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Automation; an evolving process for Hurtigruten

Most traditional companies have a core of manual services or products, and to start a digitalization can be a giant leap. One of the undoubtedly most traditional companies in Norway is taking this big step right now. Hurtigruten is developing new processes, including more open-source, and they came to our podcast IT Talks to talk about it. Now they are aiming to automate everything that can be automated.

A cruise line company with hundreds of guests on board and with the trademark to deliver breathtaking nature experiences is – at first sight – far from a digital kind of business. Cruising along "the most beautiful coast in the world", Hurtigruten needs to keep their IT systems up to date, any faults or shortcomings could result in dangerous situations for both guests and staff.

It is all about automation

To maintain a high standard, improve the work environment and develop the offer to the customers, a company needs to evolve. In this case, it is all about automation. And Hurtigruten, one of the most well-known and traditional companies in Norway, is all on board for the digital journey.

– We have had an extensive IT department to support our ships manually. It is a big job, and many processes can be streamlined and made more manageable, says Ida Lilledahl, Product Owner at Hurtigruten.

Getting everything in place

The Redpill Linpro's podcast, IT Talks episode 21, in February 2020, was visited by Ida Lilledahl from Hurtigruten, and Thorstein Buind Nordby, Senior System Consultant, and Daniel Buøy-Vehn, Senior System Consultant from Redpill Linpro. They talked about the process of automation at Hurtigruten.

The first step of a significant automation process is for the consultants from Redpill Linpro to get to know the company's systems, routines, and workflows. They can then plan the project, the work required, and suggest which fields or departments to begin with.

– We focus on our core infrastructures, such as servers and networks. But there are many areas to automate, says Ida Lilledahl.

– In short, everything that can be automated should be automated, Daniel Buøy-Vehn says with a smile. You could say that it is part of our assignment, besides providing advice and expertise.

– Since almost nothing is previously automated it is not easy to be sure how to prioritize. But in the beginning, I think it is all about getting everything in place, learning how to use the systems and how to code them. Small parts can sometimes be very useful to implement early, such as simple scripts and deploys that can be used in several systems, says Ida Lilledahl.

A seamless transition

Significant changes and improvements are often initiated thanks to other processes in a company. This is also the case for Hurtigruten. Modern ships with new technology have given reasons to review the systems the company operates in.

The goal is that passengers and visitors will not notice the automation process at all. When it is all done, it should have been a seamless transition.

– Hopefully, they notice nothing. If a problem occurs, it will be detected and tracked more quickly, and anyone in the team will be able to solve it. Not just the single person who has solved the same problem before. We will know the difference, but the passengers will just notice that everything works as it should, says Daniel Buøy-Vehn.

Hurtigruten - automation in distant waters

Do you want to know more about the automation process at Hurtigruten? Listen to IT Talks and episode #21, Hurtigruten - automation in distant waters. The episode is in Norwegian, and you will find it wherever you get your podcasts or right below:

Written by Kirsti Stien