Want to explore automation options in SAP S/4HANA? SAP Intelligent Robotic Process Automation (iRPA) is an innovative tool that can help you quickly automate business process in a user-friendly approach.
As we keep supporting more and more customers in the SAP S/4HANA Regional Implementation Group (RIG), one of the common questions customers ask is how to automate processes in SAP S/4HANA.
This question has multiple answers as there are many automation techniques available, not only in the SAP S/4HANA system itself, but also through tools offered by different vendors.
However, when we talk about automation, the usual thought around these approaches is that when we finish defining the automation approach, processes and tools, users might end-up working in a way they might not be used to or which makes it rather complex for end-users to run the new process, hence lowering the excitement around providing automation options.
To overcome this situation, SAP is now offering an alternative to classic automations by leveraging robots in SAP iRPA.
But what is SAP iRPA?
Intelligent robotic process automation (iRPA) is a tool that allows you to automate repetitive and time-consuming tasks via interactions with a robot.
A robot is a piece of software that you install on your PC or on a server and it will simulate human behavior and interactions with an application in two modes:
- Unattended – where the robot will run its task autonomously requiring few to no human supervision, for example, an autonomous robot that reads all Purchase Orders which are sent to an email inbox. Once email is read the robot retrieves information from the email or attached files and brings the data into an SAP S/4HANA system to create the PO reference.
- Attended – where the robot collaborates with humans in order to run a specific task, for example, an insurance clerk who is called by a customer who has an accident. In this situation the insurance clerk might need to navigate through different systems to get to the customer data, but this can be optimized by using a robot which would allow the insurance clerk to run an automated checklist with all the many sub steps needed to get the required data.
In the following image you can find more details about the differences between these two modes from a technical perspective:
Now let’s focus on the important question: Where to start?
Now that we know the basics of iRPA it may be worth understanding what we would need to setup in order to start using this technology with our SAP S/4HANA system.
Fortunately, you can find all the required steps to setup a trial account and test one bot using the latest version of the tool (iRPA 2.0) in the following document:
In this document you will find details of the following steps:
- Prerequisites – Setting Up SAP BTP Trial Account
- Prerequisites – Subscribing to SAP iRPA Service
- Basic Configurations – Defining Role Collections
- Basic Configurations – Assign Role Collections
- Basic Configurations – Identifying and Accessing your SAP iRPA Tenant
- Basic Configurations – Downloading and Installing On-Premise Components
- Basic Configurations – Setting up Environments and Deploying a package through iRPA Factory
- Setting up OS, iRPA Environment Variables and additional SAP Backend and Desktop Settings for your Bot
- Launching the bot and validating results
By running the steps in this document, you can then understand what is needed to deploy and integrate an iRPA bot with your SAP S/4HANA system and the overall architecture and configuration settings required for this integration to work. A high-level description of the architecture is shown in the following image:
Once you finish running the steps in this document, you will now be prepared to explore the standard bot integration scenarios provided by SAP which can help you plan how to deploy these features in your production systems in the near future.
If you wish to explore more content you can take a look at the SAP iRPA bot store where you’ll find 90 bots already provided for SAP S/4HANA for multiple uses cases such as:
- Create Purchase Requisitions from Excel (48M)
- Automatic Creation of Sales Orders from Excel (4G5)
- Production Order Operation Confirmation (49T)
- Dispute Management – Manage Customer Email Response (48E)
- Mass Creation of Business Partner from Excel (58Z)
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You’ll find much more on our SAP Fiori for SAP S/4HANA wiki
Other helpful links:
- SAP iRPA bot store
- Discovery Center – SAP iRPA Services
- Discovery Center – SAP iRPA Missions
- See all questions and answers about SAP Fiori for SAP S/4HANA
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This content was brought to you by the SAP S/4HANA RIG team