During the 90’s and 00’s, SKAT, the Danish Customs and Tax Administration, were first-movers when it came to digitalisation in the public sector. Servicing citizens and corporations went from costly personal service in tax centres, to self-service on the telephone, and further on to self-service on a web portal.
During the last couple of years, though, the old recipe for digital development has become increasingly problematic. Major projects have been delayed, gone over budget, and most importantly: They haven’t delivered the desired value for the customers or the business.
"The challenge is to reduce the average development time for digital projects from 3 years to 6 months"
In the spring of 2014, we helped SKAT conduct an analysis and develop a concept for digital customer service. In the fall, the cooperation led to a pilot project, where we developed and validated 4 new concepts for digital solutions in just 6 weeks.
The pilot project taught us all that this approach was the right one for SKAT, which led to the establishment of an ambitious innovation programme in SKAT. Consultants from 1508 became part of an internal innovation unit, including designers, IT consultants, innovation consultants, and a number of other key competencies from within SKAT.
The team works in sprints, combining methods from Lean Start-up, Design Thinking and Agile Software Development. The development of new digital services is conducted in close collaboration with SKAT’s customers, through two large test groups consisting of citizens and corporations, respectively.
All development ideas are validated through 3 steps
Proof of Problem
Is the problem actually worth solving?
Small Business Issue:
”I need to deliver a well-documented financial statement”
Proof of Concept
Does the concept give value to customers and SKAT?
Proof of Solution
Can we build the solution in a financially and technically responsible way?
In March 2015, the team started developing the first new digital services, which were aimed at small businesses, and included a calendar with important tax days, one-day certificates for private use of company cars, and a VAT app.
Beta versions of the services were launched exclusively for the corporations in the test group, and after being adjusted based on the test group feedback, the services were made publicly available in September 2015 on App Store and Google Play.
All the individual services are collected in a single SKAT app, but only the services relevant to you are visible, e.g. if you use the app as a corporation, you’ll only see the services that are relevant to this type of corporation.
In this way, you have a fully personalised set-up, which in time can replace the large portal solutions.