How hyperautomation can help your procurement department manage orders
Companies are using more and more software tools in an effort to simplify, improve, and accelerate their operations to remain competitive in a constantly changing world. Sometimes, however, adding more tools has resulted in employees having to deal with even more tasks that are repetitive and frankly tedious.
What if these processes could be executed faster? What if employees could focus on more value-added tasks? What if it could all be automated?
Robotic Process Automation (RPA), the first step to hyperautomation
According to market research, Finance departments that use RPA can save 25,000 staff hours annually; further, Gartner predicts that 69% of routine work currently done by managers will be fully automated by 2024.
Moreover, combined with artificial intelligence technologies, such as automatic document extraction, RPA can help companies perform full end-to-end automated processes, with bots performing the tasks that an employee used to do, faster and with fewer errors.
SAP Intelligent RPA, a powerful Low-Code/No-Code tool to automate your processes
To help companies transition to automated processes, SAP offers SAP Business Technology Platform, a suite of different tools which includes SAP Intelligent RPA, a powerful LC/NC tool that allows anyone to develop bots that meet business process requirements. Whether for copying data across multiple systems, tracking orders, or customer service management, among many other uses, such bots can be executed in attended mode (that is, triggered by a user) or in unattended mode (executed automatically at a defined time or via an HTTP call).
Need to manage orders every day? Build a bot to do that
Company procurement departments have to deal with a lot of data: product types, prices, quantities, delivery dates, and so on, and employees have to keep this information up to date — often through manual data entry that is both time-consuming and prone to error.
Few weeks ago, I presented a guided demo on “Orders Management using SAP Intelligent Robotic Process Automation” as part of the Hyperautomation Webinar Series. During this session, I showed how SAP Intelligent RPA can be used to automate a simple process which retrieves order details from a website and puts them into an Excel file. I’ve included the video of the session so you can see how I built the bot and how it works.
Demo use case
In this demo, I am acting as a manager of a procurement department who has to retrieve the list of open orders and update their delivery status every day. Instead of having to manually generate this delivery tracking information, I create a bot that retrieves the delivery information and copies it into an Excel file that can be automatically stored in an accessible system repository (such as S/4 Hana, for example) or sent via email to all stakeholders.
Capture applications and declare elements
The first step in creating a bot is to capture the applications and declare their elements. This phase defines all the elements with which the bot can interact — for example, a button to click or a field to fill. I used this capture application, which you can find here: https://openui5.hana.ondemand.com/test-resources/sap/m/demokit/orderbrowser/webapp/test/mockServer.html
The bot interacts with the capture application to define data extraction activities, and interacts with Excel to generate output. (Very conveniently, SAP Intelligent RPA has predefined a number activities that enable bots to generate output in an Excel file.)
Once we have captured the extraction application and declared the elements, we can start to design the automation.
Creating the automation
An activity is a discrete action that a bot performs, such as creating a file, or pasting data into a cell in an Excel file. An automation is a succession of activities which the bot executes. My demo bot performs a simple automation which does the following:
- Creates a new Excel file and sets the headers
- Navigates to the application and retrieves the order reference and order status for each order
- Puts the order reference and the order status data into the Excel file
- Sets a color in the cell depending on the order status.
Running the automation results in a Excel spreadsheet that is populated with relevant data; you can also add steps to automate the distribution of the spreadsheet.
Has your hyperautomation journey started?
Nowadays more and more companies are working on automating many different kinds of business processes. What about yours? Has the hyperautomation journey started in your company? Let’s discuss it in the comments section.