Norway—at the leading edge of digitalization

12 December 2012 | Halvor Walla, Strategy Director, Software Innovation

​As the digitalization debate continues, Norway continues to strive towards its ambitious goal of becoming a digital society. The question is – how will this work in practice? You only need to look as far as the Norwegian State Education Loan Fund, known as Lånekassen, to find the answer. This organization administers financial support to Norwegians who would like to complete further education, and aims to provide equal opportunities to education, as well as uphold satisfactory working conditions. With the aim of becoming one of Norway’s most advanced public sector organizations, Lånekassen chose to upgrade to a new cutting-edge case management system in 2008. With a new focus on self-service and automation, the organization has cut waiting times in half, seen large cost savings, and reduced employee absences.

Significant benefits
Lånekassen’s new case management system Public 360°, from Software Innovation, a Microsoft partner that develops and implements solutions for enterprise information management, has produced visible and measurable results that are benefitting both the customers and the organization. These include:

• Management time for loan applications has been halved, from an average of 16 days to just eight

• More than 60 percent of customers are processed automatically within 24 hours, without involving a case manager

• The volume of telephone enquiries has been reduced from 1.5 million to 450,000 per year

• Staffing has been reduced by 16 percent (60 full-time equivalents)

• Cost savings of 50 million NOK ($8.8 million) every year for the last seven years

• Reduced employee absences

• Increased customer service and customer satisfaction

• Fewer resources needed to handle telephone enquiries from customers

Self-service and automated case management
With a range of self-service options, customers can complete applications at any time of the day. The customer portal also makes it easier for applicants to register online. They can check the status of their application at any time, as well as see an overview of their installments and loan amounts. This increases the level of control that customers have over their account, while simultaneously freeing up resources at Lånekassen.

A large proportion of the applications that used to be processed manually by a case manager are now processed automatically. “Standard” cases, such as applications for interest exemption, can be registered via the customer portal and the user will receive an electronic response, without necessarily taking up a case manager’s time, with the goal of making the application process as automated as possible.

Smart functionality offers more effective processes
Improved access to information has helped Lånekassen’s processes become much more efficient. For example, contact information and documentation from customers or third parties can now be easily accessed from one location, providing fast and simple access, and a lighter case management workload. Digitalization has also helped Lånekassen make the most of bespoke software for public sector organizations. Previously, applicants had to submit document elements, such as their income, themselves. With the new system in place, Lånekassen can access income information directly from the Norwegian Tax Administration, which simplifies the application process for both the customer and Lånekassen.

A crucial aspect in Lånekassen’s digitalization was the decision to use a standardized application. A standardized IT application will ensure lowered operational costs, while enabling different systems to ‘communicate’ through integration. Being able to measure returns is also important – and a key takeaway for other organizations, as the entire country aims for digitalization. This is certainly an exciting time to follow this trend, and Lånekassen is a great example of a successful digitalization project!

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Halvor Walla
Strategy Director, Software Innovation