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How to Develop Electronic Document Service like Ukrainian Diia/Diya?

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Alexander Safonov
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Diia (Diia, or Diya) is Ukrainian mobile app and web portal launched on February 20, 2020, by the Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine. The mobile app allows users to use digital documents on their smartphones instead of physical ones to identify themselves and share their valuables. Whereas the web portal provides access to more than 70 government services via the Internet. During 2 years of work the platform has become very popular among the citizens of Ukraine (every second Ukrainian used at least one e-service of the platform) and received worldwide recognition for being an innovative state product.

We will tell you below how this project works, why it has become so popular, and how to develop an electronic document management service (EDS) and the provision of public services on the type of Ukrainian Diya and how much does it cost.

Application " Diya"

Diya (acronym for "Derzhava i ya", from Ukrainian means "State and I") is Ukrainian electronic service of state authorities, which was launched by the Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine as part of the "State in Smartphone" project. It was originally only a mobile application, designed primarily to store in one place and electronically all necessary documents that could be used as ordinary physical (paper, plastic) documents. The first documents of this kind were: passport, driver's license and the vehicle registration certificate.Document in the application

If you need to show a document to an employee of a bank, the hotel, a transport company or the police, you just launch " Diya" and open the necessary document in the application - it has the same legal effect as demonstrating a paper document. Source

Some time after launching the mobile application, the territory of the "state in a smartphone" began to expand gradually. On April 2, the official launch of the web portal of state services " Diya" took place, where it was possible to obtain 27 state services, including the possibility to become an entrepreneur, change the type of activity or terminate it. Besides, it was also possible to obtain a certificate of criminal record; apply for a childbirth allowance or monthly reimbursement for child care services for children under three years; file a lawsuit in court; register a car or receive services related to driver's documents: to execute a number of licenses, permits or to obtain extracts from registries.

Today, " Diya" includes the following six areas of activity:

  • Web portal. Online service offers 70 state services: business registration, obtaining social assistance, certificates, permits, etc. All services are provided quickly, easily, securely and "in one window".
  • Mobile application. Application for smartphones with electronic documents and data about a person from state registers. In particular, biometric passports are available (ID-card, passport of citizen of Ukraine for travelling abroad); registration number of taxpayer's card (RNOKPP); IDP certificate (internally displaced person); child birth certificate; internal COVID-certificate; external COVID-certificate.
  • Digital education.Portal with online courses: a basic course in digital literacy for teachers, medical workers, officials, parents; courses on business, entrepreneurship, information technology, cybersecurity, psychology, education and many others.
  • Portal for Business. Online support platform for Ukrainian entrepreneurs, where they can get advice on starting up a business, expanding their business, paying taxes, etc. In addition, at this portal, it is possible to participate in various programs for financial support of local businesses, for example, expert financial assistance for businesses.
  • " Diya. Centers." Online administrative service centers. Citizens can use them to receive all the state services they need in one visit. At the time of writing (November 5, 2022), this functionality is only being tested and has not been made available to citizens yet. After the launch, it will be possible to apply for a subsidy on this platform; sign an agreement with providers of state and municipal services; receive financial support as a resettler and many more things.
  • City. A special legal and tax space for international and Ukrainian IT companies. Through this online service it is possible to do business as easily as in Estonia and Singapore. There are comfortable tax conditions and effective online tools for profitable, simple and convenient doing business in Ukraine.

How to develop an analogue to Diya

As the mobile application and web portal of Diya operate with a lot of public services and confidential data, this solution should not only be user-friendly, understandable and have a nice design, but also provide a high maximum level of security. Moreover, such software should have high bandwidth, which will be enough to serve millions of ordinary users and tens of thousands companies.

This can only be achieved by custom development because off-the-shelf solutions are always security risks, a template design, limitations on functionality and application bandwidth. Besides, such a complex software solution should be developed by a highly professional development team with experience in launching similar solutions such as Merehead. Only this team will be able to take into account all the nuances of developing such projects.

Niche and target audience

Project Diya is focused on providing state services and working with various documents, certificates and licenses, which are rendered to individuals and businesses by the state. When launching your analogue of Diya, you can choose the same direction, but only if you either represent the state or have enough influence to attract it to your business project. It is impossible to create an application without this, the "pictures" from which you will have the same legal rights as ordinary paper (physical) documents.

