Sprint-style project work was not really new to the City of Tampere, though when talking about the city, the organisational structure is naturally a little different. The City of Tampere did not find Gofore’s fast-paced sprints problematic, though the rapid progress of the project surprised some parts of the organisation. The fixed-term nature of the deployment project, however, set a fast pace that was adhered to.
All seven projects were from several individual industries. In practice, this meant that a separate team of system experts and other people familiar with the processes had to be harnessed from the City of Tampere to work on each robot. Joona Sinisalo, Tuomas Koukkari, Ilari Rosengren and Merja Ilomäki from Gofore participated in the expert team focusing on robot development. “In the beginning, it was difficult to anticipate what it takes to do an RPA project, but fortunately now we know better,” Mr Vartola admits, explaining the ambitious initial goals. Among other things, the specification work and test environments require work from many individuals representing the City of Tampere as well. Sufficient expert work time must be set aside for an RPA project, as input is needed not only to prepare process descriptions but also to clarify details and ensure the functionality of the software. “When attempts were made to address multiple use cases simultaneously, it was stated on behalf of both Gofore and us that this would not succeed.”
“In hindsight, it can be said that it would have been good to start with just a few projects while carrying out the work in stages, rather than trying to do everything at once,” Mr Paananen considers. Within a time period of six months, the process automation of seven completely new systems was a little too ambitious in terms of the schedule. When automating processes, it is important to describe the process in as much detail as possible. A detailed process description speeds up implementation, and thus deployment. As a result, only five robots were ultimately implemented as part of the deployment project.
“It was great that even though the healthcare systems, for instance, were new to Gofore’s experts, it was possible to quickly make a judgment on what can and cannot be automated on the basis of a mere demo,” Vartola says, characterising Gofore’s efficiency. Getting to know the systems definitely took the most time. It was quickly noticed that the project progressed twice as fast when automation work was commenced on another process belonging to the same system.