Case HSL

Digia ensures that HSL’s digital services work 24/7

Digital services are a critical part of HSL’s business, and uninterrupted service must be guaranteed around the clock. This is why HSL relies on Digia’s service management and the Digia Iiris monitoring solution. As part of this service management, Digia also coordinates troubleshooting with HSL’s other partners.

Helsinki Region Transport (HSL) is a joint local authority that procures public transport services to cover its nine member municipalities.

Digia’s cooperation with HSL began when Digia was chosen to develop HSL’s mobile app in 2017. Since June 2019, Digia has had overall responsibility for the app’s technical development.

The mobile app has been a huge success and now forms an integral part of HSL’s digital business. Ensuring that the app works under all circumstances is, therefore, critical. However, as HSL was not able to continuously monitor its services alone, they needed to find a partner who could handle monitoring and troubleshooting outside office hours, 24/7.

Once again, this partner turned out to be Digia, whose solution was service management supported by Digia Iiris monitoring.

milla-teimme.pngWhat we used

  • Digia Iiris

What is service management?

Service management ensures that a company’s systems and digital services work 24/7. However, service management is about much more than just troubleshooting. It includes risk management, service quality monitoring and reporting, and continual service development.

Ideally, collaboration is so close that service management is even able to prevent faults and promote the development of the services being managed. In order for this to happen, it is very important to have agreed guidelines and operating models that are continually updated as required.

In HSL’s case, the Digia Iiris monitoring solution was also deployed to support service management. This solution has been designed for use in multi-provider environments and focuses on forming real-time monitoring displays for digital systems. These displays enable you to monitor digital service production environments, so that any faults or issues will be easy to detect. They also provide information about service users and network traffic.

Digia provides Iiris as a service.

Digia Service Management and HSL – how did their journey begin?

In late 2018, HSL issued a competitive tender that was looking for a way to ensure that the HSL mobile app worked around the clock. The service package offered by Digia best met the criteria.

Four interlinked services were initially placed under the scope of service management and monitoring. These were:

  • HSL mobile app
  • HSL card service
  • Open interface for ticket sales
  • HSL real-time information service


Each of these services is essential for HSL’s digital business, but almost every service is also provided in cooperation with a different partner. This imposed strict requirements on the service provider.

Krister Karppinen is the group manager for HSL’s digital services and his group contains all of the products and services that have been developed using HSL’s DevOps model. Karppinen says that 24/7 monitoring and troubleshooting are vital for the company:

“We’d be taking a huge risk if we limited the maintenance of our service production environments to the working hours of our DevOps teams. Which is why we needed a reliable partner to monitor and take care of our services around the clock.”

Although HSL’s main need was to find a partner to ensure the uninterrupted operation of its digital services, other uses have also been found for Digia Iiris.

“Personally, I use the monitoring displays to check the overall status of our services. Service managers and some DevOps teams also use the monitoring displays to monitor and develop their own services,” says Karppinen.

Service package developed and expanded during the original project

The service package initially consisted of Digia Iiris and a recovery service provided by the Digia Service Center. The recovery service included 24/7 monitoring and troubleshooting with the aid of recovery instructions. This package was deployed smoothly and in good spirits.

However, as monitoring is carried out in a multi-provider environment, resolving more extensive faults may also require action to be taken by HSL’s other partners. A need for closer cooperation and broader authorisations was therefore identified during the initial deployment.

It was then decided that the recovery service would include not only measures taken by Digia and HSL’s teams, but also the coordination of measures by HSL’s other partners. As a result, the service began to be called Service Management 24/7.

“When the project was launched, we didn’t have a good overview of the extent to which different services were using the same data sources and platforms or some specific microservices. This means that a fault in one place may impact everything, and not all faults can therefore be resolved using the recovery instructions and HSL’s on-call tech team alone. Measures would also be required from other partners,” says Karppinen.

“We hoped that the Digia team could also coordinate measures with these other partners. They welcomed the proposal and started work on it immediately.”

Our cooperation with Digia has been very smooth and they have become an important partner to us. Our experiences to date have shown that this kind of service management and monitoring definitely works. They have also shown that Digia is an excellent partner in this kind of service provision.

Krister Karppinen, group manager, digital services, HSL

Close cooperation between HSL and Digia on a common foundation

As a public-sector operator, HSL typically chooses its partners through competitive tendering. However, having a provider with a service-minded attitude will have a huge impact on the final results. In the case of HSL’s cooperation with Digia, this has been more than satisfactory.

“Our cooperation with Digia has been very smooth and they have become an important partner to us. Digia’s proactivity and service-minded attitude have been excellent, and particularly with regard to this service package. They responded quickly to our need to increase the team’s responsibilities and were keen to accept the challenge.

Fault management in the operating environment of our digital services and coordinating different partners requires a great deal of expertise and understanding from our partner – and we’ve found plenty of both at Digia. Continual service development is also important, and Digia has been actively involved in coming up with ideas,” says Karppinen.

Monitoring to be extended to new services

Cooperation has been so promising that it will now be extended to cover HSL’s other digital services.

“Our experiences to date have shown that this kind of service management and monitoring definitely works. They have also shown that Digia is an excellent partner in this kind of service provision. Our common goal is for monitoring to soon be able to prevent faults as well. And I believe that this will also be achieved,” says Karppinen.

HSL also has immediate plans to expand cooperation.

“We now want to extend monitoring to cover other HSL services, thereby improving the reliability of all our digital services,” says Karppinen.