Ideation of Use Cases for Low-Code and Citizen Development
Low-code platforms have become more popular in recent years, providing citizen developers with the ability to create applications and automate processes without having to write any line of code. However, one of the challenge that IT management faces when they are setting up their low-code center of excellence and governance of citizen development, is guiding them on how to identify and prioritize use cases.While platforms like SAP Build offer a wide range of features and functionalities, users may struggle to identify which use cases are best suited for their line of work. Additionally, users may spend time developing applications and processes that are not well-suited for these platforms or that do not address a specific need or problem.
Guiding citizen developers on what use cases they should build with low-code platform is a challenge that also IT departments will face when they start to roll out SAP Build. Nevertheless, the people who know business processes best are the experts in respective line of businesses.
Recently, we collaborated with Freudenberg Group where we conducted a low-code hackathon, a “Buildathon”, that included such a use case ideation. The event was held to launch the new low-code center of excellence at Freudenberg, called Confactory, and inspired a range of innovative use case ideas for SAP Build, which I thought be great to share to the SAP Community, along with some additional tips on how organisations can identify their own uses use cases. At the end of the two-day event these use cases were pitched to the audience and out of seven pitches a winner was voted.
If you want to read more about the “Buildathon” event at Freudenberg, checkout the blogpost by Sebastian Schrötel – VP, Head of Product Management for SAP BTP Application Development, Automation and Integration.
Freudenberg’s Use Case Ideas
Participants in the “Buildathon” primarily included non-technical businesspeople from finance, supply chain, procurement, as well as a few with IT backgrounds, who came together to brainstorm and build over the two-day event. The ideas they came up with were quite relevant to daily business processes that could be improved and used in similar scenarios.
Some of the fascinating use case ideas included an app for managing food orders from the company canteen, an asset and guarantee management tool, and an app to track employee locations during emergencies. Let’s explore some of them in detail:
Employee time recording (SAP Build Apps):
This group developed an application which can be used as an employee registration tool. If employees work from the office, they need to register themselves in the recording tool. Once the employees leave the office, they would need to unregister again. This way the company facilitates a reliable time recording tool. In case of emergencies like fire breakouts, employees would confirm once they have left the premises. Should someone be missing the application would notify the respective stakeholders.
Automated process for packaging goods (SAP Build Apps & SAP Build Process Automation):
This pitch included an application built with SAP Build Apps where an employee maintains or scans the delivery number of specific goods. Once the ID is registered, the application would hand the information over to a process, designed in SAP Build Process Automation, which automatically chooses the right packaging for this specific delivery. The packaging information would then be handed over to the responsible team for further processing.
Managing the canteen order process (SAP Build Apps & SAP Build Process Automation):
The winners of the use-case ideation pitched an application which helped managing food orders in the canteen. But not only that, the information was further processed to different stakeholders like kitchen staff and accounting department. Employees can order their food online through an application and each order triggers a process where the respective information is processed. The kitchen staff can prepare food in time and manage their personnel accordingly. Once a certain meal is ordered the information is processed to accounting to keep track of the numbers. If the canteen is running low on ingredients, they would automatically be informed through the application.
The Freudenberg “Buildathon” participants enabled themselves on SAP Build Apps & SAP Build Process Automation, brainstormed and built use-cases in just two days! This were only a few of the presented use-cases but they already give an outlook on the big potential of citizen development.
Discover Your Own Use Cases
Wondering how to identify low-code use cases within your organization? Low-code development enables you to build, adapt, improve, and innovate various business processes with minimal IT assistance.
Start by focusing on process patterns involving manual, repetitive, rule-based work. Recognizing these patterns can help you discover opportunities for automation or application development. Consider these examples:
1. Automate manual, repetitive tasks, such as copying data into a spreadsheet.
2. Digitize manual and semi-automated processes like capital expenditure approvals.
3. Automate high-volume process steps, such as entering sales order data.
4. Automatically aggregate data from multiple systems, e.g., purchase record updates.
5. Extend and adapt standard flows of your business applications, like adding extra approval levels for sales orders.
6. Automate end-to-end cross-application workflows spanning several systems, such as employee onboarding processes.
Explore Use Cases by Line of Business
Another approach is to identify pain points across different lines of business (LoB), such as Finance, Procurement, and Human Resources. Engage business leaders and managers to learn about their challenges, missed KPIs, and inefficiencies due to manual processes. Here are some real-world examples:
1. Order fulfillment – A high-tech company struggled to meet their monthly order fulfillment KPI. They found that 20% of sales orders were rejected during the first-time creation due to data quality issues.
2. Cash flow – A media and entertainment company sought to improve cash flow and discovered that manual processing of payment advice delayed cash by a few days or even a week, impacting their monthly cash flow.
3. Customer experience – A global white goods company experienced issues with customer support incident resolution time. They identified that manually downloading incidents, classifying them, and assigning them to the right team in another internal application caused delays in resolution time.
Your IT landscape also offers plenty of use case opportunities. You can extend SAP systems for the lines of business, like SAP S/4HANA and SAP SuccessFactors. Reach out to business leaders and managers of respective industry specializations to learn about their challenges, missed KPIs, and inefficiencies due to manual processes that are connected to data in SAP sytems.
The potential for automation across industries and lines of business is immense. By pinpointing specific use cases and leveraging low-code development, we can eliminate manual inefficiencies and focus on what matters most: growing the business and delivering value to customers.
Get Started Fast with Pre-Built Content for Common Use Cases
So, let’s get going with SAP Build! Another great way to get inspired with thinking about use cases where you can start is to explore some of the pre-built content packages. SAP Build Process Automation offers a large library of pre-built content like workflows, bots, decisions, live processes and much more.
In case you are not already using SAP Build Apps or SAP Build Process Automation to explore use case for your organisation, check out the Use Case finder on SAP.com and discover the possibilities.
Thanks to S. Hathaway for content contribution.
thanks for sharing valuable information which really helpful