Seeing the future more clearly

The Finnish Government Shared Services Centre for Finance and HR, Palkeet, wanted to sharpen its view of what was required of it in order to develop skills and services for emerging needs. Together with Talent Vectia, Palkeet now has a clear road map for the future.

Business impact:

  • A  road map for the future that allows for new development and provides findings for service centre’s strategy update
  • The vision for the future sets the foundations for ongoing development of services and for building Palkeet’s own expertise and network

“Palkeet produces customer-oriented and cost-effective financial and personnel management solutions. If we do not develop continually as an organisation, there will be a gap between customer expectations and what we actually deliver. And if that happens, we may not necessarily be able to hold on to our current role in the future”, says Helena Lappalainen, who is the director of development, information and communication technology at Palkeet.

It is also a matter that is significant to the national economy, as every year Palkeet is used to process around 1.2 million purchase invoices, 1.2 million payslips and 0.7 million sales invoices.

Palkeet therefore faces tough challenges that must be met decisively and effectively. Given this situation, the service centre wanted to get a clearer picture of future expectations and opportunities facing it.

Development through discussion

Palkeet chose Talent Vectia to help survey changes in the organisation’s operating environment.

For this purpose, the project team quickly realised that it would be wise to engage in extensive dialogue with the widest possible range of operators. The group decided to invite a number of people to an open discussion, which it was confident would inspire enthusiastic and inventive debate.

The invitations were sent to Palkeet’s customers, partners and even competitors. The goal was for the event to inspire visions of the future for everyone, not just for Palkeet.

“When going to the airport hotel for the event, I was a bit nervous about whether anyone would actually turn up. But once the event got underway, it was wonderful to hear vigorous discussions developing in no time. People left their own roles behind them and talked creatively about things related to the issue as well”, says Lappalainen.

The revolution in work: a closer view

The one-day discussion event resulted in a wide-ranging overview of the transformative forces at play in the operating environment and their significance.
The key question was how changes in working life would affect the whole industry. A number of views emerged as to whether jobs will be handled by robots in the next few years, and in what areas humans will remain superior to machines. There was also much discussion at the event about the skills that employees and organisations will need in the future.

Changes in work are likely to result in changes in employment patterns, as well as in restructuring of organisations. In general, work is becoming increasingly project-oriented and the people doing the work may become entrepreneurs at the same time.

All of this also changes the nature and content of Palkeet’s operations as a provider of financial and payroll services.

However, the steady onward march of robots is an issue that Palkeet has been tackling for a long time already. Robots already handle 60 percent of the pre-processing of 1.2 million invoices in Palkeet. Collaboration between humans and machines is transforming the process itself, how the work is done, and how it is managed.

One area of agreement that emerged from the discussion concerned the kinds of services that will be needed in this new world.

“It was wonderful to see how colleagues were thrilled to find new opportunities through dialogue, which was something they didn’t have time to pursue in their everyday work”, says director Helena Lappalainen, Palkeet.

Progress through discussion

As the prospects related to these issues became clearer thanks to the discussion event, Palkeet set about continuing this work internally. First, a survey was conducted to determine the views of Palkeet’s management team and others who are actively involved in development of the organisation.

Understanding the views of these individuals is especially critical in times of change.

The work was carried on in internal work groups, where a picture of the HR department and the financial management of the future were developed.

“It was wonderful to see how colleagues were thrilled to find new opportunities through dialogue, which was something they didn’t have time to pursue in their everyday work. When discussion is very structured, it creates a lot of added value”, Lappalainen says.

The working groups also talked extensively about what kind of partners the service centre would need in the future.

The road to tomorrow

The first step was to create a vision for the future that allows for new development. The project’s findings have already been used in updating the service centre’s strategy. The vision for the future also sets the foundations for ongoing development of services and for building Palkeet’s own expertise and networks.

Talent Vectia played a key role in building these foundations.

“Inspired by Talent Vectia, we dared to take on a completely new role in convening networks”, Lappalainen adds. “We were also able to challenge each other so as to jointly create a clear vision of the direction we want to go in”.