“We’ll have him!”
TEXT: Karin Aase FOTO: Cornella Jönsson

“We’ll have him!”

July 14, 2022

Bertil from Alligo’s finance department gets to do the boring tasks. He works around the clock. Without pay.

It would be a clear violation of the labor laws, if it weren’t for the fact that Bertil is a robot.

“He is our digital colleague. Without him, we would not be able to maintain the same level of service to the organization,” says Karin Wiklund, Finance Manager at Alligo.

But let’s take it from the beginning. In the finance department, it is important to always get it right. The right number in the right column at the right time determines whether employees get the right salaries or whether the company pays the right invoices. At the same time, not many people find it exciting to do repetitive, monotonous work tasks.

“If we want to use our human employees for things that are challenging, developing and fun, then we must be willing to use the technical possibilities that exist,” says Karin Wiklund.

She is extremely interested in new technology, and for this reason she has always worked closely with the IT department.

“New technology is what moves us forward. When we have good systems to help us with the monotonous, routine work, we can then spend time on things that help develop ourselves and the company.”

In the summer of 2021, Bertil the robot was therefore welcomed to the finance department.

“When we were entrusted to provide services to TOOLS Finland, we learned that there was already a robot in the business. As soon as I found out, I thought ‘we’ll have him!’.”

This puts Alligo in a growing group of companies. According to the IT company CGI, robotization – which is using robots not only in industry but also in white-collar professions – is a trend that has been around for a while. But many companies are still at the starting blocks. Often people hesitate because they don’t know which processes they can automate.

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“90% of the world’s managers say that there is some form of intelligent automaton in their organizations.”

Source: IBM, ‘The evolution of process automation’

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At the same time, the Swedish Agency for Work Environment Expertise believes that tomorrow’s digital work environment will be largely characterized by AI and robotics, and that it is important to learn more about this phenomenon in order to use the technology’s full potential.

At Alligo, this is now being done with Bertil’s help, but he is not a tin man who goes around picking papers from desks. Instead, he is what is known as an RPA robot, a piece of software programmed to do a certain task. In Alligo’s finance department, that task is adding new suppliers into the business system.

“When an order comes in, Bertil checks in the databases and regulatory framework to ensure that it is correct, and then he does the registration himself. You can sit on the side and watch it happen on the screen if you want, but everything happens automatically without any human involvement needed,” says Stefan Filipsson, head of Information Systems.

For the finance department, this has been vital.

“There are clear differences between how Swedol and TOOLS work with new suppliers, where the number is significantly greater within TOOLS. Without Bertil, we wouldn’t have managed this large flow, and besides, it’s not a particularly rewarding job,” says Karin Wiklund.

“The right colleague must be in the right place, and it is exciting to think that it can be a mix of physical and digital colleagues.”
– Karin Wiklund, Finance Manager for Alligo in Sweden

But Bertil doesn’t complain. He just keeps working, around the clock if needed. So far only with the suppliers, but the idea is to try to use him for more processes within Alligo in the future. Maybe another department dares to employ a digital colleague? Regardless, Bertil will learn more tasks at the finance department.

“Not all tasks suit Bertil. It must be a task that is extremely clear, because as soon as it involves making assessments and deciding on different trade-offs, there is potential for trouble,” Stefan Filipsson points out.

Perhaps that is precisely why Bertil is already so appreciated.

“He complements us humans,” says Karin Wiklund. “The right colleague must be in the right place, and it is exciting to think that it can be a mix of physical and digital colleagues.”

Karin Wiklund:
“If we want to use our human employees for things that are challenging, developing and fun, then we must be willing to use the technical possibilities that exist,” says Karin Wiklund, CFO at Alligo.

Press release