Statistics Finland is the national statistics arm of the Finish government providing its users with the most current information on populations, housing prices, and important monetary indicators. Statistics Finland strives to provide data rich information for national studies and data collection. In order to expedite workflows and upgrade their approach to metadata management to make it more reusable using structured content, the team set out to evaluate their systems. The team had an aggressive timeline to overhaul the entire publication workflow within 3 years until the launch, Statistics Finland chose GraphCMS to meet this challenge and serve as the content platform.
Previously, Statistics Finland had a robust system of publishing solutions that were custom and overlapping solutions and reaching the end of their lifetimes. A key requirement was that the new solution would offer a simple approach to multichannel publishing as well as more support for organizing and querying structured content. The team wanted to bring more transparency to their processes and provide more control of the publishing processes to the content team. Instead of trying to retrofit the existing systems to meet their updated needs, Statistics Finland chose to replatform their system into a portal using GraphCMS.
The Statistics Finland team wanted to ensure that they built a flexible, future proof tech stack. By choosing to build their architecture with SaaS products, Statistics Finland could offload the infrastructure maintenance to the SaaS companies. The team wanted to take advantage of the current best practices when building digital products with SaaS. These best practices included implementing API-first thinking, building a backend that was frontend agnostic, and modeling structured content in graphs.
The API-first thinking empowered the teams to build projects without the restrictions of templates and enabled them to create omni-channel solutions from the beginnings of their project. Building a project that is not tied to specific framework or development flows enables them to choose the solutions that best fit their needs and use case. Building a project that is frontend agnostic helps ensure that the project remains future proof. Adding or updating frontend presentation layers to match the current trends while maintaining an existing backend data set is faster and saves resources.
Statistics Finland wanted to build their project with structured content that enabled greater flexibility. In modeling the content in graphs, they could ensure there were no built in hierarchies and that content was more reusable across the project.
After evaluating several vendors on these criteria, GraphCMS quickly emerged as their CMS of choice given their requirements. GraphCMS was up to the challenge of onboarding 250+ users to work in parallel with highly optimized workflows was an added advantage for the team.
The Current SetupAnchor
The larger architecture consists of a mix of internal systems, cloud providers, and other software interacting with GraphCMS. The CMS houses all of their metadata and relationships and is used for managing and creating content, mainly statistical in nature. This content is accessed by microservices hosted on Microsoft Azure, and is supplemented by website specific caching for content coming in from other third-party systems.
This new stack means that the team no longer needs to maintain workflows with older XML-editor types of tooling, a critical component of the older architecture. Building new workflows with automation that take content from the CMS and easily distribute it across multiple channels. Additionally, they use GraphQL Mutations and Webhooks to trigger SERP indexing, archiving, RSS Feeds, and user alerts when new content is published.
The content from Statistics Finland is largely statistical in nature, so much of the content is around the creation of dynamic graphs and tables, static graphs and tables, and publishing of key figures. This is managed via GraphCMS and further enriched by editorial content for the pages that house this data.
Statistics Finland chose GraphCMS for the following reasons:
Security and GovernanceAnchor
Being a government institution handling sensitive data, security and data governance were key considerations when choosing their CMS. It was critical that the chosen solution was GDPR-compliant and had stringent data policies in place to ensure the integrity of the data was maintained. GraphCMS met these standards and has strict policies in place for criteria like data retention, data protection, and encryption, providing a content infrastructure robust enough for government usage.
Ensuring that team members had no access to content from other users was a critical consideration when evaluating CMS. Statistics Finland needed to create highly specialized roles within the CMS in order to ensure that the interactions with data were limited within the CMS. The custom permissions that GraphCMS offers enabled Statistics Finland to create specific roles for all users. With this feature, Statistics Finland ensured that no information was incorrectly accessed or modified to hamper the integrity of any data.
API-First and Frontend AgnosticAnchor
The team wanted to build a stack that was flexible and future proof by relying on technologies that were API-first and Frontend Agnostic. GraphCMS is an API-first GraphQL Headless CMS that meets these standards and follows the best practices of these trends. It was essential that all content was served via API, with no restrictions on frontend, tooling, or platform. Working with a content API that gave them a predictable dataset to render across platforms, as well as have the option to change this destination-mix in the future without having to re-platform their CMS met the requirements set out by Statistics Finland.
Structured content offers the ability to create content that is reusable across platforms, even when working with large volumes of statistical data. Data types include field operations, surveys, censuses, etc., all of which were easy to manage with GraphCMS. It is an excellent choice for structured content because of its flexibility, powerful GraphQL API, and sleek UI. Using the schema editor teams can easily build highly modular content and visualize the relationships between the models due to the clean UI which matches powerful flexibility with a straightforward API.
GraphCMS offered custom granular permissions which protect the integrity of the data and enable users to have exactly the right amount of power within the CMS
Content Modeling within GraphCMS is easy to create reusable structured content which can be pushed to multiple platforms
API-first architectures ensure that the team is flexible as their needs grow and change without requiring a large data migration on the backend
250 users were simultaneously onboarded to GraphCMS with ease
GraphCMS works well within a larger ecosystem of microservices to create a seamless stream of data which can be pushed to multiple channels