SAP Intelligent Robotic Process Automation – High Level Overview
Today’s post is on topic SAP Intelligent Robotic Process Automation (IRPA).
Nowadays the main subject discussed among business decision makers is how to improve efficiency and get the most from company resources. The intelligent era is already here and only business that adapt will success.
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) accelerates the digital transformation of business processes by automatically replicating tedious actions that have no added value. SAP Intelligent Robotic Process Automation is a complete automation suite where software robots are designed to mimic humans by replacing manual clicks, interpreting text-heavy communications, or making process suggestions to end users for definable and repeatable business processes
First of all, it is needed to have a view of Robotic Process Automation (RPA), which refers to software that can be easily programmed to do basic tasks across multiple applications, just as human workers do. It gives any work process that is definable, repeatable and rules-based the ability to map out a business process and assign a software robot (bot) to manage the execution of that process by emulating a human user. For example, the robot can be built to click through a workflow with multiple steps and applications, such as filing a form or updating a spreadsheet.
RPA software is designed to reduce the burden of repetitive, simple tasks on employees. Its flexible automation capabilities provide business agility, efficiency, and frees resources for higher value activities. RPA technology is not designed to be a business application, but designed to be a proxy for a human worker to operate business applications.
SAP has invested into creating Intelligent Robotic Process Automation (IRPA) – the combination of RPA, machine learning, and conversational AI into one end-to-end automation stack, tightly integrated with the SAP landscape. With IRPA, businesses will be able to achieve the high automation level necessary to become intelligent enterprises.
Within IRPA, machine learning acts as the brain that is managing exceptions and guides the RPA bot to execute on desired processes. Machine learning also enables the bot to interact with systems and make decisions as you would expect a person to do. Chatbots serve as a natural and intuitive interface to the human workforce.
Stability and durability are fundamental for sustainable gains with automation. IRPA integrates natively with SAP systems, rather than at a superficial UI layer. This will bring a level of stability to SAP IRPA not seen with traditional RPA solutions.
SAP is in the right position to deliver the IRPA, because of its high integration potential, the best knowledge about its own user interfaces, ML-based bot robustness, and SAP S/4 HANA that provides the backbone infrastructure for the data-driven enterprise.
Overview of Tools
Let us take a closer look at what is “under the hood” of the term Intelligent Robotic Process Automation – what are the tools involved, what is their purpose and where are they running.
Intelligent Robotic Process Automation (IRPA) provides a suite of tools divided into three main areas –
- Desktop Studio,
- Desktop Agent
- Process Automation Factory.
In the following we will outline what each tool is focusing on.
The Desktop Studio is an IDE (Integrated Development Environment) and is installed locally on-premise on a Desktop (PC/Laptop). It is used for developing Process Automation scenarios which can later be executed again and again by the Desktop Agent.
Like other IDE’s the Desktop Studio provides an environment which enables you to develop and assemble the bits and pieces needed in a Process Automation scenario, such as:
- how to work with applications
- define automation workflow
- design UI’s for input to be used during the automated workflow
- enable developer to test and debug a scenario before releasing it into productive use
- prepare project packages for import into Project Automation Factory
The Desktop Agent is installed locally on-premise on either a Desktop (PC/Laptop) or Server. When instructed to do so, it will either attended or unattended execute an automation scenario.
Process Automation Factory
The Process Automation Factory is running in a SAP Cloud Platform tenant. All you need to do is on the SAP Cloud Platform to set up a Cloud Foundry sub account, add quotas to it and subscribe to the SAP Intelligent Robotic Process Automation application. It is the main entry-point for managing the automated processes, offering features such as:
- bot management
- environment management
- project management
- job scheduling and monitoring
- activity metrics and job status
For details on prerequisites, how to install the Desktop Studio and Agent as well set up a Cloud Foundry Sub-Account please check the installation guide
– The main entry point for Intelligent Robotic Process Automation help pages is here.
Take a look to the following videos:
- RPA Demystified: Provides an overview of Robotic Process Automation in a simple way
- RPA Use Cases: Provides common use cases for Robotic Process Automation
Getting Started with SAP Intelligent Robotic Process Automation Factory – Getting Started
Key Features of SAP Intelligent Robotic Process Automation – Feature Scope Description
SAP Intelligent Robotic Process Automation Security Guide – Security Guide
SAP Intelligent Robotic Process Automation Installation Guide – Installation And Upgrade
SAP Intelligent Robotic Process Automation Desktop Studio User Guide – End User Information
First products are planned to be available in 2019, starting with a robot infrastructure for SAP S/4 HANA followed by intelligent robotics for the wider SAP portfolio, so stay tuned!
Attention: A new (and free) openSAP course “SAP Intelligent Robotic Process Automation in a Nutshell” is scheduled for delivery starting September 17th and ending October 16th 2019. You may enroll via this link https://open.sap.com/courses/rpa1.
This course will give an introduction to RPA as an industry standard, introduce the SAP solution with its individual cloud and on-premise components, show an example of an automated scenario with SAP Intelligent RPA, and explain the business value of the solution as well as key differentiators.