Building RPA at Helsinki University Hospital (HUS): Discussion with Minna Pekkala, Head of Robotics

Finland’s largest Hospital District, HUS – The Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa – is a joint authority formed by 24 municipalities. Functioning as part of HUS, Helsinki University Hospital (HUH) is nationally responsible for treating severe and rare illnesses and ones calling for special expertise and technology. HUS hospitals employ over 24,000 professionals in 23 locations and received a total of 2,6 million patient visits in 2017.

 

Summary of our webinar with Minna Pekkala, Head of Robotics at Helsinki University Hospital (HUS)

How are digital workers delivered at HUS?

“HUS’s digital workers are delivered as a service (by Digital Workforce). This means we don’t have to buy our own licenses or servers, manage or update hardware, or worry about scalability. We think that the cost of service is predictable, and believe this can help us be cost-effective. We use service delivered from Azure cloud and Blue Prism (Robotic Process Automation, RPA) technology. We had already tested the technology over 2 years ago when we had our Proof-of-Concept.”

How is Robotic Process Automation managed?

“Because we are a large organisation we wanted to make sure that the project management wouldn’t be split in different units. That is why our (RPA) management is centralised in our IT management. Our duty is to make implementation possible and offer RPA development across the organisation.”

“We hit ‘go’ 7-8 months ago. With RPA, we want to help our employees automate routine processes and allocate more time to actual patient care.”

How do you choose processes for automation? 

“When we choose potential processes to automate we put weight on cost savings: How much is the work going to cost and what is the actual return on investment?”

“We have also required that the workflow can be copied. This means that the same process can be run in several different units. And of course, in our operating environment we always think about patient safety and customer quality.”

What has been done so far?

“At the moment we have two different processes in production and four more will follow soon. All in all, we have identified more than 50 potential processes and already 13 of those are in building.”

“Examples of our pilot processes include:

1) RADU-referrals: These radiology request forms are currently working in two different units, but we have 30 locations where the process can be copied.

2) Virtual referrals: Our hospital gets over 300 000 referrals a year. RPA is in operation at 6 locations doing classification, transfer and handling of referrals. If you think about scalability, we have still 37 more units where we can help with receiving referrals and redirecting them to specialists (by expanding the automation). We can use Machine Learning to help classify referrals.”

What have you learned?

“It’s not possible to communicate too much – to deploy RPA you have to concentrate on change management! Few people really know what Robotic Process Automation is and it raises questions among employees and management. People may be afraid of replacement so you need to commit management. The message of why we use RPA must come from line managers. Change often happens slowly in large organisations. There many parties and actors and everyone has their own opinion. You also can’t forget IT – without IT you can’t bring technology to use.”

“Then processes you are going to automate: Who owns them, who knows them best, who can give permission for (RPA) production? Does the process need changes to be automated with RPA? “

“Finally, you have robots, the users. Robots need identity. They have user access, but the robots are not human individuals and in certain systems it may cause problems. Robots can’t learn new system features without their model of work being updated. RPA updates must be synchronised with system changes.”

“RPA is not the final step. You must be ready to think about other options and possibilities as well. For example, RPA with Machine Learning can be very productive.”

Do you have a steering group for RPA?

“We do have a steering group. We have a head doctor who is responsible for clinical processes, a person from our administrative unit and two managers from IT management. We decide priorities, cost locations and project funding.”

“In my opinion, it is important that we have people involved from different sides of our organisation because we need to consider the benefits of the whole hospital.”

What expertise do u need to operate robotics in large scale?

“We buy software as a service (from Digital Workforce) and we do have a Centre of Excellence, but at the moment its only me. In the future, I would like us to have a project manager and perhaps a technical architect is also needed.”

What is your target for next year? How many processes will you automate?

“At least 50. But we would like closer to 100. Cost efficiency grows with scaling up.”

What do you think are the greatest obstacles when starting with RPA?

“It’s a lot of work to build the service up, I would recommend having a project manager for running tasks. In general, it’s good to have more hands and heads put together.”

 

Want to learn more? Listen to the complete webinar recording here

 

Business drivers to implement Intelligent Process Automation

Under unprecedented pace of technological development and increasing pressure of competitors from across the globe, businesses’ digitalization of some degree is inevitable. Companies are altering their offerings, processes as well as operations to keep up with the changing environment and grow their business further. As with every investment, the decision to devote company’s resources into process automation and digitalization must add value to the business. What are the most relevant aspects and general drivers of such business decisions, related to intelligent process automation?

