CASE THE CITY OF TAMPERE

The City of Tampere’s software robot has processed more than 700 library card applications this autumn

Since February, people in Pirkanmaa have been able to apply for a library card electronically. Now PIKI libraries have a new employee: a software robot that processes electronic applications and sends the applicant a text message when their new card is ready for pickup.

 

The City of Tampere has recruited a software robot named Korbot to process electronic library card applications for libraries in Pirkanmaa. A software robot is a piece of software that has been programmed to use various other programs on a computer in a predefined way.

At PIKI libraries, Korbot transfers library card application information from an e-form to the customer information system. Once the application has been processed, Korbot sends the applicant a text message informing them that their library card is ready for pickup from any library in Pirkanmaa and reminds them to bring a form of identification.

mita-teimme.pngWhat we did

  • software robot for processing electronic library card applications
We have been able to work seamlessly with Digia. Their support systems are clean and easy to use. The software robot’s development followed a clear path, and it was easy for us to keep up and see how the project was moving forward.
Laura Aatola, Web Architect, The City of Tampere

Shorter customer service queues

Korbot has been operational since the 5th of July and has processed approximately 700 applications. According to Web Architect Laura Aatola, the digitalisation of the library card application process has shortened queues at libraries’ customer service desks. “Filling in a library card application at the customer service desk takes ten to fifteen minutes. If the customer has applied for the library card electronically and Korbot has processed the application, issuing the card at the desk takes about one minute. We can control the robot through an Excel file and do things like change the contents of the text message it sends to customers.”

This means that the most significant time savings are achieved through customers applying for their new card electronically. If all the card applications processed by Korbot had been processed by customer services instead, fulfilling them would have taken a total of approximately 116–175 hours. Processing 700 electronic applications without the help of robotic process automation, on the other hand, would have taken approximately 5–7 minutes per application, amounting to a total of 58–81 working hours. The more customers submit their applications electronically, the more staff time is saved. “Instead of spending their time on routine tasks, library staff are freed up to advise customers,” Aatola says.

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Web Architect Laura Aatola has worked closely with Digia in the deployment of the software robot. Aatola is the administrator of the Pirkanmaa libraries’ customer information system.

Photograph: Hanna Porrassalmi, City of Tampere

Centralised processing helps identify even rare errors

There has also been a secondary benefit to adopting robotic process automation. Now that all applications are processed by a single robot, certain errors have become easier to identify and correct. Any applications that the software robot cannot process due to an error are redirected to staff.

“We have been able to work seamlessly with Digia. Their support systems are clean and easy to use. The software robot’s development followed a clear path, and it was easy for us to keep up and see how the project was moving forward. Whenever there was an error, they helped us find the root cause, even if it was in one of the library’s systems. This has let us follow the breadcrumb trail and fix errors that occur in very rare circumstances,” Aatola explains.

The City of Tampere has signed a framework agreement on robotic process automation that allows the technology to be deployed quickly to other city functions as well.

Photograph: Hanna Porrassalmi, City of Tampere
Banner image: Laura Vanzo, Visit Tampere photo bank