Business Projects: Information Technology Program (ITP)
Projects from previous years
The three month long project is at the core of the program. Students take courses during the summer that support their completion of the projects. There's a wide variety to the types of projects, with the main theme simply being around digitalisation!
The City of Helsinki partnered with ITP in 2022 to develop a concept for proactive data-based employment services to reduce youth and immigrant unemployment in the Helsinki area.
The student team developed personas for the unemployed through interviews with stakeholders and secondary research. They found that the job seeking process can often be unintuitive with data siloed in various areas, and it can be a particularly challenging landscape to navigate especially for non-Finnish speakers and those lacking digital skills.
The project team’s solutions looked to simplify the process for job seekers and de-silo information to enable a smoother experience for all parties involved. The cornerstone of these changes was an intuitive application that would guide a job seeker through all the steps of the process through visual information and cues. The team showcased their solution with a prototype of the service.
The city of Espoo assigned the ITP student team to develop an operating model for mobility data in the city of Espoo, which could be adopted in other municipalities of Finland. What made this task particularly challenging was that information is currently siloed and spread amongst many stakeholders, sharing and collaborating on data is limited by GDPR regulations on data sharing and regulations are constantly changing.
The project team first mapped stakeholders, potential customers, barriers and the current situation. The next phase involved deep research into relevant data legislation, upcoming changes, stakeholder interviews, and benchmarking against other EU countries with successful data-sharing practices.
The team created an operating model as assigned as the final solution, which they named “Open data sharing in mobility”. The guidelines covered in the operating model were capabilities, processes, people, data & technology, and management.
Siun Sote aimed to promote Omaolo e–service in the North Karelia region, and thus gave the project team the task of providing marketing insights based on market research. The project focused on older generations’ use of the service, or lack there of, and how to turn them into active users.
The team researched the topic by utilising internet, benchmarking to other health and welfare services in the Nordic countries, by conducting interviews with the locals, and by creating a survey. The ITP team was able to create an external marketing plan for the specific target group, based on the market research that was done. The interviews also discovered a need for improved internal marketing materials for Siun Sote. At the end, future recommendations for action both Siun Sote and Omaolo can take to increase the use and awareness of the service were introduced.
City of Porvoo was looking for effective ways of boosting the city attractiveness and hence economy through more permanent lighting solutions, taking Porvoo’s image into consideration. The mission was to create a solution with 1) a permanent lighting plan to light up the city, 2) a refined lighting event concept, and 3) an investment rationale for funding. Using a design thinking approach, the student team broadly studied the topic of city lighting from both technical and user perspectives.
The team conducted expert interviews, site visits, a citizen survey, a literature review, and benchmarking. They were able to successfully identify key locations, Porvoo’s core qualities, important technicalities, and citizen needs using user personas. Based on the findings, the team created various strategic lighting concepts and locations for the permanent and event-based lighting and gave justification for their profitability.
Ilmarinen gave the ITP student team the goal to gather a clear overview of the digital customer experience of their accountancy clients, and to understand the clients’ choices and user journey for future improvements. Using a design thinking approach, the student team explored the insurance industry, Ilmarinen’s digital insurance management platforms, and accounting firms’ needs using a literature review, benchmarking, an online questionnaire, and online interviews.
Based on the research, the team successfully defined the accounting firms’ user journey with its benefits and pain points, and pieced together the customers’ needs and expectations regarding the digital platform using user personas. To support their insights, the students created an improved user journey and a prototype for a digital platform with the needed improvements included, and gave strategic recommendations for future development.
The goal ACRE set for this project was to create a framework between the shopping centre A Bloc's tenants and Aalto University to enable and encourage collaboration, and to enhance communication and the flow of information. The student team interviewed stakeholders from both A Bloc's and Aalto's sides, and facilitated a co-creation workshop to map the concerns, needs and ideas different stakeholder groups have for the framework.
The solution the team came up with was a website platform to facilitate collaboration between the parties. They created a prototype and tested it in two rounds with stakeholders to improve the usability and efficiency of the service. The team also provided the client with recommendations regarding the scalability of the solution and some marketing possibilities for the service.
ACRE wanted to increase awareness of environmental sustainability on the Aalto University campus, while creating a feeling of togetherness within sustainability in Aalto and engaging more campus users in acting sustainably. The task for the project team was to find a visually appealing way to show campus users interesting data about campus carbon footprint and sustainability. The team approached this task through qualitative user research in the form of semi-structured interviews.
The solution the team came up with was a new design to showcase the data about sustainability on campus lobby screens. The solution was developed in several iterations, while gathering feedback both from users and the client. The final solution was validated through a survey, user testing, and client feedback. The final deliverable was a prototype of the team's design that could be developed further by ACRE.
