Helsinki on its way of becoming the most digital city in the world

The ambitious goal of Helsinki to become the best city in the world regarding the utilisation of digitalisation is not possible without a functioning digital foundation and common platforms and enablers.

Mayor of Helsinki Jan Vapaavuori said: “Digitalisation is transforming our world significantly, and the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated this change. The need and demand for digital services have rapidly grown, but the City is aware that we must also invest in digitalisation more extensively, with a strategic and sustained approach. This was our aim already before the pandemic, as part of the City’s ambitious digitalisation programme. In the future, we want to proactively target services to the residents that need them. This requires extensive utilisation of analytics and data, as well as a well-functioning digital foundation for all City services”.

Helsinki wants to make its services easier to find and use. Sometimes the best service is one in which a resident’s need is met automatically. In preparation for these kinds of more personalised and need-oriented digital services, the City of Helsinki is renewing its online services and transaction portal in 2021-2022.

Helsinki’s Chief Digital Officer Mikko Rusama says: “The various units of the City of Helsinki need a functioning digital foundation, common platforms and tools as well as high-quality data for the development of their services. These things speed up achievement of the City’s digitalisation goals and enable the transition to a City that anticipates service need and operates on people’s terms”.

A further goal is the controlled reduction of the City’s large number of application platforms – currently there are about 900 different systems in use. Fewer but better applications will generate cost savings, make services easier to find and reduce information security risks.

Implementation of the City’s data strategy for improving the usability and availability of resident data is another main objective. Helsinki aims to generate the most usable and used city data in the world by 2025. At the same time, the common analytics environment allows for more effective utilisation of artificial intelligence and machine learning in City services.

Helsinki also develops common data and analytics management. The goal is to procure and maintain common data and analytics solutions for the whole city, such as a 3D model of the city and the Helsinki Region Infoshare service, as well as support the utilisation of data, advanced analytics and machine learning. In addition, the goal is to make situational assessment data and forecast models more utilisable in the City’s continuous strategy work and interest representation.

The City of Helsinki is also busy renewing its infrastructure services and basic information technology services. The goal is to provide the City with functioning and safe data communications, allowing for new and innovative services. In addition, the common digital foundation improves the cost-efficiency and availability of capacity services provided for the City. It is also important that the digital foundation enables quick and easy support and makes high-quality tools available to municipal employees.

Established at the beginning of 2021, the digitalisation unit of Helsinki City Executive Office aims to ensure a smoother everyday life for residents by offering services in a more personalised and proactive manner. A further aim is to automate the City’s service processes and to create self-service options that are independent of location and time.