The very first thought that one would get by taking a look at the phrase ‘Robotic Process Automation is that of a mechanical robotic arm with its laser blade precision, planting chips in CPUs within split seconds and pushing each unit for dispatch down the assembly line. This is very much similar to what RPA does, Robotic Process Automation is all about the software that is designed and implemented to function as a robot.
Robotic Process Automation can be phrased as the technology that relieves individuals from performing all those tedious, manual, monotonous, repetitive rule-based tasks, processes, workflows and transactions with its digital counterparts rather than humans. RPA is all about automating repetitive activities to make them faster and less labor-intensive while producing higher quality data. Automating processes with a robot is common across all transactional business processes including finance transaction processing and personnel and customer-related activities.
With no further delay, let us try and understand how this fabulous technology when put to use to work in conjunction with techno giants like SAP. Let us understand all those nitty-gritty details in more depth to appreciate how RPA can accentuate the growth rates of any Organization as such. Let us get started then, shall we?
Robotic Process Automation as discussed in the section earlier is one of the newest and latest trends that is creating the buzz in the industry. A quick win to Robotic Process Automation would be RDA (Robotic Desktop Automation) which is even phrased as attended RPA. This not only allows the industries to unleash the powers of RPA to the fullest but also can create wonders increasing their own potentials.
RDA simplifies and optimizes the works that are taken up by the employees to such an extent that these tasks are automated and integrated with processes on the desktops for them. Employee Productivity is what we achieve by the usage of Robotic Desktop Automation, as Organizations can now deliver deliverables quicker in a much more seamless manner.
There is this other important aspect to Robotic Process Automation which is called the Workforce Intelligence, that uses the techniques of Robotic Automation to quickly understand how each of the sales and services agents works and also at the same time how each of the applications, processes work in conjunction for them.
Putting these details in combination with the insights from CRM Performance data, it makes it very easy for the Organizations to identify the present inefficiencies and also makes it easy to realize how these affect the factors like agent performance, customer experience and etc. directly.
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is the trendiest and the most appealing technology that has been evolving over recent years and along with it, there are some misconceptions about it and also why do the SAP customers should examine the use of RPA carefully.
Nonetheless, the ultimate goal of Robotic automation is to have improved customer experience and at the same time have wonderful operational excellence via increased efficiency, effectiveness, performance, agility and more across the Organization.
When companies like SAP look for opportunities in cost-cutting and also in reducing costs to do businesses, they would typically start with the best offshoring of their existing processes – directly or through consulting firms. This step ensures that the processes and the required staff are placed right in the right direction, and also in the most economically favorable geography. The next step would be that SAP may apply these business process optimization techniques to improve on their efficiency a bit further. Considering this, there are limits to offshoring that an Organization can do and what if the thresholds are crossed?
Here comes the use of Robotic Process Automation where you do not really need to depend on human resources to get your works but robots when provided the necessary details can take over those particular tasks and can perform with the utmost ease. These are some of the most common use cases where SAP is putting to use the RPA (Robotic Process Automation) technologies, as follows:
The area where Robotic Process Automation has been applied in SAP environments (historically) is in and around the areas of Document Imaging. This involves in converting a paper based document into a digital document, working on the text and also on the content of the document via the OCR (Optical Character Recognition) technology. Using the OCR technology in conjunction with the RPA technology SAP has been able to render the information in a system that can be appropriately be routed through the Organization for review and approval. This not just simplifies the process, but gives you more than what you think on this SAP environment just because of RPA.
This is just one application of Robotic Process Automation within the SAP environments for a specific use case, but there are more than just this where Robotic Process Automation can help SAP or for that case, any other Organization with its wonderful usage. But for the time being, considering this article – we will have to limit ourselves to talk about just this use case on how Robotic Process Automation can help SAP do their things in a better way.
Considering the introduction provided in the sections earlier is good enough for someone to get started from this section of the article, here are the best suited Robotic Process Automation tools for SAP that we have come up with:
UIPath is a Windows desktop Robotic Process Automation (RPA) software, generally phrased as a Robotic Desktop Automation tool (RDA). UIPath finds its usage already in some of the SAP-related processes as mentioned below:
SAP automated data entry
SAP screen scraping
Blue Prism Robotic Process Automation software platform explains how the technology can be used by the accredited operational businesses and the team responsible for rapidly develop cost-effective business process automation routines.
Automation Anywhere software is very well used to automate processes end to end and it also has advanced cognitive bots that help learn as they work. This tool also has analytics features that can change how you operate based on needs and requirements.
With the advent of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) technology, it is less clear on how prospective customers choose and make their final decision in evaluating or selecting a RPA vendor that suits their needs and requirements. This section is all about that, to provide practical guidance for the Organization who are willing to make that specific choice.
The most essential evaluation criteria that an Organization should think over are the Product and the Company. Making the best choice amongst the available options is for sure the most important decision to make (as the best vendor might not compensate well on an ill-suited product from their side to the Customer).
