Live-blog: Future of computer based knowledge work 11.5.2017, Scandic Park Helsinki

Follow live also on Twitter and Instagram #tietotyö17

Event hosts: Digital Workforce and Talouselämä
Visit the event page here.


8.55 Guests are arriving to Scandic Park Helsinki. Breakfast is served.

9.05 Emilia Kullas, Talouselämä: Opening remarks.

9.08 Heikki Länsisyrjä, cofounder Digital Workforce: Welcome to the event!


9.15 Emilia Kullas: Introducing Dr Jacques Bughin, Senior Partner at McKinsey and Director at McKinsey Global Institute.

9.15 Keynote by Dr Jacques Bughin: 

”We are now entering the second machine age. What does it mean? Its a lot to do with robotics and AI.”

“The economics of the second machine age are different from before.”

“AI is spreading over all verticals and we see more and more startups disrupting industries with it.”

”The move towards AI also shows in investment that has grown by nearly 50% since 2013.”

”So what are the different AI technologies?”

  • Autonomous vehicles
  • Machine learning
  • Language tools
  • Computer vision
  • Virtual agent
  • Robotics

”Companies are facing 3 questions:”

  • Is this real (at this time)/ Should we take AI and robotics seriously with a sense of urgency?
  • Microeconomics – Does it matter for the way we compete?
  • Macroeconomics – Does it lead to self-inflicted future? (“automation killing jobs and wage, depleting demand”)

”To answer question #1: Yes it is real.”

”The AI & robotics industry has developed immensely: A simple GPU can now offer a 5-10x improvement in training time for a neural network compared to a conventional CPU architecture, algorithms have improved, we have gained experience from succesfull applications and research, and the popularity of deep learning is attracting more talent.”

”#2 Tapping into the competitive edge of AI…What are the domains promising value?:”

  • Business models enabled by data
  • Hyper scale real-time matching
  • Radical personalization
  • Disruptive data integration
  • Data-driven discovery
  • Enhanced dicission making

” AI current play is mostly a digital native game but the potential is much larger than this. We are still in the beginning”

”Case Netflix: 2011: Development of full deep learning algorithm based recommendations. Making people choose all the time in the interval is the Netflix challenge met- the combined effect of personalization and recommendations save Netflix more than $1 billion a year, or ROI of more than 300%!”

”Case Amazon: Since 2015 Amazon uses 30,000 Kiva robots across 13 warehouses to make inventory management more efficient. Traditional Impact “click to ship” cycle done in 60-75 minutes by employees versus by robots in 15 minutes; Each Kiva-equipped warehouse can hold 50% more inventory per square foot than centers without robots, with operating costs have been sliced by 20%. Savings USD 22 million – per warehouse or ROI of about 50%.”

”We need to understand that technology is not a business model: AI requires digital maturity and an offensive strategy mindset!”

“Odds are in favour of digital natives.”

”#3 Do we have the right perspective? The content of work has changed but new jobs continue to be created.”

“What are the new jobs, whats going to be exciting? The market has proved flexibility before. We just need to put our focus on responding to the change.”

”What is a job? A job is first of all not monolithic, but a bundle of tasks; hence we need to see how AI capabilities can match task productivity in the first place. Fewer than 10% of occupations will be fully automated – and the impact will be rather sector specific.”

”What do the future developments look like?”

  • Feeding the supply side of AI – building and maintaining robots
  • Maximizing Roi of AI – Big data analysts, IT architecture development, etc.
  • Transitioning the future – Building the new set of legal rules for interacting with msart machines
  • Building the new infrastructure – Wireless, IoT, 5G, etc.
  • New jobs – Cybersecurity, micro-grid, conversion, digital blockchain tech, self-built 3D tools (up to home and cars) senior living, new digital molecular agriculture, space tourism, etc.

“What matters is creativity.”

”AI will improve service productivity, quality of health care, and enable re-shoring of manufacturing.”

”Last remarks for the audience:”

  • Don’t resist, adopt and unleash!
  • Embrace the opportunity – while there are risks to consider, the potential gains are far greater!
  • Think in terms of developing new systems that allow participation!
  • AI is likely the largest boost for productivity we will have in near future!


What has impressed you most?

“The challenge of robotics. How software and engineering are combined – mechanics and AI together. The abilities of the new technologies are absolutely fascinating.”

How do you see the income tax affect to countries such as Finland?

“Its necessary to make sure we create value to the country. The infrastructure and public involvement needs to be in place.”


