Customer understanding as the foundation of digital service development

A thriving employee is motivated and committed to their work. Smartum is Finland’s most well-known provider of tax-assisted employment benefits, and its goal is to increase comprehensive individual well-being. We collaborated with Smartum to develop the SmartumPlus service targeted at employers, while also improving the user interface and experience of the SmartumPay application for benefit users.

Our work

Starting situation

Smartum and Identio started collaboration in the autumn of 2021. Prior to this, Smartum’s development of applications and interfaces had been project-based, which often posed a challenge as user needs change faster than development projects can be completed.

In the autumn of 2021, Smartum primarily offered employers a product where they defined what benefits to offer employees. This did not provide employees with the flexibility to decide for themselves what types of services they would like to use their employer-distributed balance on.

Users of the benefits have access to the SmartumPay application, through which they can pay for services with employment benefits. There are so many service providers that everyone can find individual use cases to support their personal well-being. However, one of Smartum’s biggest challenges in this target group has been that benefits are too often left unused if people forget about them or don’t know how to use them.

Valuable things are not just lines of code, but also the role a consultant takes in a team. We wanted someone who wanted to help the team grow and build an identity for it. Identio's consultant played a big role in this, and that's why we continued our cooperation longer than planned.

– Mika Peuralahti, CTO, Smartum

Collaboration and development projects

SmartumPlus – software development

Smartum made a bold decision to create a completely new service to replace the old one. The new service, SmartumPlus, was designed to be scalable, with diverse potential for future development. Smartum aimed to move away from project-based development and instead build new features based on customer needs in an agile manner. The technologies chosen for this project were Go and GCP, and they were selected back in 2019.

Choosing Go was a bold move at the time, as it wasn’t very commonly used in Finland. However, it is now a highly functional and viable technology. Even the mindset had to change. The approach needed to support the idea of continuous product development without a set end date for the project. Rather than focusing on technologies and functionalities, the needs of customers and users had to take priority.

– Mika Peuralahti, CTO, Smartum

The SmartumPlus service was built with a unique approach to benefit sharing. Employers can now create different lists of benefits for their employees and distribute them as a single larger sum. Each employee can then decide how they want to use their money, whether it be for sports, cultural experiences or massages. The old product was not flexible enough to accommodate this approach.

To successfully build this new product, Smartum had to create a competent and working development team. Smartum had previously used external consultants, but this time they wanted to find small and committed parties with consultants genuinely interested in the product. Above all, it was important to find the right people who fit Smartum’s culture. Identio’s consultant worked as a Senior Full Stack Developer as a part of Smartum’s development team. They were involved in every stage of the project and gradually gained more responsibility for the team’s work. They also acted as a mentor to Smartum’s new Software Developers along the way. Our consultant was involved in the project from the development stage to the launch of the new product and its subsequent development.

SmartumPay – UI & UX design

The user interface and user experience of SmartumPay were developed based on the needs of benefit users that had already been identified. Identio’s UI/UX consultant worked as part of Smartum’s design team and was responsible for, among other things, designing user testing. During the user testing, service users performed predetermined tasks to assess the service’s usability. 

The other major aspect was designing the home screen based on user needs and testing it so that the elements are user-friendly and logically presented. Since the application has many users and different usage types, it should serve each user in the best possible way. The application’s user interface was designed to emphasize ease of use and offer tips to the user on where to use their benefits. The application was brought to a completely new level to reflect what Smartum offers and what it stands for as a company.

Straightforward communication

Smartum’s Technology Director Mika Peuralahti describes cooperation between Identio and Smartum as straightforward and effortless: “Identio was not a familiar company to us before the start of our partnership. It was important for us to find smaller players and specifically good people who want to work on meaningful projects. When I spoke with the people at Identio, I felt that they are genuinely interested in their customers and want to provide value. Communicating with them was very straightforward, and that style suits me really well.”

My work and expertise were appreciated by Smartum. I got to be a part of the team for a long time and our team gained a lot of trust and freedom. Because of these things, the project was also really meaningful for me personally.

– Jimmy Fagerholm, Senior Software Engineer

Result: a new product and an expert software team

The project involved building an experienced software team and resulted in the release of the new SmartumPlus service for customers. It is now Smartum’s main product, and further development is easier and repair needs are better anticipated. 

The new SmartumPlus is more user-friendly and allows companies to easily share and manage their benefits. Benefit users have a flexible balance that allows them more choices in taking care of their well-being. The new SmartumPlus also includes numerous integration possibilities for services used by HR experts, among others. 

With Smartum’s continuous development mentality, SmartumPlus and SmartumPay will continue to evolve to meet their users’ needs in the best possible way.


  • Development of the SmartumPlus service that is renewing the distribution of benefits, as a part of the development team.
  • Designing new features, full stack development, mentoring other developers
  • Designing the user interface and user experience of the SmartumPay application.
  • Developing UI/UX design practices, building a Figma design system

Smartum is committed to promoting individual well-being

According to a brand research conducted in 2021, Smartum is the best-known brand and desired service provider in the field of employee benefits. Smartum promotes overall individual well-being and creates solutions to support it. With over 13,000 employer clients, Smartum’s benefits cover almost 700,000 employees. Smartum benefits can be used to pay for services at tens of thousands of partner companies. The SmartumPay app continually receives top ratings in app stores from benefit users.

There are many changes and uncertainties in the world that pose new challenges for companies and organizations. Since the pandemic, coping has been challenged, and mental health problems have become a key issue in society. According to a study conducted in 2022 by pension insurance company Elon, 70% of business leaders are concerned about the increase in mental health challenges in their own companies. Smartum is the only provider of tax-subsidized employee benefits with a resource benefit to support employees’ mental well-being. Of course, mental health challenges can also be effectively prevented through exercise and culture. As a long-standing family business, Smartum knows the needs of Finnish companies, making it a reliable and strong player in this industry.

Interested in cooperation?

We'll be happy to tell you more about the work we do.

Joonas Korgan

+358 40 568 4617

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+358 40 568 4617

+358 40 568 4617

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