Stakeholders and stakeholder engagement

CSC engages in active and continuous dialogues with our stakeholders with the aim of strengthening our stakeholder relationships, understanding the expectations and wishes placed on CSC and striving to provide a better response to them. We cooperate and network with all actors in the sector openly, which provides opportunities for sharing views and development that benefit society as a whole.

A vast majority of our interactions are with our customers, shareholders, personnel, partners and research infrastructure financiers. Other key stakeholders include the authorities, policy-makers, local communities, and the media. Customers refer to organizational customers who, as in-house companies, pay the cost price for the services provided by CSC. Users (end users) have access to services purchased by the customers, primarily in the roles of researchers, RDI actors, teachers and learners.

Stakeholders were also consulted as part of CSC's strategy update process, which began in autumn 2021, through Luottamus ja Maine (=Reliability & Reputation) research interviews with senior management. CSC listened to these strategic messages with the aim of ensuring that we will be able to meet our stakeholders’ needs while striving for our vision: Together we will build world-class research, learning and innovation environments. CSC's mission is defined in the ownership strategy approved by the council appointed by the owners, or universities of applied sciences, universities and the central government, for 2021–2023.

Customer steering

As owners of CSC, the State and Finnish higher education institutions have required in their ownership strategy that the company's Board of Directors define a customer steering model for the company to implement customer orientation in the company's strategy process, the different stages of the service life cycle and the processing of new initiatives, especially in cooperation with higher education institutions, research institutes and their networks.

CSC's interaction with customers, especially higher education institutions and research institutes, can be examined from three perspectives. From the perspective of general development and promotion of cooperation, the organizations are CSC's owners and strategic partners. The second perspective is that of organizations as CSC's customers. As a third perspective, these organizations are CSC’s partners in leveraging the potential of digitalization and ICT to support users in education, research, RDI and the promotion of sustainable development in business and society in cooperation between the different actors.

General development and promotion of cooperation

CSC’s owners are the State of Finland and the higher education institutions. General efforts to develop and promote cooperation with higher education institutions, research institutes and central government agencies have usually been arranged at the level of individual organizations. CSC receives input for its strategy process from the organizations, ultimately from their senior management.

To facilitate cooperation, two-way framework agreements between CSC and the higher education institutions as well as most research institutes are in place, in which both parties can assume the role of either the customer or the supplier. The framework agreement, terms of personal data processing, service prices, terms of payment and the security agreement are the same for all HEIs and research institutes. This enables flexibility, especially in the provision of expert services between the parties and in various joint projects.

The framework agreements between CSC and its partners include a mandate given at the organizational level for the general development and promotion of cooperation as well as for the screening of the entire customer relationship and the joint field of interest. A jointly-built common knowledge base is available to organization contact persons within their own organizations as well as at CSC. The knowledge base can additionally be used by the parties when promoting the achievement of common objectives as partners. The knowledge base is discussed together one to four times a year.

The feedback and views of organization representatives, service-specific customer steering structures, and steering cooperation groups and networks as well as the common knowledge base that complements them are at the disposal of the networks of higher education institutions and research institutes when they formulate joint opinions to support CSC's strategy process. These key cooperation networks include Universities Finland Unifi, the Rectors' Conference of Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences Arene and the Finnish Research Institute Partnership TulaNet.

Our stakeholders' strategies and roadmaps are important sources of information for CSC. They show how our customers and partners interpret the drivers of change in the operating environment and the opportunities associated with them as well as elucidate our customers' goals. The roadmap for the digitalization of higher education and research (ka.csc.fi), which is maintained by CSC on commission from the Ministry of Education and Culture, describes changes in the operating environment of our key customers. Read more about the roadmap for the digitalization of higher education and research.

Customers

CSC’s customers include the Ministry of Education and Culture, higher education institutions, research institutes and research infrastructures, cultural and memory organizations, the Ministry of Education and Culture’s branch of administration and public administration organizations. The same customers operate in several of our business areas, including research and education. CSC also purchases services produced by its in-house companies for shared use. CSC may provide services to other organizations besides its owners, provided that it does not exceed the permitted limit for external sales laid down in procurement legislation.

The customers develop the services they need with CSC, and CSC suppliers them at cost price. In other words, the guidance for developing CSC’s services as well as the funding for development work and service provision come directly from the customers. The customers play a key role in how CSC develops its services and capabilities. CSC's goal is that a capability developed to meet a specific customer's needs should also serve other CSC's customers. In compliance with the openness and reference principles agreed with its customers, CSC presented the development of our services with different customers in each business area at open webinars. 

