Going Conversational AI with the first of its kind for SAP S/4HANA – the Operational Purchaser Chatbot
Using natural language based chatbots has become popular in the last few years. Chatbots can save considerable time in call centers or on websites by processing user queries with the help of AI and a “digital assistant”. SAP S/4HANA Cloud is supporting users by providing chatbots for specific business roles. Let’s take a closer look at the Operational Purchaser Chatbot, the first of its kind chatbot delivered for SAP S/4HANA Cloud. Chatbots for SAP S/4HANA Cloud are built using SAP Conversational AI services. Scope of the S/4HANA chatbots are built for Business roles – they enable customers to deploy chatbots for (standard) business roles in next to no time. Customers can easily adjust and extend chatbot content to suit their own needs or even build their own content and individual interaction with SAP S/4HANA Cloud. S/4HANA chatbots are running as part of the digital assistant.
The Operational Purchaser Chatbot
An Operational Purchaser oversees the automated execution of procurement processes and handles exceptions. One challenge is having to multitask and skip back and forth between topics while being dependent on pertinent information being readily available. The chatbot within the digital assistant enables the end user to:
- Derive context-relevant information from purchasing documents such as purchase requisitions, without moving to other apps.
- Navigate quickly and efficiently to procurement apps without deep expertise or system knowledge, thus making onboarding of new users easier.
- Effectively collaborate with trading partners, such as directly initiating Microsoft Teams calls for business-critical events or schedule meetings with business partners in a Conversational AI user experience
The Operational Purchaser Chatbot for SAP S/4HANA Cloud (template) has been available since the end of February 2022 and is now in its second version. This template chatbot improves the productivity and collaboration of an end user in the role of operational purchaser by the means of the following capabilities:
- View details of purchase orders and purchase requisitions
You can ask the chatbot to show you detailed information such as statuses or items from purchase orders and purchase requisitions without you having to navigate to the relevant apps. The chatbot can show you, for example, all purchase orders from a particular supplier, all overdue purchase orders, and so on.
- Make calls using Microsoft Teams
You can use the chatbot as a convenient way to initiate an ad-hoc collaboration via Microsoft Teams. So you can, for example, reach out to a supplier via the contact data associated with them.
- Schedule meetings using Microsoft Teams
You can ask the chatbot to schedule meetings in Microsoft Teams. The chatbot is able to retrieve all necessary data from Microsoft Azure AD on your behalf and create calendar events using Microsoft Graph API.
- Navigate to SAP Fiori apps
You can drill down for details of purchase orders and purchase requisitions by clicking them in the results displayed in the chatbot. This will open the item in the relevant SAP Fiori app. For other related business objects the chatbot can help guide you to the relevant apps. The navigation functionality can understand natural language with no need for exact app names, but simply by describing what you want to do, for example asking where you can view all purchase orders.
The Operational Purchaser Chatbot for SAP S/4HANA Cloud (template) provides our customers with a fantastic example of what’s possible when creating their own chatbots for SAP S/4HANA using the SAP Conversational AI service, allowing them to re-use, adapt, and create their own bots based on it.
Scaling with chatbots in SAP S/4HANA Cloud
This brings me to my second message: how can our customers scale with chatbot content? Chatbot content needs to be provided for uncountable business roles and business tasks. SAP S/4HANA Cloud will not deliver standard content out of the box. Why? Chatbots are somewhat customer-dependent and usually need to be adjusted to their own needs: limiting scope, change interaction or even include other content within this particular chatbot are the main drivers. This (in the first place) limiting aspect of not having standard content delivered out of the box will ultimately be an advantage: SAP S/4HANA Cloud is delivering chatbot templates via the developer community. Our customers can use the low-code SAP CAI platform to tweak these templates accordingly. Details can be found in the Community Topic SAP Conversational AI.
Stay tuned for the delivery of new SAP S/4HANA chatbot templates like the Cost Center Owner Chatbot, which is just around the corner! Further content is in planning and development. Step by step, this will enable our customers to increase their content in this area and ultimately improve the end-user experience of their task force.
Download the Operational Purchaser Chatbot (template) from the developers.sap.com community.
Related information, blogs and links:
- Check out the latest news on Conversational AI in their community
- Good read is also the latest blog from UX on the chatbot: SAP Procurement loves UX: Operational Purchaser Chatbot for SAP S/4HANA (template) which includes a demo video of the chatbot
- Jürgen Butsmann wrote about The Future of Digital Assistants and Chatbots in S/4HANA Cloud