An Interview with Telia: How a $60 could save you millions

By: Jarno Kekäläinen

Starting a journey in robotics can be a big investment, but it doesn’t have to be. Telia have implemented a $60 bot that has yielded €5 million in savings for the company in just one year. With a huge opportunity available to organisations with smaller budgets and limited resources, we spoke to Jarno Kekäläinen about the $60 bot – from how the implementation journey took place to how the tool can help smaller organisations. Discover if smaller investments in robotics can have a positive impact on your organisation.

Case Study

Telia began their process of implementing robots in 2016. After stopping the pilot they began with their partner, they took an entrepreneur style approach. The implementation of the $60 bot began with the discovery of online robotics tool, vTask Studio which offered an enterprise licence. Jarno gave the tool to capable individuals at Telia to see what they could develop. Within a month of the purchase, they had already created numerous bots, one of which had delivered savings within the region of €1 million. Within a year the $60 bot had yielded €5 million in operations savings. Despite having more enterprise grad robots, Telia are still using the $60 bot to complete specific tasks where it suits the needs of the process far more than other bots.

What processes were automated using the $60 bot?

“Every once in a while we encountered quality issues with our adjusted invoicing process where due to the campaign, billing cycles and various other aspects of customer invoices needed chargers adding or crediting. The $60 bot was created specifically to aid tis process as we were conducting adjustments 17,000 times a month, with each adjustment taking approximately 6 minutes. Instead, our Customer Service Representative’s working with multiple backend IT systems to conduct the adjustments, they now just press enter and the robot completes the work for them. Not only did we make a lot of savings in terms of time, but we were able to use that time in a more productive way, by serving and understanding our customers and creative more revenue.”

What challenges did you encounter during the process?

“The main challenge of implementing new technologies is change management. There are a lot of people talking about robots taking jobs and Artificial Intelligence making everything obsolete, so our challenge was really about tackling the fears of people involved in the process. Another challenge to overcome has been establishing transparency and trust within the organisation. Robotics is a very fast paced environment and since it’s so fast, it is important to provide full visibility into the process. For example, the million dollar bot that we implemented took only 45 days to develop. The process is so fast you need to provide full transparency so everyone affected can be prepared for its arrival. At the time we actually made a mistake, which is funny now, but wasn’t at the time. We forgot to tell the organisation that we had deployed a robot into operation. All of a sudden, we had a group of people that had no work to do since the robot was so efficient. Fortunately, since then, we have ensured that part of our robotics and HR processes can think ahead in order to avoid similar situations.”

What are the pros of this approach for smaller companies?

“The initial cost of starting the journey is that it is very affordable. Because of this organisations can easily get a first hand experience of what robotics is all about, such as where the bots sit well in the organisation and where they do not, at a very low cost. It’s important for organisations to not only think of robotics as a means to make cost savings, but also as a way to speed up processes, improve quality in their operations and improve their cash flow and customer experience through speed and quality. When organisations are ready to take this initial step, a lot of money can be saved from investing in the right place at the right time, and more importantly, with the right tool.”  

Interested in hearing the rest of our interview with Jarno and learning how Telia are helping SMEs across the Nordics? Telia and Jarno Kekäläinen will be joining us at Intelligent Automation Nordics in Copenhagen to discuss their $60 bot and how a robotics journey can be affordable and feasible for any organisation with innovation. Learn more about their involvement in the event here.

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