The most important principle in evaluating a product is not just to look at the software for its performance on executing repetitive jobs, rule-based processes at a fraction of the manual execution but also be able to be implemented in a rapid and also a smooth integration with the other systems and applications. All of this should be done keeping in mind the Organizational and Technological disruption to a bare minimum (close to zero).
Let us now discuss those essential features based on which an Organization can choose the RPA product that suites their needs and requirements, which are listed as below:
Users of the Organization should be able to create the necessary business processes that ought to be automated in a graphical manner, so as to ensure that it gets integrated seamlessly and thereby allowing the business users to capture the process steps instead of coding them programmatically. The graphical user interface may require to have the following, not mandatory but are good to have the following:
While the business users of an organization may be able to configure the automation of the necessary steps without the use of code as such, but the configuration in itself is based on code. A good robotic process automation product generates this simply out of the business user’s sight, under the hood, if it has to be explained in that manner. For such functionality to work for a developer, it needs to extend the generated code and support multiple complex automation possibilities – and for all of those, it should have these minimum core capabilities:
Once the Robotic Process Automation software is configured for one successful installation, setup, and testing cycle – the product should be able to replicate the same setup on to a range of various other machines to save on the time that we would rather spend in configuring each of them. Such a capability will allow an organization to quickly get on their feet with the Robotic Process Automation software put to use and also allows flexible scalability.
In some of the operational situations and scenarios, business units met process volume requirements by deploying hundreds of robots and then going back to just dozens once the requirements are met. A reputable product should be able to provide such a capability and should be able to track this for its functionalities.
If a Robotic Process Automation software product is to be considered robust, then it should be much more than just a robotic software that runs processes perfectly and provides good amounts of scalability – it should also be able to design and collect the specific workflow metrics for further analysis. These statistics can further be put to use where Machine Learning can pitch in, for an optimized way for better operational performance.
The Robotic Process Automation software product should provide a broad choice of tutorials, webinars, and presentations to go through the best practices and its perfect usage. If a Robotic Process Automation software produce has all the features and capabilities that meet and also to exceed the expectations, then it is the perfect time to look at the last characteristic for a good product.
This can become an essential checkpoint for an Organization to appoint two individuals (one user from the business functionalities side and another technical guy) from the evaluation group of the Organization to do the evaluation process. Based on the outcome of this evaluation process, your Organization should be able to take a weighted decision (if one matches and the other doesn’t and scenarios as like this).
Considering the above points, there should at least be 3 references so that the whole product lifecycle be well represented by the Organization:
Having this broad range of resources with the relevant product experience (inclusive of both business and technical perspectives), this will go a long way in creating the level of comfort that is required to make the software purchase.
Though most of the details are already covered in the previous sections in detail, let us jot down the most important advantages that an individual can observe by putting Robotic Process Automation to use in SAP. The list below shows the most important observations or advantages after putting RPA to use in their SAP processes:
1. Increased Productivity and Effectiveness:
This not only improved the time effectiveness but also improved in great detail on the SLAs and the commitment to the internal and external customers for the Business Process executions within and outside of SAP.
2. Improve Accuracy and Effectiveness:
This has reduced the rates of error occurrences for the Business Processes executions, and thereby increased the accuracy in the business outcomes as well.
3. Improve Speed and Efficiency:
This has improved in great detail on the timelines of task, activity deliveries and also ensured processes completion within the time for SAP.
4. Availability and Efficiency:
Since the processes are automated already with the use of RPA technology, the availability of robots is the biggest boon as the manual resources can now be put to better tasks than doing the same old monotonous and repetitive tasks for their stipulated 8 hours a day.
5. Business Agility:
A change in the business scenario requires a specific scenario to be changed accordingly and also certain training is required to fine-tune the robots for the change that was required by the Business. Aging doesn’t affect robots, do they?
6. Reduced Cost:
The factors that we have discussed until now provides SAP with a better outcome, which is the reduced costs of operations altogether for SAP.
If you have any queries about SAP Automation with RPA, you can ask in our SAP Community
In this article, we have initially understood what Robotic Process Automation means and then we have taken a step further in understanding how Robotic Process Automation helps SAP in automating their processes with its usage. There were many aspects that could be put to use in different other Organizations as well, to reap the benefits of Robotic Process Automation just as SAP has done it for themselves.
I hope this article has provided all the information that you were looking for and it would be much appreciated if you can provide your feedback on this article through your comments via the comments section, on the bottom. Kindly help us help you in providing the best of the articles on the latest technologies.
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Ravindra Savaram is a Content Lead at Mindmajix.com. His passion lies in writing articles on the most popular IT platforms including Machine learning, DevOps, Data Science, Artificial Intelligence, RPA, Deep Learning, and so on. You can stay up to date on all these technologies by following him on LinkedIn and Twitter.
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