Integration as Kela’s new digital plinth

HiQ's integration professionals are building future-proof solutions for Kela that drill deep into to the core of the information society.

Ambientia's public sector unit is now part of HiQ. Read more 

HiQ is helping Kela build an integration platform that allows different IT systems of the giant organization to communicate with each other. For Kela, The Social Insurance Institution of Finland, the development of the integration platform is a top priority to be executed perfectly.

A smoother and more versatile online experience means that citizens' online services run smoothly, and there is no need to pick up the phone. Marko Riihijärvi, in charge of API management in Kela's IT technology unit, says that the organisation has been using old technology and processes, which are now being renewed.

"Through a better integration platform, we can offer better and faster customer experience," he says.

Sami Pippuri, Business Director, HiQ public sector business unit, points out that digitalization in Finland has largely been "surface-level digitalization", such as creating rather simple digital customer channels. The problem is that often the work stops there, the process moves forward manually, and digitalization occupies the back seat.

"Integrations play a very big role as we move forward from here. The cooperation between systems among different actors means that when information changes hands, a lot of integration expertise is needed during the process and between systems”, Pippuri describes.

Integration requires a comprehensive approach

Different systems have an API interface (Application Programming Interface), which enables agile building of integrations between software. It also allows information to move between different software in real-time and automatically.

"We are creating an integration platform for Kela, which enables publishing different application APIs to use by other applications in a controlled manner”, says Pippuri.

HiQ's tasks include automating the platform installation, instructing application development teams on platform implementation, automated monitoring of API interfaces, and appropriate alerts if the interface is not working.

Kela wants citizens to receive the best possible service online, and regarding the integration platform, HiQ is enabling just that. HiQ's experts are positively top-notch, and we are very pleased with how things have gone.

IT Service Manager, Kela

Marko Riihijärvi

"Comprehensive integration work requires diverse expertise, and that's what we've received from HiQ," Marko Riihijärvi praises.

According to Riihijärvi, the challenge is hefty and the responsibility weighty: the well-being of thousands upon thousands of citizens depends on benefits being paid promptly. This is why the heavy machinery must roll on swiftly.

However, changes must be made steadily and surely, avoiding missteps. The modernization project extends all the way to 2030.

"Legislation alone dictates that we must proceed quite moderately, for example, in the creation of a digital service environment. But we are on a truly good path," he believes.

Paper forms into the fireplace?

Riihijärvi notes that the era of waving around paper “ticket-tags” won’t return. Service modernization is becoming increasingly digital, in lieu of the spirit of the information society and better usability.

"Kela's services can appear as a jungle of rules and details. We’re working to improve the structure of all the different entities and features”, he summarizes.

Kela also has long and fine traditions at the forefront of information utilization in Finland.

"Kela is one of the oldest IT companies in Finland, and mainframe computers were assisting in data processing already in the 1960s," Riihijärvi notes.

On the terms of usability

Polishing such a "national crown jewel" as the API management service to a sparkling finish is a matter of honour, assures Sami Pippuri.

"Improving and streamlining transactions is a major goal. It's work that will surely never end," he says.

HiQ's focus is primarily on creating usability. Kela has a limited amount of service time for different stakeholders, and there are small but significant stakeholders that commit a lot of service time.

"We have to create a system that can serve groups as comprehensively as possible through digitalization, create sufficient usability, and significant efficiency," Pippuri outlines.

Marko Riihijärvi considers it important that HiQ's team can keep its eye on the ball: ultimately everything stands or falls on user experience (UX).

"Kela wants citizens to receive the best possible service online, and regarding the integration platform, HiQ is enabling just that. HiQ's experts are positively top-notch, and we are very pleased with how things have gone," Riihijärvi sums up.


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