Nidaros and Specialisterren train RPA consultants together

Specialisterren and Nidaros have joined forces in the field of Robotic Process Automation (RPA). Nidaros founder Gerben Dolsma, Specialisterren RPA services manager Ernst Kolvenbag and Specialisterren Account manager Ben Miltenburg tell more about this collaboration and what RPA is all about in the interview belo

What is Nidaros and how did it come about?

Gerben: “Nidaros is specialised in Robotic Process Automation. This arose from my interest in robotisation and the need to make processes clear. Previously we were active in several IT areas, but in 2018 we decided that we would focus exclusively on RPA. Both on construction, implementation and maintenance.”

What is RPA and why do you think it is important for the future?

Gerben: “RPA is not about building new IT structures, but about making existing IT structures smarter. By applying robotisation, a company is able to introduce complete new functionalities and processes in a short cycle of up to one month. That is the power of robotisation: nothing new is built, but existing technologies are used. In this way, a company needs to think less about automation and more about processes and how to make them efficient. In this way, a company can focus more on the customer and on delivering products and services in an optimal way. We hope to increase job satisfaction by making processes more efficient with robots. Robotisation ensures better data quality and fewer administrative tasks for colleagues. Robots do not take over work, but provide more time and attention to the customer.”

What makes Nidaros different from other RPA parties?

Gerben: “We have a lot of experience. In addition, we do not think in terms of one-sided processes, but in terms of industrial robotisation. This means that we are able to deliver a system to our customers that can scale from 1 to as many as 50 robots that can support the work. In order to do this, we have created our own RPA product called Intelligent Workload Manager or the Spider. This Spider is programmed in such a way that it can decide for itself how to divide the work. We program this based on the information we receive from the customer. This way the Spider can function independently and does not need guidance from a person to do the job. It is therefore a combination of human input and control and the efficiency of a robot.”

What kind of collaboration are you setting up with Specialisterren?

Gerben: “Apart from supplying the software, we also offer the construction of the robots and a business support department. This department actively monitors the robots. Where the customer normally has to appoint an internal operator to keep an eye on the robots, we take over this responsibility with our support department. Because we are growing rapidly, we also need more development capacity. Because Specialisterren fits in with our working methods and they understand what is needed for industrial robotisation, we are training consultants from Specialisterren to build, scale up and maintain our robots.”

How did you come across Specialisterren and why did you choose Specialisterren?

Gerben: “We came into contact with Specialisterren through ArboUnie – a joint client. They realised that Specialisterren’s approach to test automation was very similar to ours. So all the parties saw a great opportunity to work together. We also share the same way of working and the same way of thinking in how we supervise our teams. For example, we at Nidaros believe that we have a social responsibility. We also give lessons to students at intermediate and higher vocational schools about robotisation to prepare them for the future.

What do you hope to gain from the collaboration with Specialisterren?

Gerben: “A growth in joint customers through successful RPA projects and sufficient capacity to realise this growth. We can learn a lot from each other in this process. Furthermore, we are both smaller, nimble companies. We therefore hope to be able to work flexibly and decisively for our clients with Specialisterren.”

What is your expectation of working with people with autism?

Gerben: “We have worked with people with autism in the past. So we already have some experience. We’ve already noticed that it can be difficult to place someone in a team just like that, but that, on the other hand, if you make sure you empower that person individually, a lot of good things can come out of it. For example, in the small class we now have with Specialisterren we’ve already noticed that there’s a high level of responsibility. When a robot is built, the people in the class want to do it well and deliver it well. During the development process, the class also provides honest and clear feedback, which benefits the quality of the robot.”

What role does Specialisterren play in this collaboration?

Ernst: “The deployment of RPA goes through a number of phases. Specialisterren provides its services from the moment that robots are built. We also use our expertise from testing. This means that we can take care of Development, Testing, User Acceptance, Support & Maintenance and Management. We therefore go further than many other RPA providers, and focus on quality and continuity. Robots (or as we call them ‘digital employees’) that can be deployed sustainably and can move with the dynamics of a customer, also need management & maintenance.”

Why did Specialisterren start working with RPA?

Ben: “RPA is an opportunity for us to develop and grow as a company. By expanding our portfolio of services, we can carry out more assignments and therefore grow in our mission to help as many people with autism as possible find a job. In addition, RPA is very close to what we are good at: test automation. This makes it a logical direction to develop in. The cooperation with Nidaros offers a great opportunity to learn about RPA and apply it in practice.”

Can you tell us more about how we set up the class and how we do the coaching in the learning process?

Ben: “We looked together with Nidaros at what we need to deliver. Then we put together a suitable class. We’re now working with those people to make the Nidaros software our own. This is being supervised by a Testlead from Specialisterren, who will also be in charge of supervision once we start working with customers.”

In what way do you think Specialisterren adds value for Nidaros?

Ben: “In the first instance, we have a lot in common in terms of how we are positioned in society. By making our consultants skilled in building and maintaining the Spider, we make more capacity possible. In addition, our consultants are ideally suited to this work and we can deliver quality and consistency. The support from Specialisterren will continue. That’s how we’re trying to unburden Nidaros as much as possible.”

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