Robots support an impressive growth curve

Net 2021,  2021-05-21

Already Finland’s largest property maintenance group, Kotikatu doubled in size in March 2020 when it was acquired by leading private equity firm Norvestor. Due to rapid growth Kotikatu needed to streamline administrative support to ensure good customer service. It has achieved this with no growth in support staff as robots have taken over repetitive tasks and they are kept up and running by Fujitsu Robotic Process Automation (RPA) expertise.


“Because the company is growing so fast, we needed to think about our processes in a new way,” explains Kotikatu’s IT Project Manager, Minna Honkanen. “We did not want to increase the size of the support team that administers tasks and processes, but we still wanted to maintain a high level of customer service.”

The answer was to use robots for many repetitive, time-consuming tasks. Kotikatu’s first steps towards RPA were taken when its finance department worked with a small local consultancy but that implementation of automation software UiPath was done in a laptop environment. Kotikatu needed help to make its RPA enterprise ready, setting up the production infrastructure and it wanted to make RPA management more professional.

When new Chief Information Officer, Juha Allonen, joined Kotikatu he saw that it was time to take automation to the next level and had previous contact with Fujitsu. Although tenders were received from some other companies, it was felt that Fujitsu’s RPA expertise and its offering was the best fit for Kotikatu.

Robots take the strain

Fujitsu took the one existing robot and set it up in Azure where Kotikatu already had a subscription. This was in line with the group’s Cloud First and SaaS policy and meant that the robot was closer to the target applications. Working with the smaller consultancy, Fujitsu migrated existing automations into that environment and has since added a second robot.

The robots are connected to Fujitsu’s RPA as a Service orchestrator to provide better visibility for ongoing management, and Kotikatu uses the Frends integration platform to push information into the orchestration platform.

"We have longer processes that run for something like two hours and shorter processes that start when needed and are shut down when not needed,” explains Honkanen. “We use Frends integration to bring the tasks to the robot queues and the robots only start running when there is something in the queue.

"I really love the Fujitsu orchestrator. I can just go to the website and check how my automated processes are running, check if I receive error messages. I can schedule processes easily and see all the assets and credentials in there.”

Automation of ten vital processes

Having set up the environment, Fujitsu continues to ensure that the robots run efficiently while the local consultancy concentrates on processes. Ten processes are now automated. The first was the transfer of meter readings from the managed properties into Kotikatu’s ERP and customer applications. Work on purchase invoices, payroll, customer data, and billing have followed. Also, when residents enter maintenance requests into an external system, the robots bring those requests into Kotikatu’s internal systems. The processes are now being scaled out to more group divisions. 

Kotikatu now has full visibility of its RPA processes and the environment is monitored with continuous support. Also, financial savings have been achieved through cost avoidance since the number of support staff has remained the same even though the company has doubled in size.

"Fujitsu is very professional and I am happy that they support us with the expertise that we don’t have ourselves,” concludes Honkanen. 

Image: The image bank of Kotikatu / Lassi Kaaria

KotikatuKotikatu Oy

Kotikatu is a property maintenance group company. Its services include maintenance of outdoor areas and the cleaning and maintenance of residential and commercial properties. The group also includes Cateva Oy, which provides technical services, civil engineering, HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning), electrical installation, excavation, and landscaping works. The group’s operations cover the whole of Finland.

Challenge Solution Outcomes
  • Finnish property maintenance company, Kotikatu, has doubled in size in the last year.
  • It needed to streamline administrative support to ensure good customer service but did not want to increase the staff headcount. 
  • Two robots were created to take over repetitive, time-consuming tasks
  • Fujitsu was engaged to set up the environment and provide ongoing support
  • The RPA environment is on Microsoft Azure and robots are connected to the Fujitsu RPA as a Service orchestration
  • Staff headcount has remained static despite the business doubling in size
  • Kotikatu has total visibility into its RPA environment
  • Continuous monitoring ensures high system availability 

More Information

Published in the Net Magazine 2021,  2021-05-21

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