OmaEspoo brings services under one roof

Is it possible to offer digital services from one place to nearly 300,000 people?

Is it possible to offer digital services from one place to nearly 300,000 people According to the city of Espoo, it is - as long as the project is done with patience and right partners. In cooperation with HiQ, future definitions of OmaEspoo were made.

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

At some point in their lives, almost every Finn needs services offered by the city: libraries, early childhood education services, or, for example, information about bike lanes. Using these services often means an endless adventure in the city's various online services.

Espoo wants to do things differently. The aim is OmaEspoo service, through which electronic transactions would be made more accessible to everyone.

- The OmaEspoo project for renewing electronic business services aims to find things through a single portal. The purpose is to make the use of digital services smoother, says the development consultant of the city of Espoo Veera Vihula.

The goal was to have a front page that people can click on, whether they want to go on a skating trip or build a house. Creation required using service design.

Service design for results

The best experts in city services are often the city residents themselves. Therefore, their views were considered in the creation of OmaEspoo since the start.

- We wanted to get information about customers' wishes and expectations for electronic transactions and insights from different user groups. OmaEspoo's goal is to improve the customer experience and digital services, Vihula says.

A partner was needed to help in designing a better customer experience.

- Our task was, above all, to gather an understanding of user groups. The key role was the creation of OmaEspoo user profiles and the outline of transaction paths, service designer Niina Halminen comments.

HiQ and the city of Espoo were planning workshops and live meetings, until it turned out that the COVID-19 pandemic had other plans.

- The purpose was to organize a pop-up workshop for residents, but due to the COVID-19 situation, it was not possible to go to libraries or shopping centers. The data was therefore collected from telephone interviews and online with a customer survey. In autumn, when the COVID-19 situation eased, we were able to hold one joint development workshop live, Halminen describes. Social media also proved to be a good channel for reaching people.

- In the Espoo area, social media is used and followed a lot by different age groups, and the recruitment campaign implemented on Facebook, for example, brought the people to the same table, Halminen says.

No traditional divisions

Once material started to accumulate, we started building user profiles. Here, too, we wanted to think differently.

- We didn't set out to categorize based on demographic factors and create profiles by, for example, age groups. Instead, the starting point of the service profiles was the digital services users’ needs all the time, Halminen sums up.

After the user groups had been identified and profiles created, the work continued with focus group interviews and the construction of service paths. The final report was ready in November. Service design continues alongside the implementation work as the development of OmaEspoo progresses.

- We wanted to identify customer needs before choosing an implementation method or locking in a ready-made solution or technology. Thanks to this, we gained an understanding of the best tools for further development, says Veera Vihula.

"Partner must dare to challenge"

Large service design projects demand a lot from the cooperation of different parties. However, when good communication is in place, things can progress smoothly.

- I was satisfied with the good collaboration and how independently HiQ's consultants were able to move things forward. I received exactly the kind of support I needed from an external partner for the project, says Vihula.

When the buyer of service design is a city, some demands are not up for debate.

- Knowledge of the operating environment of the public sector is of primary importance in a partner. You have to be able to embrace it right from the start, Vihula emphasizes.

Niina Halminen says that buying service design also requires skill.

- The city of Espoo clearly knew what they wanted, and we were very much on the same page since the beginning. On the municipal side, we must always remember that everyone must be allowed to have their voice heard. Companies often have more opportunities to target services, but when a service is planned for a city, the user base is large and the result must be functional for everyone.

The city of Espoo is developing the OmaEspoo service during the years 2021-2023. The new service will be available in 2024. Veera Vihula hopes that HiQ will continue to show courage in the design work.

- When we buy consultancy services, we expect the experts to promptly guide the work. You don't have to know everything, but you have to dare to ask everything. The partner must also dare to challenge the customer's thoughts. It requires courage, but it's worth it - that's why we buy expert services, summarizes Veera Vihula.


More recent cases

Integration platform
Integration as Kela’s new digital plinth
Kela gained a vital digital agency in HiQ
Valtori’s web platform leans on Cloudflare
City of Helsinki
Digital commerce platform for Helsinki

Got curious? Get in touch