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Leading the Digital Change, Part 3 – Successful Collaborations

Leading the Digital Change, Part 3 – Successful Collaborations

In Part 2 of our series on the success of electronic IDs in the Nordic countries, we looked at what has made these schemes so successful with near universal adoption rates. We continue along the same vein in this final piece on collaboration. Collaboration comes across as the key theme when analyzing what made the Scandinavian eID initiatives click. It was such a significant contributor to the success of eID schemes in the Nordics that it merits its own brief case study.

Collaboration – Public-Private Partnerships

Sweden also has an equivalent to Norway’s BankID scheme, also called BankID. The BankID network includes nearly a dozen banks in Sweden, which allows it to service almost the entire adult population of the country. Collaboration between banks, government agencies, and other service providers was essential for the national electronic ID to become a resounding success. The various eID programs in the Nordic countries are evidence of successful public-private partnerships, as the systems designed by the banking sector have benefited the country as a whole.

Such collaborative projects can achieve multiple goals for all cooperating entities. In the case of NemID (which translates to EasyID) in Denmark, the objective of the banking sector was to achieve economies of scale and share the substantial costs of Customer Due Diligence. After all, the banks should be competing on product features and pricing rather than their ability to quickly turn around KYC requests. Similarly, the government's objective was to create a robust and widely used national eID system. They took advantage of the wide user base of the banks to provide a massive boost to the adoption rates of the eID scheme.

However, The collaboration does not end there. Mobile BankID, for instance, was introduced in Norway in 2009 through a partnership between DNB Bank and Telenor, the country's largest telecom provider. By 2013, all of the country’s mobile networks and 23 banks had joined the network, leading to almost universal coverage. Today, nearly 80% of Mobile BankID customers use the service almost once a week. Such levels of success require an unprecedented level of collaboration between private entities and public organizations.


Collaborating on eIDAS

Additionally, the European eIDAS initiative is a collaborative project as well. In addition to the public-private collaboration observed in the Nordic cases, eIDAS must also ensure cooperation between the various Member States, their regulators, and private companies. Another massive hurdle that eIDAS addresses are the legal treatment of the tools it enables. By harmonizing all of these aspects across all Member States, eIDAS achieves perhaps an even greater level of cooperation and collaborative development.

The analysis of the Nordic eID schemes reveals that rather than reinventing the wheel, it might be more beneficial to piggyback on the existing infrastructure and optimize it to be used across all service classes. eIDAS is also building upon the existing national eID schemes of the various Member States, and its primary effort is toward harmonization. In that sense, it has the additional advantage of adopting the best practices in each EU Member State.



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References and Further Reading

Image: WIP - Baby Viking Hat for Ben's newborn, courtesy of Robin Zebrowski, Flickr (CC BY 2.0)