OPERATIONAL EXCELLENCE

Companies strive to maximize revenues and minimize costs, and every investment into new equipment should facilitate either decrease in costs or increase in revenues, leading to increased efficiency of a firm’s resources. Thus, looking at the drivers from the perspective of business’s operations, decrease in cost is doubtlessly one of the key motivators when implementing intelligent process automation.

Process automation allows people and companies to focus on their most valuable work such as creative thinking and product crafting, customer service and leadership. When robots perform an organization’s supportive activities reliably and seamlessly, its human workers are enabled to do the work that is most valuable to the organization. It’s easy to consider how this change might improve both a customer’s service experience and a worker’s mood when they no longer have to be distracted by things such as registering data in various systems, searching it up and interpreting it whilst trying to serve their customer. Simply put, companies can benefit from a more sellable higher quality service/product without an increase in costs.

On the other hand, employing a secure and uniform robotic workforce can significantly cut operational costs as the robots are not subject to human error. Smart solutions can also dramatically increase operational efficiency through better optimization of resources, like decreasing a machinery’s downtime or cutting overlapping activities. Besides the obvious savings due to optimized use of resources, manufacturing firms may expect a significant drop in maintenance costs thanks to the potential of predictive maintenance, accompanied by savings in inventory costs and logistics, while service companies may benefit from more accurate reports and interpretation of data through better risk management, design of KPIs, internal training and services that accurately address customer needs.

Intelligent process automation enables companies to optimize their processes in real-time. This increase in productivity will not only bring higher levels of output, but also potentially much broader product/service spectrum of a better quality, targeting new segments of customers with tailor-made propositions.

BUSINESS AGILITY & NEW MODELS

Process automation in a reliable way enables the companies to direct their attention to high-margin parts of their offerings, or to completely new areas of business. Driving enterprises to explore untouched market opportunities, new digital technologies are bringing complex changes to the current business models. Core resources together with the central value proposition alter, enabling the firms to extend their portfolios. Additionally, hand in hand with business agility goes the idea of customer centricity. In case of a successful extension of the product portfolio (or of the offer as such thanks to additional customer-centric services), companies will grow their business, welcoming new revenue streams to their business models.

MASTERING THE DATA

The issue companies have today is not how to collect data – but rather how to make sense out of all the data available. Everybody is talking about terms such as Big Data and Internet of Things – yet only a few actually knows how to crack it. Thanks to a significant drop in costs of computation and the development of smaller and smarter sensors, the ever-expanding connectivity allows for unprecedented insights, assuming the data are correctly analyzed and understood. This combination of arising new hardware and increasingly sophisticated software holds an immense promise for businesses, eventually enabling physical objects to communicate autonomously among each other. The potential added value hidden in all the data a company produces but not yet fully understands is truly tempting.

With increased process reliability thanks to the data processing, companies can benefit from enhanced accuracy of operations once a system of smart process automation is in place. Eliminating the potential risk of a human factor, especially when talking about routine, standardized and non-creative processes, having an intelligent automated system in operations would enable the companies to redirect their most valuable resources – the human resources – towards more business-value-adding activities.

IT INFRASTRUCTURE & ARCHITECTURE

As much as a driver, the IT infrastructure can also be the most challenging factor when shifting towards more automated and digitalized processes. Digitalizing company’s operations will require more than a simple upgrade of current IT systems – rather, the companies must be ready to review their automation and digitalization processes in a deeply complex way.

Given that some form of computation technology is incorporated to virtually every organization active on the modern markets, companies might be motivated to unify their various systems, uncovering unexpected advantages and synergies. Creating a completely new IT infrastructure is demanding in terms of time, human as well as financial resources and oftentimes the readily-available solutions on the market are not sufficient. Overcoming this challenge through a highly customized solution would ensure the company retrieves the most relevant insights, enabling for flexible reactions.

 

Besides these key categories, there is one more crucial driver for companies to implement intelligent process automation and related technologies – the company’s culture. Through their leaders, companies must evolve a certain level of digital literacy and a corresponding company culture. To fully benefit from the intelligent process automation, firms should develop a strategy and a company-wide vision of a strong digital business culture, both customer as well as employee-focused.

