The Journey to Digital Transformation ft. Posti
It is no secret that harnessing new technologies play an essential role in a business’ success.
In a competitive environment, those who are able to correctly utilise the likes of robotic process automation (RPA) and intelligent automation (IA) are at a significant advantage to those who are not.
But, while the ability for such technologies to improve productivity and efficiency whilst transforming operational practices is well known, businesses in the Nordic region are lagging behind their international competitors in their digital journey.
Jani Rahja is the Head of Automation at Finnish postal service company Posti. He comes from a strong business background with extensive experience in management consulting and HR, where for 10 years he worked with shared service development in outsourcing and service provision. In his first dedicated ICT role, he is applying his business expertise to lead the automation journey at Posti’s shared service centre. On the Wednesday 20th of November, Jani will be sharing an insight into how Posti is unleashing enterprise wide potential through the use of intelligent automation at Nordic Business Transformation in Stockholm, Sweden. Here, we share a teaser of Jani’s story and explore some of the numbers behind the prevalence of IA in the Nordic region.
Today, Posti operates a shared service centre of around 230 employees who handle a majority of the finance & accounting alongside HR administrational tasks, payroll and sales support. Posti’s shared service centre began in August 2017 and it currently has around 25 automations in use. “At Posti, the first priority is strengthening our core business and making it more efficient, fluent and smooth,” explains Jani. In 2019, 43% of Nordic organisations cited an increase in efficiency as their main driver for implementing IA, while just 24% cited cost saving. This is a great indicator of a widespread consensus regarding the value in creating and supporting healthy business processes rather than adopting ‘profit-before-all-else’ mentality.
“Automation is, of course, more of an opportunity than a threat...”
So far, Posti’s use of automation has significantly improved the shared service centre’s efficiency and has, in Jani’s words, “eased the employees’ burden of staying late at the office to ensure that everything happens on schedule”. Currently, Posti is using RPA to automate tasks, but it has also started looking into implementing chat bots for internal services and machine-learning solution for purchase invoicing automation. “Automation is, of course, more of an opportunity than a threat,” says Jani. “But I think many of the companies in the Nordics are in the same boat as Posti and, even those companies who have been doing automation longer than we have, are still quite young.” Jani is right in his belief; a recent survey of Nordic companies shows that many are in the early stages of their automation journey, with 10% yet to start, 22% in planning stages, and 30% implementing.
As time progresses, the Nordic businesses’ delay in implementing automation will become increasingly indefensible as more businesses worldwide begin to reap the benefits of robot labour. “I don’t think anyone can say that they’re an expert”, says Jani. “And, on the other hand, technology is developing so rapidly at the moment that we don’t even know what’s going to be possible in a year or two or three years. So in that sense, I don’t believe that anyone has a choice but to join in and start experimenting with technologies.”