One of the earliest innovations that computers were able to deliver was to automate processes that were tedious and time-consuming. As the complexity of these processes increases, the ability of the system to automatically respond to events decreases. More complex tasks usually have more variables to consider and more possible outcomes to choose from. If a company is looking to free up human resources by automating some of their SAP processes, investing in robotic process automation (RPA) might be a viable solution. The catch here is that the methods that RPA is suitable for falls under a strict schedule. It works best for mundane, repeatable tasks that consume a lot of time, but has only minimal inputs. RPA implementation may be costly as well, so the functions must have a sufficient amount of transactions to justify the cost of setup. We’ll discuss a few ways RPA can be introduced into a business environment running SAP.
Monitoring of System Interfaces
SAP environments in a business may be connected to both SAP and non-SAP systems, using several different interfaces. To monitor the performance of these interfaces personnel need to check to ensure that transactions are completed successfully. Without constant monitoring of these processes, a business might be completely oblivious to their interfaces failing until well after the system has gone down. Most companies don’t invest personnel into checking to make sure that the system remains up because of the dependability of the SAP system as a whole. An RPA system that automatically monitors the environment interfaces by keeping track of the transaction completion details would be beneficial for any company that has multiple linked systems like this.
Monitoring Approval Workflows
Approvals form the basis of the workflow system in SAP. Approvals happen often, and there are usually multiple approvals of different sorts happening each day. Having a workflow failure because a particular approval process either didn’t complete or possibly gave the wrong result back to the requesting node could lead to workflow interruptions that might take a long time to sort out. Currently, the industry standard for determining where problems exist within the workflow is to go through each step of the process and see where the error pops up. While coding changes may be necessary, most of the time it’s a problem with the configuration of administrative access to a particular record. An RPA tool can be utilized to deal with almost all of these problems in workflow by monitoring each step of the process preemptively. As soon as a failure is detected, it will attempt the most common fixes and, failing that, alert a human to the problem that arose and where it happened. It would also limit the use of workflow consultants, and bring them in only if the system needs new code to be added to it.
Evaluating Business Suppliers
Supplier performance can be a significant factor in company profitability. Many factors affect the suppliers’ performance ranging from the price of their goods, the efficiency of their delivery service, the quality of their assets, and the accuracy of their invoicing. While it’s possible to have personnel consult SAP Quality Management and make their decisions based on the reports there, it’s easier (and far more efficient) to use an RPA system to do real-time monitoring of suppliers. Implementing an RPA can catch problems before they interrupt the delicate supply-chain dynamics that have already been established. It can also allow the company to have a metric that can be applied to new suppliers to ensure that the business gets value for its money.
Keeping Data Consistent on the System
SAP is a multifaceted approach to business information systems, but because of its wide range of tasks, there is a tendency for data to become inconsistent across multiple nodes. If data inconsistency happens, it can lead to transactions bugging out, not starting, or giving incorrect results. These are all signs that the system needs to be investigated which entails the running of many reports which hen have to be exported into an Excel data sheet and compared against one another to determine where the error exists. By instituting an RPA program, a company can save time and effort by having data monitored as soon as a transaction takes place. Any records that aren’t updated to match the current figure can be updated by the RPA keeping the data consistent across all entities.
Following Up on Purchase Orders
There are several scenarios where a company may need to liaise with a client to follow up about a purchase order. Purchase order follow-ups might encompass a series of checks to ensure the status of the shipment, its location, the estimated time of arrival, the acknowledgment by the client and a handful of other situations. A single report can’t cover all of these issues, so a human operator is usually needed to follow up on the progress of an order and how far it’s made it to its destination. The repetitive nature of the job means that human operators only follow up on the orders that need to be chased down. An RPA could potentially generate reports for each shipment daily. This allows a business to put more faith in its shipping system and worry less about the arrival of goods to purchasers.