Automation super week: Sign up for our September events across the Nordics!

The fall kicks off in the Nordics with a busy week of events. Digital Workforce organizes a total of 4 breakfast seminars in Norway, Denmark and Sweden. If you want to stay updated on the latest news and developments in process automation, software robotics and new intelligent technologies these seminars are for you! Check out our upcoming events below and register for your local event today.

Events in Denmark:

12.9. Copenhagen

Organized in collaboration with UiPath, the event’s list of speakers includes UiPath’s Technical Customer Success Director Rasvan Constantinescu along side Digital Workforce’s own representatives Jari Annala and Tony Minana. Customer presentation is held by Topdanmark Forsikring’s Senior Project Manager of RPA and Machine Learning Stig Geer Pedersen.

The presentations answer questions such as:

– How can you get the best results from RPA?
– How RPA can be used in different industries and business functions?
– How should you prepare for new intelligent technologies?

You will also have the opportunity to ask your own questions and network during the breakfast.

The event takes place at Scandic Copenhagen on Wednesday September 12th, 8.30-11.00 (CEST). Register free!

13.9. Aarhus

Denmark’s second breakfast seminar is also organized together with UiPath and both parties deliver their expers from Copenhagen to Aarhus. Jari Annala and Tony Minanan of Digital Workforce discuss the latest developments in the field of RPA and AI with UiPath’s Technical Customer Success Director Rasvan Constantinescu. The event will be held in an intimate setting to encourage more personal encounters and open discussion.

The presentations answer questions such as:

– What should you know about RPA best practices and success measures?
– How can organizations tap into the benefits of RPA in all fields and fuctions?
– What should you do now to be ready for the future involving intelligent technologies?

The event offers a great opportunity to address your burning questions and get personal advice from the industry’s leading experts .

The event takes place at Scandic Aarhus on Thursday September 13th, 8.30-11.00 (CEST). Register free!

Events in Norway:

13.9. Kristiansand

Digital Workforce holds an intimate breakfast seminar in Kristiansand, Norway to address questions often brought up by organizations starting their robotic journey. Presentations are held by Digital Workforce’s Norwegian team – the leading Intelligent Process Automation service providers in the country.

The speakers answer questions like:

– How can you identify the potential for RPA and other intelligent solutions in your organization?
– How can virtual workers accelerate digital transformation?
– What are the steps from introduction to long term success in implementing virtual workforce?

The event offers a great opportunity to address your burning questions and get personal advice from the industry’s leading experts .

The event takes place at Scandic Kristiansand on Thursday September 13th, 9.00-11.00 (CEST). Register free!

Events in Sweden:

13.9. Stockholm

Our largest event is held in Stockholm, Sweden. The opening speaker Kenneth Tellebo, Digital Workforce Sweden’s Country Manager is followed by a customer case presentation by PwC. Marcus Henriksson, PwC’s Head of AI and Automation tells about the company’s journey from a pre-study to implementing digital employees and how this transformed their business.

The presentations discuss topics such as:

– What’s the state of RPA in Sweden today are where is it headed?
– How RPA and other intelligent technologies can be used to boost business performance?
– What are the keys to long term success?

You will also have the opportunity to ask your own questions and network during the breakfast.

The event takes place at Scandic Continental Stockholm on Thursday September 13th, 8.30-10.00 (CEST). Register free!

Digital Workforce appoints a Country Manager to its Polish office

Digital Workforce originally opened an office in Lodz to support its Nordic clients’ service centers in Poland. The team quickly grew with the lead of an experienced Office Manager Kinga Chelińska Barańska. Today, the over forty experts strong team has become increasingly independent and we are proud to introduce Kinga in her new role as the Polish Country Manager.

The woman in charge: Kinga Chelińska Barańska

Leading Digital Workforce‘s Polish office is a woman on a mission: Kinga Chelińska Barańska has set out to help Polish clients boost productivity and reduce their costs. She has over ten years of professional experience in the finance sector and is very familiar with the challenges large corporations in particularly face with managing the productivity of their computer-based processes.

