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Coronavirus application processing robot

The Business Oulu business services unit commissioned a software robot to speed up the processing of coronavirus benefit applications for private entrepreneurs. The robot automatically distributes the applications between the case officers, speeding up the process workflow.

Depending on the day, the city registry received from several to dozens of applications for the benefit, all of which the robot process distributed to case officers in a matter of a few minutes without errors. “The savings in working hours we were able to achieve while retaining reliability are significant, and allow us to focus our resources on the actual assessment of the applications, necessarily a human process. For the entrepreneurs in need of assistance, it’s important we process their applications as quickly as possible”, says Business Oulu Service Manager Mari Rautiainen. The robot was designed and deployed on an accelerated schedule. “A month ago we were had our first design meeting, and already the robot is hard at work. It’s great we at the city can carry out agile projects like this when we need to.”

The project was carried out in conjunction with Oulun Digi and Q-Factory. Oulun Digi was responsible for project coordination and the technical environment, Q-Factory for developing the robot itself. “It takes good teamwork to carry a project through. We had an easy time of it with the able personnel at Q-Factory. They were capable of quickly reacting to a variety of needs”, says Rautiainen.

Self-employed entrepreneurs without employees whose economic circumstances and revenues have significantly declined due to the coronavirus epidemic starting from the 16th of March, 2020 were eligible for a 2000 € benefit from their municipality of domicile to support them through the coronavirus-induced disruption in business. For Oulu, the benefit applications were processed by Business Oulu business services. The applications were open until 30 September 2020.

By the 4th of June, 2020, 1,185 applications had been received. Of these 1,175 were distributed for processing and 1,090 decisions made.

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City as a platform