The Danish Ministry of Defence: Streamlining Operations
The Robotics Operational Center of the Danish Ministry of Defence is charged with the implementation and maintenance of RPA in the organization, spanning the activities of the Danish Defence. We had a chat to learn how they have succeeded with Optomo.
December 18, 2023
5 min read
• Manual monitoring was cumbersome and error-prone.
• Fragmented operational visibility led to inefficiencies.
• Scheduling conflicts and errors frequently disrupted processes.
• Achieved a comprehensive operational overview with enhanced efficiency.
• Significant reduction in manual monitoring due to automated processes.
• Smooth and error-resilient scheduling of processes
Optomo at the Danish Ministry of Defence
In line with the Ministry’s push towards digitalization — and by extension, that of the broader Danish public sector — a dedicated RPA team was established to spearhead the RPA initiative. The team's mandate was to automate a variety of activities and streamline internal workflows.
Initially, the native scheduler from their RPA vendor was utilized. However, as the number of deployed robots grew, maintaining operational oversight became increasingly challenging. Errors in processes would cascade, preventing new schedules from launching and causing considerable frustration.
“We were using the native scheduler (…) and we reached a tipping point, where a new approach was necessary.” – Brian Andersen, Infrastructure Architect
A hassle-free installation and onboarding
As a public organization, the Ministry had several concerns in its vendor selection process for an orchestration tool to solve its operational problems, including strict demands to security and infrastructure. One such concern, was that the operational center wanted a non-invasive architecture, to prevent additional workload on their developers.
“We had previously been surveying the market, and our first criteria was that we wouldn’t have to make changes to our robots to use the orchestration tool” – Brian Andersen, Infrastructure Architect
When installing Optomo, no changes were necessary to neither the Ministry’s robots nor its IT infrastructure. Optomo was configured on the pre-existing infrastructure used for the RPA operation, from where it could interact with the RPA servers through the interfaces provided by the RPA vendor – without putting a heavy strain on the different databases.
“There is nothing invasive in Optomo’s way of controlling things. It’s just an engine put on top, making things smarter (…) It was easy to get started and more intuitive to set up the schedules compared to other tools” – Brian Andersen, Infrastructure Architect
With the Optomo team’s assistance, installation was completed within hours, and within a day, all schedules were transitioned to Optomo.
Less manual intervention, more stress-free vacation
Pre-Optomo, the operation was plagued by manual interventions. Especially during peak periods, Optomo’s dynamic resource allocation and prioritization capabilities have proven invaluable.
“We have spike periods where we run on everything we’ve got and that’s where Optomo really makes the difference, because it can dynamically allocate resources, and a schedule can take over another schedule with a lower priority (…) this makes us able to handle our spikes faster” – Lars Mortensen, Robot Manager
The goal was a maintenance-free solution that could autonomously manage operations, which Optomo fulfilled.
“Now I can go home from work and log on again the next morning and have everything still running (…) if one thing goes wrong, the whole thing no longer grinds to a halt” – Lars Mortensen, Robot Manager
Optomo provides comprehensive oversight, enabling swift error resolution and reducing manual intervention significantly.
“We know what happens, we know why it happens, and how Optomo takes over and handles it. Restarting schedules, restarting stalling machines, things like that. We have full transparency in our operation now. We don’t monitor it all the time, because Optomo is doing its job” – Brian Andersen, Infrastructure Architect
All in all, the essence of Optomo extends beyond cost-cutting; it simplifies the work lives of the operation's stakeholders, particularly the operators.
“I realized that this summer, I was on vacation for 3 weeks without bringing my work PC with me. That’s actually the first time, I have done that (…) I’d say it’s 50% of the time I used to spend I’ve saved, because now I can do other things than just monitoring and running robots” – Lars Mortensen, Robot Manager
Collaborative development from day one
Optomo embraces customer co-development, with the Ministry’s RPA team playing a crucial role in the incorporation of specific features tailored to its requirements.
“From day one, we have been able to make suggestions on things we thought could be improved” – Brian Andersen, Infrastructure Architect
Through regular check-in meetings and surveys throughout the year, feedback is collected from the Ministry and the progress on its requests accounted for. This comes in addition to more focused design sessions, where more specific areas of potential product features can be discussed.
“It’s great being able to influence the development of the tool, being listened to, and included as part of the conversation of where the product is heading” – Brian Andersen, Infrastructure Architect
Optomo and the future
For the RPA team, reverting to the old scheduling methods is inconceivable, as it would necessitate additional resources and licenses — now more effectively leveraged with Optomo.
“I have tried going back once (…) and I found out that that was never going to happen. At least not with me as Robot Manager (…) I actually don’t think it’s possible now because then we would need more resources and licenses than what we use now” – Lars Mortensen, Robot Manager
Ultimately, with influence on the roadmap and the improvements to orchestration and insights, Optomo is deemed indispensable by the RPA team in the ongoing expansion and operational upkeep.