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The Municipality of Sipoo and the Finnish Tax Administration use fictitious user groups to test digital services – The Test Material Service offers a medium-sized city’s worth of material

Publication date 4.12.2023 11.47 | Published in English on 4.12.2023 at 11.55
Press release

The Test Material Service is a service developed in collaboration between various Finnish agencies. It provides safe test material of high quality to support the development of digital services. The Test Material Service is maintained by the Digital and Population Data Services Agency. It offers a versatile range of test data for the use of both public administration and private sector digital e-services.

The Test Material Service provides safe test material of high quality 

Finland is becoming increasingly digitalised. Therefore, both public administration and the private sector must continuously develop the quality and functionality of their digital services.

The Test Material Service, maintained by the Digital and Population Data Services Agency, offers a wide range of test data. The size of the data material corresponds to the population, business activities and facilities of a Finnish city. In other words, the Test Material Service is, in a way, a simulation of society, including its people, real estate properties and companies, and the relationships between them.

The Municipality of Sipoo used the Test Material Service to test different situations

In the Municipality of Sipoo, the Test Material Service has proven to be a valuable tool. Sipoo first tested the Test Material Service when introducing e-Authorizations in the municipal e-service.

“The Test Material Service helped us ensure that the digital services provided by Sipoo function correctly for all user groups. The service contains a wide variety of entities, including people, real estate properties and buildings with all kinds of events. They can then be combined in different ways for testing purposes,” says Heli Särkikoski, ICT Development Manager at the Municipality of Sipoo. She continues: 

“Using different test scenarios, we can effectively simulate different situations, such as what happens when a guardian applies for a school place. By this, we ensure that the data of the dependent person is directed to the correct location. This way we can also ensure that, if a child has a valid non-disclosure for personal safety reasons, the service appropriately restricts access to their data.”

Agencies collaborate to develop the Test Material Service

Janne Suortti acts as the Product Owner of Quality Assurance for Software Production at the Tax Administration. The Tax Administration has been involved in the development of the Test Material Service with other agencies from the very beginning. The other agencies involved in developing the service, in addition to the Finnish Tax Administration and the Digital and Population Data Services Agency, are the Finnish Patent and Registration Office and the National Land Survey of Finland. 

“The aim of the alliance formed by the different agencies has been to facilitate the testing of digital services and to reduce the time and money spent on it.”
Suortti, however, considers the increased cooperation between stakeholders belonging to the alliance the most valuable part of the project:

“The Test Material Service has generated cooperation between various agencies. Each agency naturally has its own development targets and needs, but the more stakeholders communicate with each other, the better. This avoids the situations where they would need to reinvent the wheel.”

The Test Material Service also enables the use of individual test subjects

In the Tax Administration, the service has been used for the testing entities focused on identification and authorisations. Suortti recommends the service especially for organisations with many interfaces and need for versatile test data.

Särkikoski says that the Test Material Service is also well suited for testing at the level of individual test subjects. 

“The test material does not necessarily mean a massive CVC dump with 500,000 entities. We can as easily select an individual test subject and simulate their activities in a digital service.”

Suortti says that the number of service users is increasing and encourages new 
users to join the service:

“The number of users in the service has been high, and their volume keeps on rising. We have received positive feedback from hospitals in particular. Do not hesitate to see what kind of possibilities the Test Material Service can offer. Just go on and get acquainted with it!” 

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