Kinga joined Digital Workforce in 2017 when the Polish office was first established. During this time, and in the service of her past employers, she has successfully conducted business projects related to the creation and implementation of new systems, process migration and robotic process automation. As a Country Manager, Kinga is responsible for the Polish branch of Digital Workforce.

New growth from Poland

Digital Workforce originally opened the Lodz office to serve its Nordic clients that had set up their service centers in Poland. Lodz in particular was chosen as the office location because the local universities were known to grow and attract a large population of technologically skilled young professionals. Since the establishment of the Polish office in 2017 Digital Workforce has recruited over 40 professionals in Lodz and was awarded Top Scandinavian Investor by FDI Poland in 2017.

Despite the original set up, it was recognized early on that Poland posed an interesting business opportunity of its own. Many large banks, insurance companies, and BPOs – that are quickly developing and implementing solutions for process automation – operate in and around Lodz.

“One of DWF’s key differentiators is our ability to enable our clients to set and execute their global digital strategies by offering them standardised services. DWF partners have been quick to recognize the strategic value of intelligent process automation and our team has been trained to provide scalable service solutions based on best practices. Our clients rely on us to escort them to the New World and address challenges when needed”, Kinga says: “I’m excited to start my new role knowing that we have what it takes to help our clients on their digital journey!”

Contact information
Kinga Chelińska Barańska, Country Manager, Digital Workforce,
mobile +48 514 519 375,
kinga.chelinska-baranska@digitalworkforce.pl

Digital Workforce Poland
ŁÓDŹ 90-057
UL. SIENKIEWICZA 85/87

Digital Workforce is the first robotics company certified with ISO 20000-1 Service Management Certification

Digital Workforce, a growth-stage company delivering Intelligent Process Automation, is the first robotic company awarded service management ISO 20000-1 certification by Inspecta Certification Ltd. The certificate covers Digital Workforce’s Robot as a Service cloud service and Run Management support and maintenance service in Finland.

The awarded IT-system, certified based on international ISO / IEC 20000-1 standards, testifies to Digital Workforce’s commitment to designing, deploying, delivering and improving services in a way that meets the requirements set for software robots and provides added value to both the customer and the service provider.

Digital Workforce’s IT service management certification covers Robot as a Service, delivered from private cloud, as well as Run Management support and maintenance service. Digital Workforce’s Robot as a Service and Run Management services provide customers with a fast, scalable and secure way to utilize software bots.

– We have provided services in accordance with the ITIL- framework since the establishment of the company in 2015. We focus on quality and safety in our services. Our customer base consists of large private and public organizations that value and require high-quality and certified services from their partners, says Jukka Virkkunen, one of Digital Workforce’s founders.

“We believe that cloud services will rapidly become more common and we see that the certification of our cloud service will bring us new opportunities,” continues Virkkunen.

The company’s Robot as a Service is already the first cloud-based RPA service in the EU that can deliver CE-marked automation solutions. The CE marking signifies that the service can be utilized also to automate clinical processes that are regulated by the European Medical Devices Directive (93/42/EEC and 629/2010) and the legislation on the medical devices and supplies.

Contact Jukka Virkkunen, Partner, Digital Workforce +358 50 670 47, jukka.virkkunen@digitalworkforce.fi

Digital Workforce

Digital Workforce is the only company specialising in Intelligent Process Automation services on an industrial scale. Our intelligent digital workers automate knowledge work processes in large organisations freeing up the time of human employees for more valuable work. The deployment of digital workers requires no changes to the existing information systems. Digital Workforce was founded in the summer of 2015 and it currently employs over 150 IPA specialists in Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Poland.
www.digitalworkforce.eu

Digital Workforce breakfast seminar: Oslo March 7th 2018

Digital Workforce hosted its first breakfast seminar in Oslo March 7th. The intention of the seminar was to give the participants an overview of the possibilities of RPA and share knowledge about how to successfully hire a digital worker.

Pat Geary, Chief Evangelist at Blue Prism, gave an inspiring presentation about Blue Prisms journey from a start-up to a major enterprise. He also gave a detailed introduction to RPA in general, noting the important aspects of the technology. As well as discussing the technology itself, he talked about how RPA should be approached by businesses, both big and small. Geary underlined the importance of starting small, but planning big.