However, that's not the only option. You can choose another niche for your electronic document management service. And it can be either a corporate solution that will work within a single company or a neutral solution that everyone can join, for example in logistics, medicine, marketing, education or agriculture.

The key is that the niche has to meet a few criteria:

  • Documents have to be valuable to participants in the chosen market, company or country, such as confirming a person's identity, ownership or right to conduct some activity (a license).
  • The documents must circulate between multiple participants with heterogeneous document management systems. For example, you don't need an electronic document management system if it only works within one restaurant. But you will need it if documents move between multiple restaurants, restaurant and bank, restaurant and food and equipment suppliers, restaurant and government.
  • The speed of paperwork is very important to you. If you need the fastest possible processing (verification) of documents, then you definitely need to abandon manual processes in favor of electronic document management.
  • Your documents can be falsified. If the documents you want to digitize are virtually impossible to forge and this is your main criterion for using them, then you probably don't need a new EDS.

Functional Features

A consistent file structure. To create an online electronic document management service, it is crucial to develop a simple file system structure that users can quickly understand and master. Typically, such projects use a tree structure because it is familiar to users (this is the type of file structure used in Windows, Apple and Android) and it is easy to implement. In addition, the tree-like file structure is good at distributing documents based on their importance and relation to a category.

The structured directory system

What a tree-like file structure looks like. Source

Customizable tagging and naming rules. The second important feature of electronic document management services is the ability to tag content and its owners according to organization-specific rules and requirements. This simplifies the work with documents greatly. Besides, the standardization of naming and tagging helps with the automation of document search, processing and editing.

Availability on different platforms and devices. Your solution should work properly on all desktop and mobile devices, providing a smooth and seamless user experience. That being said, this rule applies not only to your platform running on Windows, Apple or Android, but also adapting screen sizes and files to the screen size and resolution of the device the user of your online service is currently using.

Simple smart search engine. If you have a lot of files in your system, users will need a handy tool to find the documents they are looking for by title, date, type, source and others. So you need to create a system where you can search documents using as many criteria as possible, including title, date, category, tag and author.

Manage versions of downloaded files. If your product is going to be aimed at the corporate or private sector, it should not just store the last downloaded file, but also be able to track the history of changes to a competing file. For example, it is important for collaborative work on a single document, accounting statements, legal documents, etc. In addition, this feature allows you to create backup copies of documents.

Collaboration of files, editing. This function allows multiple users to see and edit documents, as it is implemented, for example, in Google Docs. In addition to editing documents, this functionality should also include the ability to set up and customize different types of access to files and the ability to switch between them.

Integration with third-party software and services. Studies show that on average, small businesses use more than 100 different software products, while large enterprises use more than 280. Your electronic document management solution should integrate with the most popular software. This will improve the user experience of using your platform and help you to stand out from the competition. The specific list of integrations depends on the niche, target audience and country. Generally, these are banks, fiscal services, chat rooms, email, social networks, marketing tools, etc.

Software usage statistics for companies with 101 to 1,000 employees

Software usage statistics for companies with 101 to 1,000 employees. Source

Scalable file storage. When it comes to storing your data, it's better to have more than less. Conventional file or document management systems rely on cloud-based storage solutions because they are easy to scale according to the needs of a particular company. We also recommend using this approach, but with a small addition - you need to add the ability of working with documents in offline mode. Such a small improvement can greatly enhance the user experience.

Security and privacy settings. Documents uploaded to your EDI system should be protected at all levels, from user authentication and resiliency to external threats and document access classes. Moreover, it's also important to be able to specify document privacy levels and configure document access for your employees, partners, customers, regular users and other roles.

Automatic file generation. You can also add the ability to generate documents to your service, for example, to create contracts, reports, tables and charts on pre-created templates. This will simplify many routine procedures and reduce the number of human errors. A very useful feature.

Optical Character Reader. Now consider adding an optical character reader (OCR) to your product. This will allow your users to read printed and handwritten text and upload it to your platform automatically. It's a very complicated feature, so it's better not to develop it from scratch, but to find a vendor for this kind of solution and integrate it into your online electronic document management system.

Document archiving. The next feature that your users may need is archiving irrelevant files and documents related to completed projects. It will be very useful if your customers' partnerships have lasted for decades. Furthermore, it may also be an industry requirement for some niches.

