We believe that software robotics makes the employees’ everyday life easier and automates repetitive routine tasks.
The vision is that the Finnish government is a pioneer of new ways of working and work environments. Senate aims to utilize digitalization to fulfil this vision. Mr. Esapekka Kuikka, Head of Development team, says that Senate Properties has noticed the opportunities offered by Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) as part of the promotion of digitalization. “We started with a pilot project and opportunity mapping for RPA and found more than 200 possible applications for software robotics”, Kuikka tells. After the pilot they organized a public tender with a strong focus on quality. “Efima won the tender, and we got a competent partner for the project”, Kuikka concludes.
Efima had already proven itself to Senate in a successful financial ERP system implementation, and collaboration in RPA seemed like a natural continuation to the partnership. One of the keys to success in the ERP project was a strong internal investment of resources, and Senate decided to use the same recipe again. Soon Eemi Toivanen was recruited as a Robotics specialist to the Senate team.
Senate properties has also encouraged many people across organizational boundaries to participate in the project. A smaller team led by Toivanen maps potential applications, and once that’s done, IT department and main users from all over the organization are involved. Know-how on robotics has been spread through specific trainings.
According to Toivanen, the collaboration with a competent partner works well. “The core team consists of us and people from our partner, and together we develop our understanding of RPA, and get better in the field of software robotics. Predicting and challenging the customer’s needs is important", Kuikka points out.
The importance of communications and good ground work
Kuikka raises internal communications as one of the key factors in change management. In Senate, they have informed about the first steps in Robotic Process Automation throughout the organization, and even now Toivanen puts emphasis on active internal communications, telling about robotics and its applications.
It’s also important to prepare carefully for the first RPA applications, says Toivanen. “You have to make sure that the robot has all the necessary rights and accesses and the capability to communicate with the system. Once the basics have been built into one system, robotizing the next one is easier.”
RPA requires the right kind of attitude. “When people trust that RPA makes their lives easier and automates repetitive routine tasks, they build a positive attitude towards it”, Kuikka tells. “From the very beginning we have been in touch with new personnel to see what in their processes could be robotized. Everyone has been enthusiastic and started to brainstorm new application areas”, Toivanen continues.
The vision is automated processes and new ways of working
According to Toivanen, a software robot is a welcome colleague all over the organization, and there is no shortage of RPA applications. “We started from 200 applications based on the kick-off mapping, and new ideas pop up all the time. Prioritizing applications and making choices is a continuous part of the job”, Toivanen describes. Senate decided to start from “easy wins”, through which new experiences, learnings and successes can be achieved.
A logical start for RPA was found from the financial management where processes typically include a lot of repetitive tasks. “The first applications in financial management have been really well received. I’ve even heard hoorays shouted”, Toivanen rejoices. According to Kuikka, successes feed the enthusiasm, and the desire to do new things with the help of robotics constantly increases.
In the future Kuikka and Toivanen see RPA as an increasingly more important part of Senate’s operations. Even now, RPA applications have spread outside financial management, for instance in document and customer relationship management and in HR processes. “In a few years we will see robotics as part of workflows in everyday life, and robotics will be visible all over the organization. With artificial intelligence, we can complete RPA in the future in tasks, where it is not enough as such”, Kuikka envisions. Toivanen agrees: “Robots as colleagues will soon be part of our everyday life here in Senate Properties”, he concludes.