Magnus Skarstein and Andreas Montanus from Codan Insurance shared their RPA journey: from an unstructured hobby project to a strategical tool embraced and encouraged by the management. They also talked about the mistakes they had made because of insufficient planning, and how they had learned from those errors. Following the learnings and supported by the company’s management, Codan has been able to increase net savings and significantly speed up processes with RPA.

Finally, Mads Johan Laastad, Solutions Architect at Digital Workforce, took the participants through a journey on how to hire their first digital worker in a structured and professional manner. He described the different steps and phases needed to be able to successfully hire, configure and deploy a digital worker, and tap into the automation potential of the business.

Digital Workforce is the strategic partner to the City of Espoo’s introduction of organization-wide process automation

Digital Workforce has been selected as the strategic partner to Espoo’s social and healthcare function in the introduction of organization-wide process automation. Over the last years, Espoo has developed a good understanding of how software robots work and where they can be used to create most value. Ropsu, the city’s first cloud-based digital worker has been working successfully in the city’s home care unit for elderly people since 2016. Now the city, known as the forerunner of digital solutions, prepares to ramp-up the use of digital workers across the organization.

Espoo’s robotic journey

Ropsu, Espoo’s first digital worker delivered by Digital Workforce, has worked tirelessly for over a year in the city’s home care unit for elderly people. The robot works in the home care unit’s resourcing process, where it calculates substitution needs and makes the necessary substitute work orders and entries to the city’s ERP system. Ropsu’s performance continues to exceed expectations, and its introduction has also increased the customer’s understanding of software robots and their applications. In Espoo, very soon after the pilot project started it became easy to identify new processes applicable for automation. These and many other processes will soon be executed by new digital workers. Ropsu’s work will also be further expanded.

Digital workers create value for both customers and employees

The new digital colleagues are highly anticipated in Espoo. The city’s experience with awards-winning Ropsu showed that when the nursing staff was able to concentrate on customer care, the most valuable and rewarding part of their work, their job satisfaction increased. At the same time, utilizing the digital worker made it possible to accelerate business processes and improve the quality and efficiency of service. The robot was not perceived as a threat, but as a long-waited help in a situation where the staff’s time was increasingly tied to recurring computer-based tasks. Applying the same logic, Espoo has been able to identify many other processes that can – when automated – enable the city staff to concentrate on creating true value for their customers.

Digital Workforce awarded Top Scandinavian Investor in Poland

Top Scandinavian Investor 2017 in Poland awarded to Digital Workforce for rapid growth and new, innovative jobs created in Poland. The winners were announced at the annual FDI Poland Investor Award Gala in Warsaw on November the 9th, 2017.

FDI Poland Investor is an annual investor competition awarding foreign direct investment to Poland and outgoing FDI from Poland to major global markets. Organised for the fifth time the competition rewards companies adding value to the Polish economy by creating jobs, bringing innovation and know-how and contributing towards Poland’s continued rapid development. There are nominations in 25 categories.

Digital Workforce took part in the Top Scandinavian Investor category which shortlisted companies such as Husqvarna, VA-Varuste Poland and Bulten. In recent years the Top Scandinavian Investor has been awarded to Fortum in 2016 and StoraEnso in 2014.

Digital Workforce started operations in Poland in spring 2017 and will employ 30 people by the end of this year. Founded only two years ago Digital Workforce currently employs over 110 Robotic Automation specialists in Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Poland.

-We are very proud of our international, highly-skilled team and this award in Poland. Our specialist teams help our customers quickly realise tangible benefits from Robotic Process Automation, tells Mika Vainio-Mattila, one of the founders of Digital Workforce.

Poland is one of the leading Business Services areas in Europe. There are many major banks, insurance companies, Business Process Outsourcing providers and Shared Service Centres operating in the area. The implementation of robotics is fast and extensive in these industries.

Other winners at FDI Poland Investor Awards were Amazon and Lufthansa/XEOS.

Face tomorrow’s challenges with digital workforce by your side! Contact us to unravel the automation potential hiding in your organisation. 

Join Digital Workforce at Digital2017- event in Oslo 19.10.2017

Join us at Digital2017- conference in Oslo, Norway 19th of October. The event is tailored for IT decision makers and those who work with digitization.

