Robotic Process Automation
What SAP users should consider before investing in RPA
Author: Ganesh Dalal
Companies across industries are paying attention to Robotics Process Automation (RPA) for its ability to streamline and simplify routine business processes, and at lower cost than other options. Before beginning your RPA journey, every SAP user should prepare using this checklist:
Determine what processes are good candidates for RPAAny process where business users are currently performing repetitive tasks within SAP are great candidates for RPA: The greater the number of users doing the same repetitive task, the greater the return on investment (ROI) for the organization.
The key is to start with the repetitive part of the process: like automating research and reporting of anomalies to determine errors or trends. Later, you can progress to automating the remediation of those errors.
For example, in procurement departments the most common repetitive tasks include: material master creation, accounts payables and general ledger posting within finance accounting. Invoice processing and PO requisitions are also common routine tasks within procurement. In addition, you’ll find many repetitive tasks in inventory management, plus work and purchase order management within supply chain.
These are perfect starting points for RPA.
FACT: RPA will accelerate the completion of tasks and streamline the workflow, all while reducing human errors.
Define the role of knowledge workers in RPA processesWhile the primary motivation for RPA is to automate operations, RPA bots will not replace the roles of important knowledge workers in the majority of processes. Rather, RPA can free workers to spend time on the rational, value-driven relationship parts of the process by giving them the tools that aid in continually defining the manual processes that need to be automated using RPA toolsets. Human expertise is still critical for providing the necessary oversight to the processes supported by RPA technologies and platforms.
FACT: By leveraging RPA, your business can create more opportunities for teams to spend time on higher-value, strategic initiatives. Ultimately, this leads to a more rewarding work environment as employees can focus on more productive and fulfilling work.
Anticipate the pace of change for each process enabled by RPAThe speed of change will vary depending on the organization and their business processes. SAP users will need to begin by assessing the processes that could be automated and identifying the best starting point. Remember getting started is the goal, and in time you’ll continually increase the automation.
Once the processes have been assessed, users need to select the appropriate RPA toolsets. While RPA requires little integration: it can be installed on an employee’s desktop or on a virtual machine and function via the GUI layer, RPA toolsets will need to be tested before finally implementing the bots into a real working environment. This entire process can range from a few weeks to many months depending on the size of the organization as well as the complexity of the business processes.
FACT: RPA processes provides greater flexibility and choice in the automation of business tasks, since it does not require complex programming capabilities.
Ensure you have the right RPA technology stackSimilar to AdTech and MarTech, an RPATech stack of solutions woven together can provide the ability to fully automate and optimize the performance of RPA tasks and processes.
For those running their businesses on SAP, one of the tools you’ll need in your automation journey is a suite of deep integration bots for SAP. Given our Innowera team’s deep expertise with SAP and automation (after all our Innowera solutions are all about simplifying SAP data management), we’ve developed an Innowera suite of RPA tools that combine “bots” with SAP processes to form powerful and deep pre-built, back office automation.
Every industry has their own set of automation needs and we are seeing new innovations in RPA tools being deployed. Businesses are beginning to leverage RPA in areas such as workflow automation, BPM, bots and we’re seeing a host of RPATech to solve different business use cases.
FACT: Leveraging the right technology stack will help drive successful outcomes from your RPA initiatives.
The ultimate goal of RPA is best-in-class operational excellence and delivering a great customer experience. As you begin to invest and build your RPA plan, it’s important to consider the implications of RPA and the workplace: it requires a collaborative work effort between people and technology to ensure that businesses are focusing on automating the right processes. Start small, gain traction and build off your successes.
Stay tuned for more blog posts on other RPA considerations and uses cases.