In an ever-changing world, digital skills and know-how are at the core of delivering value to customers. Continuous recruitment of already-skilled people is not possible since digital tools develop, and new ones emerge rapidly. Therefore, it contributed to a continuous programme to ensure that PwC employees stay at the forefront of technological advancement that is accelerating change across societies around the globe.
PwC Finland wished to explore new ways of learning to boost employee competitiveness and customer’s expectations. The mandate provided by PwC Finland to the ITP student team was to create a solution to, 1) emphasize the roles and identities of experts within the organisation, and 2) create a common process to schedule and log time.
Using a design thinking approach, the student team explored the various aspects of coaching, learning, and the motivation behind the employees’ attitudes and behaviours towards these topics. The research questions aimed at understanding, 1) how employees learn and teach new skills in the workplace, 2) the various coaching relationships that arise out of this need within employee circles, and 3) the ways in which the coaching experience in workplaces could be improved to increase the efficiency of learning, coaching and motivation of employees.
To address the research questions, the project team conducted employee and expert interviews, a questionnaire, a literature review, a competitor analysis, and co-design workshops. The team successfully pinpointed the key personas and the main problem definitions. Based on the research and interview findings the team ideated various prototype features for the Matchmaking Tool and created strategic guidelines to showcase the feasibility of each feature.
The digital era will bring advancements in operations, but it also creates new challenges in providing taxpayers with seamless customer experience. Hence, Vero enlisted aide from students in the process of developing a chatbot solution. To understand the challenge, the student team interviewed Vero employees and chatbot experts, conducted a user study and also did benchmarking from several cases to discover different uses of the chatbot technology and how customer issues are solved on various levels.
The team discovered that the chatbot's personality should not differ dramatically from the typical Vero customer advisor. It should exhibit a level of empathy and provide digestible and comprehensible answers. The team also concluded that with the amount of knowledge the chatbot could internalize, it is more efficient to train it in more common topics that large masses of taxpayers are exposed to.
Based on their findings, the team created viable chatbot concept and implementation recommendations for actions that the team suggests should take place both prior to launching the technology, during implementation stages and throughout the active use of the technology.
The changing market and legislative landscape of mobility providers in Finland have proven to be full of possibilities for new and existing providers. To better understand trends affecting the field, an Aalto ITP Team conducted extensive desk research, user interviews and expert interviews. The team also utilised benchmarking to identify the current maturity of integrated mobility ecosystems around the world.
The team found that even though the mobility ecosystem market in Finland is saturated, it is also quite fragmented. The team identified a need to unify these services under one provider and argued that VR is in a favourable position to do so.
Based on their findings, the team created future scenarios, focusing on one particular scenario, in which VR would become a provider of an integrated mobility ecosystem. The team created multiple service strategies, an implementation framework as well as an app design for the mobility platform.
The funding for Finnish higher education has decreased. One approach to tackle part of the issue is to aim to increase the number of donors. To help Aalto University to address the challenge of the Finnish giving culture in higher education still being in its infancy, and to help the organisation to meet the graduates' needs better, the ITP student team created design-based insights and tools to form a basis for further development.
During the three-month-long program, the team conducted about 20 interviews with various stakeholders and created a survey which received almost 400 responses. Based on the analysis of the survey results, the team created a segmentation of the different alumni groups. The concept includes also communication guidelines, customer journeys, user personas and workshop templates, which are created to support the work in Aalto University, especially in Donor Relationships team.
Through the project outcome, Aalto University can provide the alumni with more tailored content and various participation possibilities, and create eventually a culture where giving time and donations to one’s alma mater is considered to be a common practice among the alumni.
During the project, the ITP team did an extensive study into robotic process automation and the opportunities the technology offers for businesses. To understand the current use cases of RPA the team also did benchmarking from several cases where RPA is used for communications, both internationally and in Finland.
The team discovered that RPA technology can bring significant benefits to organisations through e.g. enhanced work motivation, increased productivity, fewer human errors, and faster routine operations. Due to RPA’s limited capabilities in complex tasks, the team also introduced the possibility of combining it with artificial intelligence, specifically natural language generation, to further automate content creation in the future.
Based on their findings the team created a suggestion for adopting RPA technology into Vero's communications department. They proposed several tasks where automation could help Vero’s communications work. The concept was introduced through a working prototype of a software robot that demonstrated especially the time savings of automation.
The plan to introduce high capacity transportation to Finnish roads has important considerations to be taken into account to ensure safety, rule compliance and road preservation. The team looked into developing a concept for a system to tackle these considerations and to help drivers in decision making on the road. There are already existing programs, but Finland has unique local needs that need to be taken into account. During the summer the team interviewed relevant stakeholders to get a deeper understanding about users’ needs and they clarified possible pain points within the current situation.
The solution defines the key features of the application and designs an interface for the truck drivers. For the project it was essential that the student team gained information of what the end users, truck drivers, truly need to see or what kind of functions would help their work. The solution also includes future steps for how Trafi can continue with this concept in the future.