As CSC's customers, the representatives of different organizations influence services through their steering structures, various consortia and joint undertakings. As customers, the various representatives of organizations jointly define and agree on what kind of services CSC should develop for them and what they will purchase from CSC.

As a rule, the services purchased by higher education institutions and research institutes from CSC are agreed upon and/or owned by customer consortia. Cultural and memory organizations also procure services as consortia. CSC's other customers, the Ministry of Education and Culture, research infrastructures and organizations in the Ministry of Education and Culture's administrative branch and the public administration each procure separately services tailored to their specific needs that are compatible with CSC’s special task.

Within the framework of our special task, CSC strives to make more extensive use of the acquired expertise and services provided to owners, including the higher education sector, throughout public administration. In the contracts we sign, CSC seeks to retain access to the solutions we produce. This makes it possible to reuse them, increasing cost-effectiveness and promoting interoperability.

Key forums for discussing the directions in which the services should be developed and new forms of cooperation include encounters in everyday customer work, regular customer meetings relevant to the services, and meetings held to discuss more general themes following the annual calendar for our general development and promotion of cooperation. The objective of the numerous service-specific structures and encounters is not only providing guidance but also organizing support or sharing development ideas and expertise. The meetings generate new initiatives that we can work on together with the customers.

In order to make the new initiatives created in different areas visible, new initiatives, ideas and development needs related to higher education and research are collected in the Idea Bank created with the higher education institutions’ information management networks. From the Idea Bank, they can be directed to the correct implementers. The Idea Bank is also used to share information with higher education institutions and other stakeholders. This process will be extended from higher education institutions to research institutes and, on the other hand, to common issues in the Ministry of Education and Culture’s administrative branch.

When the service has reached the production stage, responsibility for steering it is often assumed by a special steering group comprised of customers. Depending on the type of the service, its attractiveness and use are monitored by such means as regular quality meetings, statistics and customer surveys that reflect the customer experience. This information collected from customers also determines the further development of the service and its life cycle management. The information generated in this manner is part of the shared knowledge base for developing and promoting cooperation.

Together and as partners, we build world-class environments

The customers are also key partners for CSC. Partnerships with higher education institutions and research institutes are emphasized in serving users, making it possible to use the resources purchased by CSC's other customers. The partners work together to support researchers, RDI actors, teachers and learners in using the data management and computing services offered by the Ministry of Education and Culture as a CSC customer.

The objectives of the RDI roadmap adopted by Prime Minister Marin's government include securing competence for tomorrow's workplaces and promoting RDI cooperation between companies and research organizations. The investments and services funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment as CSC's customers focus on activities carried out in the field by research and education organizations. The development funds provided by international and domestic financiers to research and development projects are also used to finance services for users affiliated with organizations, or researchers, RDI actors, teachers and learners.

The Ministry of Education and Culture completed the Data Management and Computing Development programme (DL2021) with research and innovation actors in 2017–2021. As part of this programme, CSC’s services paid for by the ministry were also made available to research institutes and for teaching use at HEIs, in addition to serving RDI activities more extensively. As a result of these investments, research institutes have discovered CSC's services extensively both as users and customers of new initiatives.

The Elements of supercomputing open online course implemented by CSC in cooperation with Kajaani University of Applied Sciences was published at the final seminar of the Data Management and Computing Development Programme (DL2021) held on 13 December. 

The wider impact of Finnish and international research infrastructures produced and delivered by CSC is underpinned by CSC’s cooperation with higher education institutions and research organizations. Jointly supported users, researchers, RDI actors, teachers and learners form a public-sector partnership and a channel for the infrastructure’s ultimate impact on business and society.

The numbers of active users at research institutes, universities of applied sciences and universities grew strongly while the Data Management and Computing Development Programme was in progress between 2017 and the end of 2021.

Growth in the number of active users 2018–2021

 

Partnerships with the Ministry of Education and Culture, higher education institutions, research institutes and other actors also aim at making use of the possibilities offered by digitalization and ICT in education, research and RDI activities and in supporting sustainable development of businesses and society in general. This cooperation also offers higher education institutions and research institutes an opportunity to exert influence, among other things on the services procured by the Ministry of Education and Culture from CSC. The common aim is comprehensive development of services purchased by other customers alongside and in addition to those procured by the ministry.

