future, when the service is deployed widely across the public sector in Finland, the tools will provide data and a situational picture on the state and quality of digital services on the national level and as a scalable service possibly later EU wide or even worldwide. The Quality Tools are a commensurable solution that all service providers in Finland can use free of charge. Using the service is simple and customer oriented. Once the organisation has access rights to the Suomi.fi Finnish Service Catalogue (PTV) and the service(s) and service channel(s) are described in the catalogue, the Quality Tools can be activated and implemented.
The tools include a Self-assessment, Customer Feedback and Utilisation Rate Measurement tool. The Self-assessment tool includes a national set of criteria that organisations can use to evaluate their digital services internally. With the Customer Feedback Tool service providers can collect feedback from users right after use of the service and it includes a star rating and open feedback form. The Customer Feedback Tool's data model is similar to the user feedback tool provided by EU Commission on the services of the single digital gateway (SDG). The Utilisation Rate Measurement Tool monitors the utilization rate of services and the transition of the usage between different service channels. In addition, the summary view provides for data monitoring and analysing the collected data. The tools have been developed with and in normal software production environment. The service runs on AWS cloud platform utilizing serverless resources, is built with TypeScript, React and Node, and is deployed using Drone. The technical documentation is in Finnish and English (https://palveluhallinta.suomi.fi/en/sivut/laatutyokalut/tekninen-yleiskuvaus). The source code is in English.
In the future, our aim is to have most or even all public sector organisations, but also private and third sector organisations, to be using the service, as they discover its benefits. Then we will have an accurate and real-time overview of the state of digitalisation and quality of digital services on a national level. Organisations will have better tools and means to develop their services. Citizens will have smoother and more customer-oriented digital services offered to them. As a scalable solution, the opportunities to expand the deployment of the Quality Tools also to other countries, are realistic.
The development of the service was started by the initiative of the Finnish Government, more precisely the Ministry of Finance. Key drivers included having a situational picture of the state of digitalisation and the quality of services on the national level, boosting digital services and excelling in customer relationship. As the responsible agency for digitalisation of society The Finnish Digital Agency was commissioned to develop the service and the Quality Tools in a customer- and user-oriented manner using service design, agile, lean and scrum methods. The service and the tools have been co-designed with our customer organisations and end-users.
What Makes Your Project Innovative?
Suomi.fi Quality Tools is a unique, universal and never seen before service for public sector organisations to evaluate their digital services. The service’s user interface gives access to citizens, administrations and media to view, compare and benchmark the collected data transparently. Finnish government provides these tools free of charge to all public, private and third sector organisations.
A uniform way of valuating services increases interoperability, improves the transparency of the level and quality of the digital services, and makes it easier to compare nationwide or even EU wide or globally. A dashboard view provides organisations with useful information about their digital services to support them in developing and monitoring their services. The collected data can be used by the customer organisations through an API. The information produced for the Finnish Service Catalogue is used in the Quality Tools as a source data, another Finnish innovation.
What is the current status of your innovation?
At the moment, we are actively marketing and promoting the service to increase its awareness and get more users. Currently, ten organisations, including public administration organisations and municipalities, are using the service. The tools have been activated by twenty services.
We are constantly developing the service further through user testing and user experience research. In the near future, we will widen the Customer Feedback Tool, ie. by implementing SDG common goals to the tool, and co-develop further the Utilisation Rate Measurement tool. Also UI/UX improvements will be made. We will also link our data model to the Core Public Service Vocabulary Application Profile (CPSV-AP). Moreover, opening the source code is under consideration. We provide an API and focus on developing it to make data and feature sharing easier and data collecting more automatical. We have created a versatile platform. The technical solution is scalable and already in use in other use cases.
Collaborations & Partnerships
- Civil service organisations and municipalities (customer organisations): development in close collaboration with users to gain an understanding of current status and future needs, feedback on the service throughout the development process and reacting upon it
- Citizens: understanding the usability of and interest for the service
- Government officials (ie. Ministry of Finance): service development funding, active dialogue about governmental needs and feedback on process and deliverables
Users, Stakeholders & Beneficiaries
- Public sector organisations: accessible, safe and free solution for improving the quality of digital services, no need to develop/acquire own tools and measures, saving resources, knowledge-based management tool
- Citizens: engaging in the development of services, awareness of their quality, better services and digital customer experience in the future
- Government officials: situational picture of the nationwide state of digitalisation, supporting the development of better public services
Results, Outcomes & Impacts
The innovation has raised a lot of interest among potential customer organisations. Also big central government organisations (i.e. Finnish Tax Administration, Social Insurance Institution of Finland, Police of Finland) and big municipalities (cities of Turku and Lahti) either have already implemented the Quality Tools in their services or are considering to.
First user experiences (user interviews and tests) are positive. The self-assessment tool is seen as a useful check list and tool to identify pain points for the development of services. The customer feedback tool is appreciated for its simplicity and possibility to give anonymous feedback, lowering the threshold of citizens to give feedback.
Status 30 Sep 2022: 10 organisations and 20 services are using the tools. We expect the number to grow significantly, once awareness of the service is raised and organisations have figured out how to analyse and report the data and integrate the tools into their internal processes.
Challenges and Failures
The challenges encountered have mainly been related to internal organisation. There have been some changes in the development team during the development process over the past 3-4 years. This has most probably influenced continuity of and passing on the knowledge gained throughout the process. On the other hand, this has enabled for new and fresh ideas to come up and the agency has made sure that the team members have always been experts in their field.
No major failures have been encountered, i.e. minor bugs in the technical delivery of the service have been solved in an agile manner.
Conditions for Success
- Knowledgeable, motivated and committed core and development team with good
chemistry and a startup attitude
- Sufficient and long-term human resources ensured
- Holistic approach
- Modern processes, methods and tools (i.e. service design, scrum, agile)
- Digital tools for working, sharing and communicating
- Access to information
- Transparent and well-documented development process
- Committed partners and collaborators
- User involvement and engagement
- Stakeholder management, facilitation and communication skills
- Leadership and guidance, change management and leadership skills from project managers, team leaders and upper management
- Vision, support and commitment from upper management
- Sufficient and long-term financing and governmental support
- Diplomacy and endurance
The Suomi.fi Quality Tools have not yet been replicated by other organisations. However, the technical solution and platform is scalable and already in use in other use cases inside the agency. We see no barrier why the Quality Tools could not be implemented in other countries, as well. We believe that public administration also in other countries are facing the same challenges of administrative burden of citizens and businesses and lack unified measurement tools to collect data from all levels of public sector digital services.
We are open to share our experiences, knowledge and information of the development, features, technical aspects and requirements of the Suomi.fi Quality Tools and provide support to our partner organisations in other countries.
- Prepare for a multiphase development process and delays
- Be realistic about the innovation’s time-to-market and the time it takes for the service to be deployed by customers, especially in public development projects and with public sector organisations
- Knowledgeable, motivated and committed core and development team with good chemistry and a start-up attitude main key success factor
Now after the launch of the service, we will continue in constantly developing the service in collaboration with our stakeholders in an iterative manner. We will continue to explore networks and expand the work with our stakeholders.
We will strive towards having a real-time situational picture of the digital services in Finland, which will be developed using data-based analytics and modern technology, such as artificial intelligence and automation. Moreover, perhaps later the service will be replicated also by other nations.
- Implementation - making the innovation happen
- Evaluation - understanding whether the innovative initiative has delivered what was needed
20 January 2023