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Danish digitisation partnership delivers plan to government

Public-private collaboration submits plan setting out “how Denmark can take advantage of the opportunities presented by digitisation moving forward into the future”

Denmark's government is backing an ambitious plan that aims to create a strong public-private collaboration to deploy digital tools to solve many of Danish society’s current and future challenges.

The Digitisation Partnership (DP) plan submitted to government comprises 46 separate proposals on how to use digitisation to drive green transformation, achieve cost-efficiencies in the healthcare sector and create a dynamic digital environment for business to flourish in Denmark.

DP, which was established by the Danish government in March 2021, delivered its digital roadmap plan for appraisal to the government at the end of 2021. It places a heavy focus on the implementation of robust private-public partnerships to equip Denmark with the necessary legislative tools and practical measures to maximise the technological opportunities arising from digitisation.

“Our primary task was to deliver recommendations to the Danish government that would set out how Denmark can take advantage of the opportunities presented by digitisation moving forward into the future,” said Jim Hagemann Snabe, DP chairman.

The plan views the continued drive towards increased digitisation, and the use of data, as significant conditions for sustainable economic growth, wealth accumulation and green transition, as well as supporting the provision of efficient, high-quality public services for citizens and businesses.

Denmark’s digital ascent among the ranks of its European Union (EU) partners was underscored in November when the European Commission released the results of the annual Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI). The DESI, which measures levels of digitisation in the EU, awarded top ranking to Denmark in 2021, a major leap from its third place in the 2020 DESI rankings.

The approach adopted by the DP to fulfill its digitisation roadmap incorporated both a vision and specific recommendations designed to move society forward, separately and collectively, while expanding Denmark’s position as a global digital pioneer, said Snabe.

He added that, although not exhaustive: “The recommendations comprise our best proposals for how society can be improved by implementing digital solutions, by increased use of data and adopting new technologies. The recommendations consist of proposals that are intended to accelerate initiatives already launched and new initiatives.”

High-powered collaboration vehicle

The DP was established by the Danish government as a high-powered, public-private digitisation advancement and collaboration vehicle guided by the state-affiliated Danish Digitisation Agency (DDA). Formed in 2011, the DDA sits within the Ministry of Finance, tasked with implementing the government’s digital projects and initiatives. The high-powered nature of the DP, which has 27 permanent members, was reflected in Snabe’s appointment as chairman.

One of Denmark’s top business leaders, Snabe currently serves on the boards of Mærsk Group and Siemens AG. DP membership is also loaded with senior executives from Denmark’s top companies and tech research groups, including the CEOs of Netcompany, the Confederation of Danish Industry (Dansk Industri), Systematic A/S, Microsoft Denmark and Natasha Friis Saxberg, managing director of the Danish ICT Industry Association (IT-Branchen).

The recommendations presented in the DP plan must be implemented quickly if Denmark wants to become a more digitised society that meets the future needs of its citizens, business and industry, said Lars Sandahl Sørensen, CEO of the Confederation of Danish Industry.

“The DP initiative is about making life easier and more simplified for citizens, companies and employees in the public and private sectors,” he said. “Digital tools ranging from apps to robots are among the principal reasons why Denmark managed the pandemic better than most, and why our companies have emerged stronger from the crisis than others. Rather than allow this opportunity to pass us by, we must become more innovative in the way we use technology.”

For Danish business and industry, the prospect of using new digital legislation and measures to secure improved access to and increased use of data, rates among the most interesting proposals in the DP plan. 

“Better access to the data cache, such as in the healthcare sector, will enable Denmark to become a smarter and more skilled nation,” said Sørensen. “We need to be more ambitious in using data to create new and innovative products, and to help us with the green transition.

“Right now, companies are required to provide an ocean of ​​reports and notifications to public authorities. Digitisation is needed to remove the nuisance and burden of the heavy administrative processes that can kill the desire to invest and innovate.”

The DP plan is the latest in a series of Danish government-backed digitisation initiatives. In October 2021, the DDA, partnering with Finans Danmark, rolled out a project to replace NemID (EasyID) with the more advanced next-generation national digital identification system MitID (MyID). The DDA aims to deactivate NemID, which was launched in 2010, once the migration to MitID is fully completed by the end of June 2022.

Danmark Finans, the central organisation for banks and financial services actors in Denmark, holds an equal 50% equity share, alongside the DDA, in the MitID project. 

Milestone for state agency

The DDA’s joint venture roll-out of MitID with Danmark Finans is another milestone in public-private collaboration for the state agency. For citizens, it means using  a single digital ID tool for online tasks regardless of what bank or government platform they want to access using the borger.dk gateway, Denmark’s one-stop national portal for e-services, including healthcare, social benefits and taxation.  

“MitID is the largest public-private IT project in Denmark to date,” said Michael Busk-Jepsen, director of digitisation at Finans Danmark. “The full transition to migrate all users, private and corporate, of NemID to MitID will be challenging. It will take time, but the effort will be well worth it in terms of strengthening overall digitisation in Denmark while ensuring greater security for citizens who use the digital ID online in the future.”

The free-to-use MitID app, which is mainly targeted at smartphone and tablet users, can be used as a primary digital authentication tool in connection with online banking and to access public services. The code viewer linked to MitID comprises a compact electronic device that displays a one-time code that is entered when using the digital tool.

The MitID offers strengthened digital ID security for users accessing business and public information and services on online platforms, said Adam Lebech, deputy director of the DDA.

“MitID enables us to reinforce the reality of digitisation in Denmark. It means users can continue to proceed safely online supported by the latest in digital ID technology. The transition from NemID to MitID has now begun for five million citizens.”

NemID Private-for-Business will become the app-based MitID Private-for-Business solution as part of the transition project. A key feature will permit business owners and authorised company personnel to use their private MitID to sign documents digitally.

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