CSC developed multilateral cooperation with TulaNet’s network of information managers, in which the Government ICT Centre Valtori also participates. CSC partners with the Geological Survey of Finland in the GTK2.0 "Changing Work in the Future" project, which develops new modes of working in four areas: working methods and culture, competence, the work environment and community, and technology. The other partners of this change program include the Government ICT Centre Valtori, the Ministry of Finance, Senate Properties, Microsoft, Fujitsu Finland and Elisa.

CSC, research institutes and the Government ICT Centre Valtori developed tripartite cooperation.

Key cooperation networks organized by the higher education institutions include the HEI coordination group for student and teacher support services (KOOTuki) and the Finnish Association of Research Managers and Advisors Finn-ARMA. The AAPA and FUCIO networks (CIOs at Finnish higher education institutions), OHA forum (Heads of study administration services at Finnish universities), the cooperation network of the Heads of study affairs at universities of applied sciences, and the network of RDI directors at universities of applied sciences have provided CSC with a continuous opportunity for joint dialogue.

The Ministry of Education and Culture appointed a steering group for the Data Management and Computing Development programme to ensure the extensive usability of research infrastructure and services as well as the coordination, evaluation and prioritization of services.

With funding from the Ministry of Education and Culture, the Federation of Finnish Learned Societies is responsible for coordinating open science and research in Finnish research cooperation. A key role in this coordination is played by the National Open Science and Research Steering Group, which consists of members appointed by Finnish research community organizations. In cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Culture, the Academy of Finland and the Federation of Finnish Learned Societies, an EOSC Finnish Forum was established and coordinated by CSC as from 1 January 2021.

The task of the National Collaboration Forum for Scientific Computing was to assess the future development of scientific computing from the perspective of Finnish higher education institutions and the Finnish research field. Under the guidance of the Collaboration Forum, a reference architecture for scientific computing was prepared based on the Ministry of Education and Culture's mandate to map and identify the reference architecture for scientific computing resources, data management and related services for 2021–2025.

In addition, the ministry appointed management and steering groups for the Research Administration’s information flows and the National Research Information Hub as well as a steering group for the Learner’s information flows and the VIRTA study information service, which guide the development of the services provided by CSC within their respective remits.

CSC's research services also provide regular feedback through the Scientific Customer Panel. 

Societal influence and stakeholder cooperation

CSC aims to influence the national and international operating conditions that are relevant for the company or its stakeholders. The basic principles of influencing is supporting the company's strategic goals, making it possible to use CSC's expertize, capacity and expertize as widely as possible in society. In 2021, CSC participated actively in EU consultations and comment rounds for legislative projects, some of which also involved committee consultations or meetings with Parliament, ministries, the European Commission or representatives of the European Parliament.

Of particular importance regarding EU consultations was the preparation of the Ninth EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (Horizon Europe) and the Digital Europe Programme in cooperation with the national liaison officers of these programmes. CSC was involved promoting aspects related to research infrastructures, data management and computing as well as horizontal interoperability, which are key to our customers, in the funding programs.

CSC's Kajaani data center attracted a great deal of interest and was visited by ministers, MPs and MEPs during the year. CSC also contributed its expertize to the report of the Technology Advisory Board appointed by Prime Minister Marin's Government, the efforts of the parliamentary RDI working group, the work of the Artificial Intelligence 4.0 group and the implementation of the Sustainable Growth Program for Finland.

The placement of the LUMI supercomputer in Kajaani raises international awareness of CSC and Finland as pioneers of green data centers and promoters of the green transition. In the context of LUMI, year 2021 was additionally marked by active social dialogue and stakeholder cooperation aiming to create a LUMI ecosystem that can be widely used by society. CSC's public statements can be found online on the Statements page of the company's website.

 

International cooperation benefits Finnish research

CSC has a broad network of international partners with whom we work successfully to develop the services offered to our customers and to ensure that our customers have access to world-class research infrastructures. At the same time, we contribute Finnish expertize to international discussions on standards and common practices and also offer our customers a channel for international cooperation and competence development. In 2021, we participated in 34 EU-funded research and development projects. While most of the project funding came from Horizon 2020, we also tapped CEF, ERDF and ESF programme funding. In these projects, we worked together with our partners to develop services related to scientific computing and data management, artificial intelligence, software, user rights management and telecommunications networks, among other things. Many of our research and development projects are part of broader international research infrastructure programs, including EuroHPC, PRACE, EOSC and ELIXIR.

