Article | 7.10.2020
How is RPA utilized in Finnish companies?
In which different functions of organizations is software robotics actually used and what benefits can it achieve in different units? This article is based on RPA projects implemented by Sisua Digital in dozens of Finnish organizations, where more than 1,500 use cases have been identified.
RPA (Robotic Process Automation) has been used in Finland to automate manual processes and tasks for several years now, and software robots have become welcomed colleagues in many organizations. In some organizations, the amount of automated tasks might already be in hundreds with the help from RPA.
While more and more companies and public sector players are considering the suitability of software robotics for business efficiency, numerous organizations already have many years of experience with RPA technology, its applications and the benefits it provides. Therefore, now is a good time to stop and look at how software robotics is really utilized in Finnish companies and organizations.
The findings of this article are part of the Roboäly (Robot Intelligence) project for the Prime Minister’s Office, in which almost 900 potential use cases for software robots were investigated. The aim of the case study was to map out in which functions and tasks within organizations software robotics can be utilized best.
The benefits of RPA go beyond streamlining support functions
Suitable use cases for software robotics can be found in companies’ core and support functions. According to previous studies, the tasks in financial administration have been perceived as particularly potential use cases for software robotics, because they are by their nature very rule-based and repetitive.
There is a lot of volume, especially in the processes related to accounts receivable and accounts payable. Therefore, it is no surprise that financial administration has been repeatedly forecasted as the most important utilizer of software robotics in the near future. The potential of RPA has also generally been seen as greater in human resource management than, for example, in customer service, procurement or sales.
However, the list of potential use cases for RPA analyzed in the Robot Intelligence project revealed something else: almost 40% of all tasks and sub-processes analyzed were related to the companies’ core functions and especially sales, order and delivery processes of products or services provided by the companies. In this context, the companies’ core functions refer to the processes that are related to customers and other stakeholders and which generate value for these stakeholders.
While up to three out of four companies use robotics in short-term in financial administration according to previous studies, only less than one-fifth represented financial administration in the sample studied in the project. Among the already implemented use cases in the selected companies, the share was even smaller. Thus, according to the study, organizations’ RPA projects are less likely to start out in financial administration.
Software robotics can improve the quality of customer service and data
Software robots can be taught to perform very different types of tasks in companies’ different functions. In processes related to the companies’ customers, software robots often pre-process orders and applications, allowing staff to focus better on customer service. For example, HOAS (Finnish student housing organization) introduced software robots installed by Sisua (formerly Eera) to streamline the process of applying for student housing. Software robots can also be used to better target and schedule marketing communications to both new leads and existing customers.
Many companies have found themselves in a situation where their data related to their customers, products, and suppliers is scattered across different systems, or the data is partially outdated, or otherwise of poor quality.
Master data and its management is one of the most overlooked, albeit significant, use case of software robotics. Software robots are excellent tools, for example, for data cleaning operations that would not make sense to implement manually or through existing systems.
The myth that financial administration would be a superior use case for software robotics seems to have been broken.
Author: Justus Tirronen, Senior Solution Consultant