Why SAP Business Technology Platform is the ultimate hyperautomation platform
Hyperautomation (a Gartner term) is the discipline to automate and digitise your business administration. Any tasks or processes that could run more smoothly by using smart technologies are basically subject to hyperautomation.
To give some examples, we have realised the following customer success cases:
- Purchase Order Confirmations: read e-mail attachments (usually in PDF) from your suppliers who are providing an ETA (estimated time of arrival) for the purchase orders you’ve placed, use the data to check against business rules (e.g.: does the Purchase Order reference exist? Isn’t the supplier blocked? Date, quantity and price differences are within the allowed tolerances?), and translate them in Purchase Order Confirmations (schedule lines) in your SAP system;
- Master Data Management: users initiate a product creation process in a No Code app (AppGyver), a workflow is triggered to involve the right stakeholders (Finance, Purchasing, BOM Engineer, Warehouse,…) to fill out a strict minimum of fields in a dedicated form, product is being created, afterwards the Bill of Material (BOM), Master Recipe, Production Version, Inspection Plan. There’s a corresponding dashboard that tells you which products are being created, and where and how long it’s pending
- Sales Order Creation: e-mail communication (with PDF attachments) are translated into sales orders (with Variant Configuration values even).
Actually, every line of business in every single company has their own use cases:
Hyperautomation might sound like a buzz word, but it’s deservedly a big thing. Why?
- Time-to-value: tangible results are delivered in a very short timeframe, and in an affordable way
- Efficiency boost: people get liberated from tedious routines and can suddenly focus on tasks that really add value
- Process innovation: safeguard your process from bottlenecks and provide real-time process visibility
To enable hyperautomation you need technology.
- Robotic Process Automation (RPA) or ‘bots’ to perform task automation
- Workflow engine to involve human stakeholders and to connect the different task automations
- Front-end: an app (preferably Low-Code/No-Code) or chatbot or even Microsoft Teams
- AI skills to perform data recognition (Intelligent Document Processing) with machine learning capabilities
- Process visibility: a dashboard for your automated process, or a representation of your actual (not assumed) processes through process mining (so you know which processes are subject to an efficiency boost
Now, why would you look at SAP Business Technology Platform (BTP) to enable this discipline? It’s not one of the leaders in the Gartner quadrant regarding Robotic Process Automation (where we can find UiPath, Blue Prism, Automation Anywhere,…). The RPA component is still a relatively ‘new’ product (SAP acquired Contextor RPA in 2018).
Well, there are very good reasons:
- Business Context: do you already run on SAP? Then SAP BTP is simply the best option.
- API’s and BAPI’s are made available when building the bot, so move away from classic screen scraping bots that break whenever the UI changes, and go for sustainable automation through back-end communication
- SAP BTP is also exposed to users via the Fiori Launchpad. People will experience the same look and feel like they know from S/4HANA, SuccessFactors, Ariba,… As an example: user tasks arrive also in ‘My Inbox’ with a notification
- 300+ (and counting) pre-packaged bots can be directly deployed from the bot store (for free). It absolutely accelerates your automations.
- SAP BTP offers you a wide range of automation and Low-Code / No-Code oriented services to integrate with SAP, web applications or any third-party software:
- SAP Process Automation is the RPA tool for task automation (e.g.: let a bot create a material master)
- SAP Process Automation offers also a powerful workflow engine (e.g.: engage people for a review step)
- SAP AppGyver is a No-Code app development tool (e.g.: to build your application in no time by using drag-and-drop)
- SAP Conversational AI is SAP’s chatbot (e.g.: to guide people to create a correct service request)
- SAP Document Information Extraction enables data extraction from documents using AI skills (e.g.: to understand which invoice the supplier is sending and which key elements are in it)
- SAP Work Zone makes it possible to create ‘work space pages’ customized to the user stories (e.g.: ideal to create a portal environment in which the customer views his dedicated analytics, uses an app (to book a timeslot for example), views the company policies,…)
- SAP Event Mesh enables event-based triggers for actions (e.g.: a blocked stock goods movement is performed, this triggers a workflow with analysis and stock release steps)
- SAP Task Center collects the user tasks from all different SAP products (e.g.: S/4HANA, BTP, SuccessFactors, Ariba,…) to propose as worklists (e.g.: create filtered worklist with the various outstanding user tasks in different systems)
- Pricing is extremely competitive. To give a good feeling: one bot costs 500 EUR a month and can support various use cases, and building a No-Code app in AppGyver costs you 10 EUR a month per developer user. Moreover, an SAP’s RPA bot allows you indirect usage. E.g.: with an SAP bot you can create 10000 sales orders without additional licensing. With other vendor tools, you would be charged for indirect usage, so you would need an additional ‘Digital Access’ license from SAP.
