The Västra Götaland Region (VGR), with its more than 50,000 employees, is Sweden’s largest organization and is responsible for areas such as healthcare, local transport, and regional development.
Financial Services, System Support & Development is a department within the Västra Götaland Region. The department places great focus on cross-functional work and works broadly across its business areas. In Financial Services, there are enormous and practical takeaways to be gained from automation and digitalization when it comes to repetitive tasks.
The Västra Götaland Region has been working on various digitalization initiatives for some time. Customers, for the most part, consist of healthcare staff who have historically been burdened by a tremendous amount of administrative work. One step in VGR’s digitalization initiative was to make the work easier for healthcare staff and allow them to focus on more value-creating tasks.
Regions were generally characterized by outdated systems, often lacking the kind of support that integration could bring. Modern and smart IT support could help users with an attractive interface that would simplify administrative work.
The need for a new solution became apparent when it was identified that many manual steps still existed in various parts of organizations. It was a question of moving this data into a digital world, and of course, refining these processes and analyzing working methods. As such, a digital environment was required that could measure, follow up and identify bottlenecks in the processes.
VGR previously chose InRule process automation as a strategic platform for Digital Process Automation (DPA). They further chose to complement InRule process automation with Robotic Process Automation (RPA), i.e., software robots instructed to perform work steps.
Sometimes, when introducing new systems while benefitting the administrators, it becomes more difficult for the users to work with it – or vice versa. With this solution, we succeeded in finding the sweet spot – helping administrators with a modern interface and users with reduced administration.Johanna Bergmann – Head of Financial Services, System Support & Development
Without the solution, there would still be a high degree of repetitive work, costing unnecessary, valuable time. Instead, now Financial Services can take on other tasks from the business while benefitting from the opportunity to optimize their way of working.
InRule process automation got onto VGR’s radar when the company was shown one of InRule’s solutions by the Uppsala region. Consequently, the project management team quickly set its sights on the product and started identifying different application areas that could be rendered more efficient.
One of the most critical parameters in choosing to go ahead with InRule was the opportunities identified in the platform – unlike most other solutions that came pre-packaged and forced compromises. The flexibility of InRule process automation provided an opportunity to shape, control, and adapt the development to how the business was actually being run.
A system often comes as a package – straight from the shelf. With InRule process automation, we’re able to adapt the system, based on how we work and what is needed. It allows us to support the business more rapidly.Thomas Lindström, Process Manager
ILLUSTRATION OF THE SOLUTION
In short, external invoices received are registered in InRule process automation. They are then sent to an RPA inbox where a software robot processes the invoice. Attachments are then processed in the financial system and, in the end, forwarded to an administrator for handling.
VGR implemented a number of operational applications in InRule process automation, but a particular process concerning customer invoice documentation went from an idea to a workable process in less than a year. The work included a number of integrations among different systems to communicate with one other and served as the basis for the entire journey of change.
Even the technical implementation of RPA proceeded at a rapid pace, with the first meeting in April and ready for active operation already in May.
It also spanned several departments with a central point ending with Thomas Lindström, Process Manager at VGR.
The combination of InRule process automation and UiPath makes for a very smooth operation. The fact that we can get it fully automated is incredibly valuable to us.Thomas Lindström, Process Manager
What the project group identified was that the work done on previous processes facilitated future projects and that the pace increased all the more as processes were being developed. Producing materials, as well as implementing the technical phase, were happening more quickly.
Two critical factors in getting the solution in place for VGR came down to prioritization and resource allocation. Without having these two in place, it would have been much more difficult to justify the project, not to mention reviewing the possibility of implementing it.
Another crucial factor was the ability to analyze the effect of the anticipated takeaways: Was there sufficient potential to refine this particular process, or should the focus have been on other quality work? Such an analysis can be conducted in the form of the number of hours saved, increased quality, and risk minimization. Often, it turns out to be a combination of a number of factors.
RESULTS & VALUE
As the project is still relatively new, it’s difficult to evaluate concrete results at this juncture. What has become clear, though, is that the situation has changed considerably for the business. Instead of spending a large amount of its time on routine tasks, it can now focus on more qualitative work – creating value for the organization and the individual.
Previously, the process included a number of manual contact points, such as e-mail, phone calls, and even postal mail. The following user would take over and process the data manually by entering it into a system. Customer invoices arrived late in the month and created a problematic situation for administrators.
With a fully automated solution such as InRule process automation integrated with RPA, the bottlenecks are more visible earlier in the organization, which facilitates management. Breathing space is created to actually handle the invoice, which also contributes to a better end product.
Another positive aspect that has emerged from the project is that the business itself has begun to identify points for improvement. After showing what can be achieved with a combination of InRule process automation and RPA, staff from the business are coming directly to Financial Services, with requests for processes that can be automated.
There’s a different maturity in the organization and a completely new acceptance of these types of digital solutions. We have a forum where other parts of the business are also involved, where we report every week in order to plan for future initiatives. It’s incredibly fun for us as it feels like we’re creating benefits for the organization!Thomas Lindström, Process Manager
With a department that places significant focus on innovation and automation, we can say with certainty that VGR is an organization for everyone with an interest in these topics to keep an eye on. There are already a number of initiatives in the starting blocks. Combined with the fact that the business, in general, has opened its eyes to what is possible with the combination of InRule process automation and RPA, it will be incredibly exciting to follow this journey into the future.