File Type Conversion. Integrating a document converter into your document management platform will improve user workflow efficiency, for example if they need to convert a Word text document or Excel spreadsheet to PDF. When implementing this functionality, don't forget to add batch conversion capability. In spite of the obvious usefulness of this option, many companies simply forget to add it for some reason.

Electronic signature. Another option, without this one, it is inconceivable to imagine an electronic document management system. It allows your users (companies, their employees) to sign documents legally. As in case with OCR, it is better not to create this function from scratch, but use appropriate API.

Offline access. Make sure your EDI platform allows users to view, edit and download files when it' s necessary. This will be useful when a stable Internet connection is not available or when your customers need a solution that maximizes energy savings.

Business model and monetization of the project

Ukranian Diya is a governmental application and web-portal, which provides its services to users on a free-of-charge basis. It doesn't mean that everything on the site is free. There are paid services, for example, restoration or driving license exchange in Diya costs 219 UAH (about $6), but this is the cost of the service by default and its amount does not depend on whether you use Diya or not.

If you create your analogue of Diya, but in another country, you are probably going to use a similar business model. However, if you want to launch a commercial solution, then you will need to choose a monetization model:

  • This is probably the most common way to monetize EDI services. It requires users to pay a monthly or annual fee to gain access to your site. The price of such a subscription usually depends on the features available, the number of documents available for work, etc.
  • Commissions and fees. If users will perform financial transactions through your platform, such as contract payments, you may charge a small fee on each such transaction.
  • Freemium. This monetization model assumes that you will provide the main functionality of the system for free and at the same time encourage users to buy additional features. Such paid features can be: absence of advertising, more listings, etc.
  • Advertising. This is the easiest way to make money from your software. You can integrate into it the space to show contextual advertising from other online services, banks, law firms, brands and other things.

Technical architecture of the project

Technical architecture of the electronic document management platform
Technical architecture of the electronic document management platform. Source
The architecture of an electronic document management service includes the presentation level, the business application level, the plug-in support level, the infrastructure level and the standard support level.
  • Presentation level. This is the system for receiving and sending documents, document management, searching, authentication, login, etc.
  • Business application layer. These are various microprocesses and elements responsible for document and file capture, classification scheme, authentication processing, file extraction, data storage, data management, rights management, log management, user management, statistical reports, interface management, etc.
  • Plug-in level. Represents a variety of system security tools for application systems, including electronic printing, identity authentication, digital signing, data encapsulation, spreadsheets, copyright protection, privileged role and more.
  • Infrastructure layer. This part of the platform includes IAAS (Infrastructure as a service) equipment for cloud computing and IAAS services.
  • Support layer. These are industry standard specifications.

Backend, Frontend and API

Frontend. UI design development consists of several stages. First, you create a warframe, a low-detail view of the design, implemented in the form of simple flowcharts, which shows the key elements and functions of the interface. Next, mocaps and prototypes are created - a representation of the design in the way end users will see it. And finally, they are implemented in the program code using the following technologies:

Front-end technologies

Backend. To implement the hardware and software part of your electronic document management platform, the following technologies are used:

  • Web servers: nginx, Apache.
  • Web frameworks: Ruby On Rails, Phoenix.
  • Programming languages: Ruby, Elixir, Python, PHP, Java.
  • Database servers: PostgreSQL, MySQL.
  • Hosting: AWS, Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure.
API (Application Programming Interface). If you plan to connect external software to your Diy analog, here are the APIs you can use: API for Diy analog

Testing and launching

The final stage of development is a comprehensive testing of the created software product for bugs and compliance with specifications, which includes testing of usability, security, bandwidth, functionality, etc. After the testing is over, the application is published in the Apple App Store and Google Play listings, as well as a support and feedback service, is set up for further development of the service.

The cost of launching Diia/Diya analogue

The average cost of such mobile electronic document management application as the Ukrainian Diiya, depending on its complexity and developer's location:

The cost of launching Diia/Diya analogue


How to Develop Electronic Document Service like Ukrainian Diia/Diya? key takeaways:
  1. Application " Diya"
  2. How to develop an analogue to Diya
  3. Niche and target audience
  4. Functional Features
  5. Business model and monetization of the project
  6. Technical architecture of the project
  7. Backend, Frontend and API
  8. Testing and launching
  9. The cost of launching Diia/Diya analogue
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