The idea about robot calls came about as the new council term was about to begin and its strategy was being prepared. The municipal residents were to be involved in the shaping of the strategy, and the phone robot suggested by Digia proved to be the best way to do so.
At the beginning, the introduction of the robot seemed foreign and robotic process automation itself was a rather unknown concept. However, after the initial meeting, the issue started getting clearer, as both the subject and the project were presented in an understandable and logical manner. Throughout the project, the City of Rauma received support from Digia, who kept the project under control and provided information about the project’s progress.
Strategic Communications Expert Kristiina Lehtonen at the City of Rauma and Administrative Manager Minna Liikanen appreciate the fact that Digia has been helping and scheduling the project, while giving them free rein in the preparation work and the opportunity to make the robot look the way they want. Although the schedule was tight, the project progressed excellently with the support received.
Digia Plc acquired the robotic process automation solution supplier MOST Digital Oy in spring 2022.
Read the news about the acquisition >>
What we did
Phone robot inspiring development
The City of Rauma’s mayor Johanna Luukkonen gave her voice to the telephone robot, which meant that the people were greeted by a familiar voice in the call. The telephone robot has been used to collect proposals for creating a strategy while engaging the municipality’s residents in the development work. Feedback from the municipal residents has been positive, and many have considered the robot an excellent way to be heard.
The Rauma telephone robot has attracted interest in municipalities participating in the Helmi project, in addition to which enquiries have also come from other cities and companies. The phone robot has been covered in both local and national media. The city has received a lot of positive publicity through the project, which helps to position Rauma as a modern and boldly digitised city.
However, digital development does not mean just the telephone robot, as Rauma also has two other robotic automation projects in the works, related to early childhood education and HR and finance.
Thoughts on robotic process automation
The telephone robot project has opened up the world of robotic process automation and the benefits it brings. For Lehtonen, robotic process automation was an unknown term before the project, whereas Liikanen, responsible for IT, had heard of it before. Now both have a clear view of the benefits of robotic process automation:
“Automation brings relief to the busy and growing workload of everyday life”, Lehtonen summarises. “It creates opportunities for different ways of working. Sharing information between different systems is also easier and more sensible”, Liikanen adds.
Today, the work involves a lot of information retrieval and revision. When the work is done by a human being, the risk of human error also increases. Using robotic process automation, the possibility of error is minimised and humans’ working time is freed up for more demanding tasks. There is no need to invest great amounts in an automation project to successfully implement it. Liikanen believes strongly that such solutions will make the world more digital.
“Whatever is accomplished with automation does not need to be ground-breaking. Also a smaller, repetitive and time-consuming thing can be replaced by robotic automation”, Liikanen says.
Need: Collecting municipal residents’ opinions to assist in planning the strategy work of the new council.
Solution: Municipal residents answer questions presented by the robot on the phone regarding the development of the city. The robot collects the answers and processes them in text form. An analysis is created from the responses received.
Benefits: The phone robot reduces manual work and compiles the answers into a written format, freeing up the staff’s work time for other tasks. With the help of the phone robot, municipal residents are involved in development work, which also increases overall satisfaction with the leadership of the municipality.
Rauma in brief
With its 39,970 inhabitants, Finland’s third-oldest city, Rauma is located by the sea in southern Satakunta. Rauma is a port city with two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Old Rauma wooden house area and Sammallahdenmäki, a Bronze Age area. Rauma is particularly well known for its dialect influenced by the Swedish and English languages, lace and maritime and forestry industries.
Illustration © City of Rauma