10.10 Emilia Kullas: Introducing Lindsay Harrison, Head of RPA, Shop Direct & Alex Bentley, Director of Corporate Development, Blue Prism

10.10 Bentley: “Shop Direct is UK’s 2nd largest online retailer after Amazon. Lindsey has been with the company since 2006 and has had a big role in introducing RPA in the company.”

Bentley: “How did your Blue Prism journey start?”

Harrison: “Shop Direct management asked her to start investigating robotics in 2007. We found that BluePrism was the only one able to do what they promised with RPA.”

“When we started we did know what to do with the tech. We started with 3 straight forward processes as a proof of concept. Moving to the next level though required more rethinking.”

“At the moment we have 50 robots and we a still planning to increase the capacity.”

“Our metric has always been hours back to the business. Last year we brought 280000 hours back to the business with RPA.”

Bentley: “What were the main challenges that you faced in the early days, and how did you overcome these?”

Harrison: “Our mistake was to not involve IT from the start and we experienced a push back from this function as a result. By now we have gained everyones trust and support. Communication is important.”

Bentley: “RPA & the Digital Workforce provides a completely new way of working. How was it perceived by staff at the start of your journey, and has this changed over time?”

Harrison: “RPA helps us release time and skill on value adding tasks and customer service. Our employees are more committed and happy with their jobs. We have also been able to realise some customer projects that have made our customers more happy.”

Bentley: “How much work are your robots doing at Shop Direct? What level of productivity do they achieve?”

Harrison: “RPA is often thought of as a cost reduction tool. But it also helps create revenue. We can offer new services – for example increase our customer’s credit limit that brings massive additional income for the company.”

Bentley: “How do you develop the next generation of talent at Shop Direct?”

Harrison: “One of the things I’m looking to do at the moment is setting up an RPA internship. This technology is here to stay so we want to make sure we have enough fresh talent skilled in it.”


How many processes have you automated?

“Over 120 (some 24/7).”

After this long journey, is there still more potential?

“It took us a while to start seeing the processes that fit automation but we can now recognise the huge potential. There is massive potential in functions such as fulfilment, warehousing, HR and finance.”

10.40 Coffee break


10.05 Panel discussion: ”Who owns software robotics in the organization and what are the set targets?”


Lauri Peltola, Senior Manager, Process Development & RPA, OP
Petteri Hannula, Head of Aditro Enterprise Finland, Aditro
Pasi Mauno, Deputy Managing Director, Lähitapiola


Heikki Länsisyrjä, one of the founders of Digital Workforce

“Hundreds of digital workers are increasing the efficiency of processes in Finland liberating simultaneously humans to more productive tasks across all industries and functions.”

Heikki Länsisyrjä: What are your success measures?

Pasi Mauno, LähiTapiola: “Its important that the tech supports our strategy. The goals are not separately set for RPA at the moment, but its evaluated as part of the strategy.”

Lauri Peltola, OP: “Development speed.”

Petteri Hannula, Aditro: “Moving employees from routines to more value adding tasks.”

Heikki Länsisyrjä: “How do you see the future and the set up of teams?”

Pasi Mauno, LähiTapiola: “The manager’s role will be more about evolving the workforce – training and taking care of people.”

Heikki Länsisyrjä: “Do you think the current technologies can disrupt the space and be base for competitive advantage?”

Lauri Peltola, OP: “We can offer new products/ services for our clients with the help of RPA.”

Petteri Hannula, Aditro: “Eliminating mistakes and offering efficiently better quality is a big competitive advantage.”

Heikki Länsisyrjä: “Have you thought about other benefits than cost cutting?”

Pasi Mauno, LähiTapiola: “It all starts from the customer. We want to serve them better than before (quality & speed) – better than our competitors.”

Petteri Hannula, Aditro: “We see our employees have more complex jobs as a result of automation and they are also more full-filling.”

Heikki Länsisyrjä: “What are the challenges?”

Petteri Hannula, Aditro: “We are trying to increase our internal capacity so we can act quickly when we recognise an opportunity.”

Lauri Peltola, OP: “We want to have robotics as part of process re-engineering this means starting to understand robotics on a strategic level. Its a learning curve.”

Pasi Mauno, LähiTapiola: “Communication across the organisation is important otherwise you will face resistance.”


11.40 Round table discussions:

”AI and Software Robots to Create Advantage”

Guests and hosts discuss the following:

  • How do you take advantage of digital workforce and software robots in new business creation?
  • Can we turn routine work and slow information systems into competitive edge?
  • With robots, can you achieve market leadership?
  • And can you achievce this less than in six months?


12.05 Emilia Kullas, Talouselämä: Concluding remarks.

12.08 Lunch is served.

Thank you!