The conference will address the top IT trends and present companies who have adopted new technologies and solutions. Conference goers will learn what digital forerunners have done and more importantly, how they have succeeded. Topics such as security, cloud computing, artificial intelligence and computing platforms will be discussed in depth. Participants will leave the event with an answer to the question: How can digital tools make my company more competitive and better equipped to face the future?

Event takes place at Radisson Blu Scandinavia, Holberg space, Oslo. Read more about the conference and sign up here!

eLearning, the flexible choice for you and your organisation

Educating staff can be seen as time-consuming and even forced at times. It is not easy to set up training sessions with people whose schedules are filled with other tasks. To prevent frustration and lack of motivation, the training should be flexible, easy to comprehend and challenging enough for everyone to learn efficiently.

eLearning is a great option when you want to provide robotic process automation-related training with the aforementioned qualities to your organisation. We here at the Digital Workforce Academy have already provided our training for dozens of customers, each of whom now have the keys to succeed in the rollout of RPA in their organisations. Our courses are designed for different roles within the RPA team – roles which help you in reaching the automation-related targets set by your organisation. Reaching those targets requires adapting RPA as a full-fledged part of your organisation. Handling the changes brought by RPA one by one can be seen as steps you need to climb to reach the top. With these changes come the possibilities which you can use to enhance your business; learning to recognise these possibilities straight from the beginning will help you get on the right track faster. Also, you are able to offer your staff the chance to develop themselves further and move to more meaningful work, away from the tedious, unmotivational routines.

As mentioned, eLearning brings flexibility to the learning process without ignoring the quality. Participants can themselves determine what they wish to learn, giving them the opportunity to focus on the areas which they find either difficult or interesting. Note that learning remotely does not mean one must manage everything on their own. Our Academy team is ever-willing to help with any questions that may arise on your RPA journey. The team is also available to guide your organisation in choosing the courses suitable for your current situation and future goals. To ensure the participants have grasped the topics of a course, there are instructional videos, exercises and quizzes, which must be completed before advancing further. All courses can be completed at each participant’s own pace, which again brings more flexibility and efficiency to the learning process and allows people to train themselves when they find it most suitable. At the end of each course, there are final exercises which our team will grade by hand and give feedback on. We make sure that when you take our courses, you learn what you are supposed to, as well.

Despite the learning being an individual task in itself, in the big picture RPA is about teamwork; a principle on which our courses are also built. A successful RPA program requires vast knowledge and strong engagement from all involved parties. Even though our courses are related to specific RPA roles, they also present the other tasks and responsibilities of the members of the RPA team. This ensures that the collaboration and communication between the team members is fluent.

You can think of the RPA team as a team consisting of people with four different talents with a common goal: Creating successful automations. At the centre of it all is the analyst, which can also be seen as the project manager for each automation. The duties of the analyst include recognising the processes suitable for automation, calculating their business cases to create a prioritised pipeline and documenting the processes in a highly detailed manner. Working closely with the analysts are the developers. They take care of the actual creation of the automation solution and its documentation while also performing thorough testing on the solution and its environment. Once an automation solution is ready to be handed over to production, it is time for the RPA administrator to join in on the project. First, the administrator checks that the documentation is accurate enough for a hand-over to take place. Then they assess the quality, scalability and overall structure of the actual solution. Once the hand-over has been successfully made, the responsibility of the process will shift to the administrator, who will then be managing the process, scheduling it and investigating any possible incidents happened in production as well as managing all robot resources. Sitting on top of these three roles is the RPA manager, whose responsibility is to ensure that the RPA team can succeed in reaching the goals set for the RPA program. They handle the actual RPA resource management, look after the automation pipeline and communicate about the RPA program with other business unit, managing their expectations. Without a manager, the utilisation and rollout of RPA will be undisciplined and inefficient.

If you are looking to advance further with your RPA project, the easiest way is to train your people to better understand what you want to achieve and what is expected of them and RPA in order to achieve your goals.
Don’t hold back, embrace the changes robotic process automation brings and let the new ideas flow!

 

Face tomorrow’s challenges with digital workforce by your side! Contact us to unravel the automation potential hiding in your organisation and visit Digital Workforce Academy to learn more about our training programs.

Article: Annika Saariluoma and Niko Lehtonen
Images by perzon seo, www.Pixel.la and home thods licence CC BY 2.0