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Regional State Administrative Agency brings an unprecedented statistical service to the public

The data-driven management service developed by Netum for the Regional Administration Agency collects not only the agency’s own statistical data but also other public statistics on one website. With the new service, anyone can search, combine, visualise, and utilise data from different sources.

In Finland, the Regional State Administrative Agency (AVI) manages the implementation, guidance, and supervision of legislation. In addition, six regional agencies are responsible for issuing different permits, distributing government grants, and organising training on a wide range of scales. Data-driven decision-making is at the heart of the operation.

– “The more data we have and the easier it is to use it, the better the decision-making and the more effective the public services available in our country are,” says Roope Tahvanainen, AVI's Development Manager, summarising the significance of data-driven management for AVI.

A few years ago, AVI realised how tedious the process of collecting, combining and visualising data and statistics from different sources is. Not only AVI's own officials but also municipal and ministerial experts needed more efficient utilisation of statistical data in their decision-making. A vision of an open and free-of-charge data-driven management site was born, where anyone could gather and view statistical data from different sources according to their needs.  

We wanted to avoid a silo mentality and instead highlight broader phenomena. “For example, the exclusion of young people has many different perspectives and variables that explain the phenomenon for their part,” says Tahvanainen.

AVI's Development Manager Roope Tahvanainen

Service planning started in 2020. Since spring 2021, Netum has been responsible for the site’s technical development, such as the building of a data platform and the application development of the main element of the data-driven management service, the statistical search. After a couple of years of hard work, the data-driven management service is ready for public use. It allows you to search for and combine statistics, and with just a few clicks you can create visual graphs about the statistics you want.

Accessible and easy to use 

The most important content on the data-driven management website are the statistical search and the phenomenon pages. The site has been embedded the data service components produced by Netum, such as statistical search, regional selection and individual graphs. The statistical search developed by Netum consists of nearly 4,000 indicators, and the data is available from several different source systems. In fact, the data service is linked to a Microsoft Azure-based data platform, which serves as an overall solution for reporting, analytics, and data storage.

The implementation of the project in sprints and with agile methods helped to achieve the desired result. In addition, the site was piloted at an early stage, and based on that, feedback was collected in several different ways, such as in a workshop format. Ville Jurkkola from Netum, who piloted the data-driven management service, sees the result as a socially significant achievement, especially from the point of view of accessibility and open data. Even before the publication, the service received an honorary mention in Statistics Finland's Datamenestyjät competition.

In addition to traditional user experience, the accessibility of the service has been given special attention in design, and the service has been subject to an accessibility audit. “The statistical search and the website are thus able to serve citizens very widely,” says Jurkkola.

Netum's Ville Jurkkola

Although Netum has long experience in public service development projects, the data-driven management service is exceptionally complex, and there are not many data platforms as vast as this in Finland. Jurkkola has seen how AVI's data-driven management has made strides during the project.

– “It has been amazing to watch the development of the service along the way. I am impressed that we have been able to help build a service with a huge data set that is easily and openly accessible to everyone.” 

Roope Tahvanainen and Ville Jurkkola

Ambitious development

The data-driven management service will be further developed even after the website has been published. The more indicators the statistical search contains, the more the website will be constructed towards guidance so that the service is as user-oriented as possible. Data related to different social phenomena is also gradually being added to the website. Tahvanainen flashes the provision of service interfaces to other agencies in the future.

– “We are not jealous of the service, but its main purpose is to support and facilitate the data-driven management of both us and our stakeholders,” says Tahvanainen.

Finland is the promised land of statisticians, and now the extensive statistical data is more easily available than ever before. What does Tahvanainen want to say to the future users of the data-driven management service?

“You should get to know the website in a variety of ways and also utilise data that describes phenomena more widely. I also encourage the search for different correlations: there can be interesting connections between different phenomena in the statistics,” says Tahvanainen.