Software robots help Finnish government’s shared services center Palkeet reach productivity goals

The Finnish Government Government Shared Services Centre for Finance and HR (Palkeet) is surprised by the results of employing software robots in its effort to meet productivity targets and how automation reshapes the work in the organization. Sometimes a disruptive and often unpleasant experience for all stakeholders, including possible mandatory workforce reduction, measures designed to improve efficiency and raise productivity were turned into an opportunity by Palkeet.

Realizing early on that they needed to build in-house capabilities that offer a good return on its investment, the Finnish Government Shared Services Centre for Finance and HR is investing one million Euros until 2020 in order to gain six million Euros in future savings. In their determination to make their clients’ everyday lives easier by providing smooth and effective services, Palkeet is improving service and the workplace environment while at the same time creating opportunity by using innovative approaches and technology. In doing so, Palkeet is stepping up to the challenge presented by increasing productivity targets following a decision by the Finnish Government. Taking a holistic view of processes, funding, finance, strategy, competencies, people, communication and a variety of administrative processes, Palkeet made virtual workers, or software robots, based on proven RPA technology a strategic priority and embarked on a journey into the future of the modern workplace.

Bringing in software robots requires change management

Turning the challenge into an opportunity, Palkeet began working with NORIAN’s Intelligent Automation specialists in 2016 in order to eventually become completely self-sufficient. “When we started researching about RPA we figured immediately this is a good way to reach our goals in a way that’s good for our organization long-term. Instead of making our people work even harder or implement costly new IT systems in year-long projects, we decided to become serious about RPA” remembers Juha Koljonen, Head of IT at Palkeet.

Affecting the organization at all levels, the ramifications presented cross-organizational challenges that required effective change management strategies. “This meant we would have to be all-in” Koljonen adds. Looking at automation from all possible angles in order to fully understand what it means for their organization, Palkeet became a better organization in the process. Compelled to do many things it may have neglected, such as precisely defining and digitizing all processes and work descriptions, Palkeet learned to appreciate the added value experienced outside experts offer. “It was clear to us from the beginning that we needed experienced consultants. Not just to get us started, but also to make sure that automations were implemented according to best practices and that we learned from the best in this new field.” Koljonen continues.

Software robots give Palkeet’s employees flexibility to do more meaningful work

Beginning with purchase invoice validation, supplier register maintenance, and verification of employee contract information changes, NORIAN experts built Palkeet’s robotic environment in the Finnish state IT architecture, rapidly deploying several automations that paid off immediately. “The robots are already becoming a natural part of the workplace, people realize they are here to take care of repetitive tasks that were unpopular” Koljonen says. He adds, “Robots gave people opportunities by freeing time in which they can do more meaningful work like service optimizations or interact with customers.”

Motivated by its success and inspired by the demand, Palkeet is already planning its own private cloud-based automation services offering in order to make virtual workers available to its customers (i.e. Finnish public sector organizations). “The doomsayers who predicted failure and a waste of time and resources are already lining up, so this is going to pay off big!” exclaims Koljonen.

“It was clear from the beginning that we needed experienced consultants. Not just to get us started, but also to make sure that automations were implemented according to best practices and that we learned from the best in this new field.”

Juha Koljonen, Head of IT at Palkeet

Challenge

Palkeet wanted to improve its services and their workplace environment while at the same time creating new opportunities by using innovative automation technology. In doing so, Palkeet was stepping up to the challenge presented by increasing productivity targets following a decision by the Finnish government.

Solution

Taking a holistic view of processes, funding, finance, strategy, competencies, people, communication and a variety of administrative processes, Palkeet made software robots based a strategic priority. NORIAN’s solution and services for Palkeet include:

  • Designing and setting up on-premise software robot environment
  • Counseling on how to build and organize an RPA Center of Excellence
  • Automation analyst and administrator training
  • Automation implementations, e.g. validate purchase invoices, update supplier register, verify employment contract changes
  • Continuous support and advisory
  • Automation software licenses

Benefits

One and a half years into their automation journey, Palkeet is on a steady path to reaching their productivity goals. By the end of 2017, they had around two dozen software robots in production. By 2020, Palkeet plans to have saved a total of 6 Million Euros by freeing up to 116 FTEs of manual work.

Read more about Palkeet on their website

palkeet.fi