Helsinki aims to become a resident-oriented city by engaging and empowering its citizens. Participatory services are in the core of this mission and consequently, Helsinki seeks to improve its current participatory services and initiate participatory budgeting in the near future. The city of Helsinki commissioned this project to gather information about the needs of the citizens in order to develop their participatory services and especially the upcoming participatory budgeting platform further. Team Jobs, a group of four students from different schools of Aalto University, were selected to conduct this project as a part of Aalto University’s Information Technology Program (ITP).
Based on the user needs, four citizen profiles were designed. In addition to that five design drivers, approachable, easy, interesting, social and impactful, were created.
The team’s recommendation included a three-step plan for participatory services. The first step of the plan focuses on recommendations to enable a successful initiation of the participatory budgeting on osallistu.hel.fi platform. The second step focuses on possibilities to integrate current services to the osallistu.hel.fi platform. The third step is a future concept with a working name OurHelsinki. This concept provides a vision on how participatory services of Helsinki should look like in the future. In addition to the three-step plan, the recommendations include guidelines for communication and thoughts that point out some ideas for future research.
To provide better services to its customers Kela, the Social Insurance Institution of Finland, has been developing the user experience of its website. Parts of the website have already gone through a service design process but the partners’ section has been waiting for its turn. As a part of the Strategy & Experience Design track, an ITP team was asked to study how the user experience of the partners’ section (Yhteistyökumppanit) of Kela’s website could be developed. The users to be studied were Kela’s partner groups that include pharmacies, rehabilitation services and social services among others.
The team utilized several design methods such as heuristics and information architecture evaluation to identify the pain points of the current website. To gain a deep understanding of users, their needs and behaviour, the ITP team also conducted interviews and co-design workshops with the partners.
Based on the research insights the team created profiles of the partners as well as a concept for the new website. With the help of the findings, Kela has a clearer picture of its partners and concrete development ideas for how to cater to them better with their website.
During the project, the team researched different technical solutions to decide, whether software robotics even is the best solution. To understand, how the customer service agents are using the tools currently, the project team made an in-house study of customer service agents daily work that included a questionnaire, both solo, and group interviews and observation.
During in-house research, the team figured out that by streamlining service agents work, they could shorten both call time and time needed for follow-up work after the call which would then lead to better service. Service agents were also given an opportunity to describe and draw what their “dream interface” would look like. Team’s final proposal was based on the research made with the current employees as well as on the best practices from similar projects.
In order to learn about RPA-process, the team reviewed the literature and benchmarked both RPA-developers and consulting companies who help with the implementation process. After their research, the team came up with best practices for implementation.
The project team conducted extensive research during which they identified the needs of the company, got to know the customer, made an evaluation of the digital means and tools and finally made an implementation plan. To get there, the team also familiarized themselves with the industry, interviewed existing customers and also people, who didn’t go with Newsec’s services. The team also got familiar with Newsec’s site traffic and the company’s web analytics data.
After pinpointing the pain points, the team started to craft a strategy, which would answer the challenges Newsec is currently facing. It included both concrete suggestions for immediate implementation as well as ideas which could be looked into in the future. Team also presented a 12-month long roadmap on how Newsec should proceed after the team has finalized their project.
The project goal was to study digital trends, technologies and the digitalization environment for Lujatalo to have a vision for the future years. Using workshops, interviews, benchmarking and literature, the team conducted thorough research to understand the environment, where Lujatalo will be in the future with digitalization.
The team created a concept that focused on the preparations Lujatalo should make in the next years to prepare for digitalization changes in the industry they want to employ. Technical preparations, ensuring competitiveness and agility would create a situation where Lujatalo could react to industry changes and be a vital, competitive construction company in the digital construction age.
The investments in Polish markets by the company had created a need for future recruitments, but Stora Enso Poland lacked an employer branding strategy and digital channels to implement it with.
Through excessive research, which included a week-long trip to Poland, and collaboration with the client the team was able to identify issues to solve. Localized brand awareness, lack of presence in digital channels and lack of tools to reach quality job applicants were focused together with building employer brand by inspiring stories from employees.
The concept included a step by step manual how digital channels should utilise in order to reach, engage and convert new job applicants. Tools for measuring the performance of digital channels were added to ensure continuous improvement as well as the practical recommendations for implementing the tactical plan.
The goal of the project was to design a new mobile service for S-Pankki that caters to the millennial segment. Using questionnaires, interviews and workshop methods, the team conducted user research in the segment to understand the user frictions with the existing solutions and their needs regarding future applications. To complement this local understanding, market research was conducted, and the key trends in the financial industry were identified and analysed.
The team created a service concept that focused on a chat-based banking solution that would be integrated to S-Pankki's existing service platform. Easier access to information, personalized services and more engaging interaction would ultimately lead to the situation where users would be more inclined to interact with their finances, gain better control over them and make better financial decisions.