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‘Enhance SAP with automation’

by Marco van der Hoeven

Organizations running on SAP S/4HANA or SAP ECC can manage a great deal of processes, but there are several challenges. Processes stretch beyond SAP systems; expert work can be expensive and integration with SAP S/4HANA requires specific tasks. Here Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Process Mining can come to the rescue.

“Part of the challenges our customers who also run SAP software experience are similar to other users”, says Tanja Breitling-Zboril, Sr. Manager Partner & Alliance Management at UiPath. “First of all, they want to get rid of the manual and tedious work, and use RPA for data entry, for reports and for information transfer from one application to the other.”

But some challenges are specific to SAP customers. “This has to do  with the requirements of the system. People who live and breathe SAP tend to think that the IT world happens within SAP systems, so processes start and end within SAP. But that is not the case. Most processes start or end outside of an SAP system. Approximately two thirds of the processes in SAP are actually kicked off outside of SAP or even outside of your own enterprise.”


And that is where the friction happens. “There’s a lot of automation already built in SAP. But the main challenge is when a process starts outside of the SAP system and a media gap occurs. A typical sample process would be a sales order. This process could be kicked off by a customer who sends an order, typically via email with an attachment, or via phone.”

“With an email, you could extract information from the document and then enter it in SAP. That is the simple case. In other cases, for example, where you have more complex contracts, a Sales Executive would mark an opportunity in Salesforce.com as closed, which kicks off the sales order process. This used to mean somebody would enter data in SAP from Salesforce. However, with an end-to-end integration with RPA you can now really kick that off immediately and completely automatically from Salesforce.”


In that case a connector from UiPath within Salesforce kicks off the process of the data entry in SAP. “This almost sounds like a one-to-one integration. But it goes further, because the big benefit for our RPA customers is there is no need to integrate one-to-one. You can do several things simultaneously with one robot, like notifying management and sending an email to the customer. So, RPA is more flexible, and it’s faster to implement.”


Another challenge SAP customers are facing is that SAP expert work is expensive. “If you need to hire a developer who knows exactly how to address an integration, that is quite an investment because they are so sought after. With RPA you can reduce the amount of that type of expert work.”

The third area where she sees a lot of questions is help with an  SAP S/4HANA migration. “Most SAP customers are currently looking at this. It is potentially a quite expensive project, where a lot of expert work is needed. Customers and partners are looking for ways to manage that transformation, and automation can help.”

A technology like process mining is something that customers use in the first part of the migration, or before the migration to identify what they really need to do. “And then RPA is extremely helpful when it comes to data preparation. And of course, testing and test automation are crucial after the migration. So, there are many areas in the migration process where customers can benefit from RPA and automation.”

Read more about combining SAP and RPA here

Or visit the webinar Maximize SAP Investments with UiPath Automation and Testing

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