- SAP BTP is a leading Multiexperience Development Platform. It’s much more than an automation platform. It also serves as an integration suite, (front- and back-end) development platform enabling multiple coding languages, incl. ABAP of course, analytical services (e.g.: BI and process mining, storage services (e.g.: Document Management Systems),… You basically open Pandora’s box which will offer you endless possibilities and in which you activate only the services you need (or want to play with for free) with the ease of an App Store on your iPhone.
We could state that every company has already invested in its strategic systems landscape. Each system offers a certain level of automation within its silo (e.g.: ERP automates order processing, CRM automates customer onboarding, MES automates PLC communication,…). Certainly, integration points (interfaces) will exist between these silo’s, but not every single object or field is being integrated.
On the other hand, every company uses office systems. The most common applications are: Excel, Outlook, Teams, Word,…
Human beings act as the glue in this complete system landscape. Every day, users process enormous amounts of bits and bytes to make their business processes run. Their work is not streamlined, especially because of the high proportion of manual repetitive tasks, and because of applications that are not customised to their needs or simply not even existing.
Hyperautomation is the answer to this business challenge. Having the ability to adapt fast to changing environments and to provide an efficiency boost on the short term, is a game changer.
This can only be done with the help of a strong and secure platform that enables these must-have technologies.
No doubt that there are multiple platforms that are able to do this. We, at HyperChain, opted for the SAP Business Technology Platform because of 3 main reasons: it outsmarts all other platforms when the business context involves SAP systems, the completeness of the feature portfolio is tremendous, and not unimportant: also the pricing makes the difference.
By combining the capabilities of the different SAP BTP services, you can create magnificent results where the sky is the limit. We follow the evolution very closely, so we’re confident to state that the technology is trustworthy and roadmaps look more than promising. We’re happy to see that our automations that run in a live environment deliver to the expectations and are sustainable for the future.
Questions, thoughts or comments? I’d love to hear them. Let’s get in touch!
Good post Kenny.
I am with you on all the topics and I believe we will have fun with the solutions you mentioned.
The point about Digital Access is really a game-changer!
Mentioning no need for additional SAP license for the backend access given the title "... BTP being the ultimate hyperautomation...", is quite the interesting argument.
There are customers that already have this aspect included in their licenses for many years. And with named users SAP Principal Propagation has you covered. Have a look hear for example.
Would like to see much better arguments than contracts and SAP customer lock-in. If you want mention Gartner why not link the results from the latest survey (see hear the report from 2021 that is ungated) for reference and perspective? Furthermore pricing compares much better with actual references if they are flagged as competitve - especially since you are showing a lot of M365 products.
Thanks for your comment!
We all love the Gartner quadrants, right? 🙂 Then we need to refer to the most recent one from 2022 where SAP is a Visionary in the Magic Quadrant. Although, SAP made tremendous efforts to keep up with the Product capabalities of the Leaders, it doesn't tend to be a 'pureplay RPA vendor'. Process automation and LowCode/NoCode services are key components in the complete SAP Ecosystem. I believe it's that synergy that can bring the most value to customers.
I have to say we also love the MS Power Platform, but we see it as a suitable automation platform when the use cases play particularly in the 365 environment, not interacting with SAP.
Newer link is even better! 🙂 why do you not use MS Power Platform for SAP interactions? Especially given the analysis Gartner shows?
If you're interested in the Document Information Extraction service, be aware that SAP offers other AI-powered services that can automate and optimize your business processes: https://community.sap.com/topics/artificial-intelligence