 

EU programs 2021

 

In the context of the EuroHPC program, efforts were made in 2021 to reach the national stakeholder community through a national user program. The national EuroHPC competence center, EuroCC Finland, launched in 2020 continued to operate. In addition to developing national expertize, CSC participates in coordinating business cooperation between the EuroCC Competence Centers in the Castiel project and its Advisory Board. The LUMI supercomputer, which was opened for testing, will provide a world-class data management and computing environment for European research.

One Finnish research group received 23 million computing hours from the international PRACE research infrastructure (Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe) within an astronomy project led by the University of Barcelona. These highly competed supercomputer resources are used in extremely demanding computing on different fields of science. Reduction in the amount of applications from Finland can partly be explained with Finland’s improved supercomputer capacity by Mahti coming to production during 2020.

CSC has been closely involved in EU projects developing the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) and also participated actively in new calls for proposals aimed at developing EOSC's service offering and service platform in 2021. CSC has additionally been involved in coordinating the activities of EOSC Finnish Forum in order to anchor EOSC in the Finnish stakeholder community at an early stage, thus ensuring its benefits for Finnish research.

As a national node, CSC also actively participated in the activities of the EU life-science infrastructure ELIXIR through several research and development projects. In the ELIXIR network, CSC specializes in information-based computing services, particularly secure findability and transfer of research data sets on humans that are subject to data protection in private networks. For example, CSC participates in the 1 + MG project and coordinates the construction of a federated, secure, cross-border technical infrastructure at the European level. The project will strengthen European capabilities for managing sensitive data and build national capabilities for processing genome and health data.

In addition to international programs, CSC has actively used its international networks to position itself in new international initiatives that will benefit CSC's national stakeholders and Finnish society as a whole. CSC's expertize in identity and access management solutions was put to use in the GAIA-X initiative, whose aim is to develop the European data economy. CSC also participated in the preparation of the national Gaia-X Hub together with a consortium led by the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. CSC participated in preparation of the European Data Spaces framework within the TEHDAS project, which aims to create preconditions for a European health data space and promote the secondary use of health data. 

CSC's national partners in international research infrastructure projects.

 

Customer experience

CSC collects information about customer experience through surveys and customer encounters. In addition to surveys and dialogue with customer organizations, collecting immediate feedback on a service experience is an important part of measuring customer satisfaction. Customer Pulse surveys are used to measure the quality of CSC’s customer service. The NPS score of CSC's Customer Pulse was 79 in 2021. 

The information collected on customer experience is used to develop CSC’s services as well as for customer communications and interaction. In 2021, we improved the usability of our services by implementing CSC’s design system in a number of data management and computing services. The design system ensures a smooth experience for customers, whichever service they use. We also focused especially on streamlining customer processes and developing documentation that supports the use of our services. Development work in line with the Accessibility Directive also continued at CSC. 

 

Customer training and events

In 2021, customer training organized by CSC took almost without exception the form of online training, webinars and MOOC implementations. Customer-centric development of digital training continued in cooperation with the instructors and using a variety of tools, such as the learning environment, audiovisual equipment and recordings. The numbers of participants in training events continued to grow rapidly. In 2021, CSC organized a total of 121 training events, which reached 7,278 participants overall. The overall score given to CSC in event feedback remained excellent at 8.7 (on a scale of 1 to 10), while the Net Promoter Score was 79.

Customer communications

The aim of CSC's multichannel communications is to raise awareness of the company's work and impact, to support a good customer experience and expertize in using CSC’s services, and to participate more extensively in discussions and influencing that promote digitalization in society. In late 2021, extensive efforts to develop CSC's communications were launched with the aim of increasingly leveraging communications to support the implementation of the company's strategy.

CSC mainly targeted its news to the Finnish media in 2021, however also reaching a potential audience of billions in international ICT media, thanks to its own publications and those of its global partners. CSC announced a total of over 70 news items, alone or in cooperation with partners and customers, and also produced a large volume of content in the form of articles, blogs and videos. Topical subjects in different contents included the progress and completion of the national data management and computing environment, progress in the procurement and installation of the EuroHPC project's LUMI supercomputer, and CSC's new services suitable for sensitive data. In 2021, the company focused particularly on improving interaction within the workplace with excellent success.

 

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