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Helsinki to lay out rules of engagement in new data strategy

Helsinki’s data strategy aims to define the city’s key informational content, permanent data assets, organisation methods and required resources.

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The Helsinki data strategy aims to set up rules that municipal players stick to
The Helsinki data strategy aims to set up rules that municipal players stick to

The city administration of Helsinki has announced it is formulating a data strategy, following the appointment of a head of data. Kimmo Karhu is named in charge of both the data strategy and its implementation.

 

Another Helsinki goal is to promote the introduction and use of automation and, similarly, Helsinki City Executive Office has recruited Janne Kantsila as a robotics special planner to spearhead the programme.

 

Resident services

 

In addition to “mobilising information” for better resident services, Helsinki’s data strategy aims to define the city’s key informational content, permanent data assets, organisation methods and required resources. The ethics of data and who maintains ownership of it are also important considerations.

 

“In a manner of speaking, the city can be seen as a platform for various municipal entities that function as independent actors. The platform will work best if we manage to come up with some common rules and encourage groups to share information,” said Karhu.

 

He continued: “The objective of the data strategy is to set up good rules that municipal players stick to, and that the city would provide a data platform that is of help to both individual actors and sectors.”

 

Meanwhile, automation is already in use in various parts of the city organisation such as finance unit processes, and further planned trials include the use of chatbots in service production.

 

“Our goal is to improve public service processes through automation. It allows us to look at public services from altogether new angles.”

 

An important part of this work is to spread awareness within the city administration of what is possible to achieve with robotics and when and how they offer benefits.

 

Successful implementation would mean that employees could focus on the things that humans do best and robots could assist them, according to the city.

 

“Our goal is to improve public service processes through automation. It allows us to look at public services from altogether new angles. We are not out to automate everything; we only seek to apply automation where it is of the greatest benefit,” added Kantsila.

 

“Automation and robotics are not an end in themselves, nor are they cure-alls. Automation is good for some things and not so good for others. But when it is applied optimally, it can bring a decisive advantage.”

 

Helsinki’s administration has already piloted several service-digitalisation projects, such as pre-school placement with SMS searches and the introduction of a robot counsellor answering health-related questions 24 hours a day.

 

 

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