Commercializing technical architecture – case: Digitalia

April 19, 2019
Marjukka Niinioja
FutureGO

Technical architecture is not just a way to move information, but it should be an integral part of business strategy.

By combining engineering architecture design, knowledge management, and behavioral sciences, holistic business models can be implemented. In this way, you get the most out of the programming interface, or API. Information becomes valuable only when it can be utilized.

During 2018, we implemented a project for Digitalia, the aim of which was to produce a business plan for the commercialization of the National Archives. Digitalia is a joint research center of the University of Applied Sciences of South-East Finland (XAMK), the University of Helsinki and the National Archives.

Digitalia - information enabled via APIs

Osaango Oy was responsible for consulting in business, productization, IT architecture and service design. We also provided the project with our knowledge of information management. We also found expertise in archiving and genealogy as special areas, which were important topics in the project. At the beginning of the project, Contribyte Oy, which specializes in product management, acted as our partner.

Initially known as the "Citizens' Archive" and the goal, the project was built around a service design process. The project progressed in such a way that a business model was formed at each stage, which was refined during the project as the understanding grew. The second frame of reference was Lean Startup. The starting points of the project were the compilation of technical solutions presented by Digitalia for utilization in archiving, especially in file conversions for long-term preservation of documents, as well as the commercialization of these innovations. During the project, we conducted several effective workshops, which were also attended by representatives of the partners.

First phase: Baseline and mapping

At the beginning of the project, the described ecosystem was introduced and customer groups and customer paths were formed. Intangible capital resources were recorded, a survey of the market situation was made and objectives at the organizational level and legal constraints were clarified. The first result of the phase was the description of the starting situation, ie the definitions of the boundary conditions, the needs of the customer segment, the competitive situation and recommendations on matters to be clarified separately.

Second phase: From Business model to new integrations

In the second phase of the project, the workshops interviewed representatives of customer segments and formed customer personalities and advertisements for different segments. A business model was also developed, during the processing of which our perception changed significantly. The goal was honed and a new idea was found to find a business idea that could also utilize other technical solutions developed in Digitalia and Digitalia's own expertise in addition to the Citizens' Archive. At this point, it was already obvious that the need for different integrations was great. At the heart of Digitalia’s operations is the integration of information between different actors, so programming interfaces came to a significant part instead of providing a single unified system.

Third phase: Increase customer understanding

In the third phase, more customer understanding was gained of what the customer needs really are. In this context, a workshop was organized to analyze the results and brainstorm changes in business concepts. At this stage, the focus was more on the productisation and sharing of know-how and less on services produced directly with technical solutions.

A consultant is not a curse word

Sometimes a project changes along the way despite a good baseline and plan. That was the case here too. Instead of the commercialization project of the Citizens' Archive, the end result was to design a business model that utilizes Digitalia's core capabilities and the beginning of an overall architecture, in which APIs, ie programming interfaces, play important roles. This allows Customers to experiment and integrate with the solutions and algorithms offered by Digitalia.

Digitalia praised the successful project and much was liked about the end result. Digitalia's final words for the project were: "The word consultant is no longer a curse word for us." Cooperation has also continued after the project in the API productization project. In July 2019, Digitalia and its background communities published a report, which also begins with a description of the collaboration project and highlights digital information management practices and solutions.

Link to the report

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