SAP S/4HANA is SAP’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) software built for the needs of large enterprises. While SAP S/4HANA is already a powerful, feature-rich system that can help transform your business processes, you can make further enhancements to the platform that will multiply your return on investment.
Five Benefits of Intelligent Process Automation for SAP S/4HANA
The consulting firm McKinsey & Company has defined intelligent process automation (IPA) as “an emerging set of new technologies that combines fundamental process redesign with robotic process automation and machine learning.” Below, we’ll go over 5 benefits of IPA for SAP S/4HANA.
1. Quick Enablement of SAP Business Processes
In general, intelligent process automation enables SAP business processes to complete faster, more efficiently, and with a higher degree of accuracy. According to McKinsey, companies that use IPA have achieved impressive results: automating 50 to 70 percent of their tasks, thereby reducing process time by 50 to 60 percent and seeing a triple-digit return on their investment.
Any business processes that are repetitive, rule-based and time-consuming are an excellent target for IPA. In the next four sections, we'll discuss some specific use cases of IPA for SAP S/4HANA.
2. Low-Code Automation
Traditional software development requires a great deal of technical skill and manual effort, making it difficult to scale. Low-code development lets practically anyone become a software developer through user-friendly, drag-and-drop visual interfaces, with little or no programming knowledge necessary. IT research and advisory firm Gartner estimates that by 2024, more than 65 percent of application development will be done with low-code platforms.
By empowering people with little technical knowledge to build their own automation tools, low-code and no-code automation can take your SAP system to the next level. Low-code development is fast and easy, but also capable of quickly building out sophisticated, production-ready software.
3. Business Process Management Gains
Business process management (BPM) is an organizational discipline with the goal of systematically improving business processes by continually analyzing, modeling, monitoring, and optimizing them. Like software development, BPM has traditionally been a resource-intensive task that requires a great deal of human effort and investigation. This is especially true for highly complex systems such as SAP S/4HANA that need finesse and fine-tuning constantly.
Enter process mining, which seeks to automate BPM by analyzing your business data in real-time. The benefits of process mining for SAP S/4HANA include:
- Faster return on investment by decreasing the length of planning cycles and enabling smarter, quicker decision-making.
- Greater objectivity by removing the human element from the equation.
- Lower business risk by decreasing the likelihood of crashes and performance issues.
4. Robotic Process Automation
Robotic process automation (RPA) is the use of intelligent software agents that can perform many common manual tasks, from copying data between locations to launching a new transaction.
Automating tedious, repetitive actions will help your human employees concentrate on higher-level, revenue-generating activities, rather than the intricacies of IT maintenance and administration. Unlike your human employees, software robots never sleep or take the weekends off; they’re also significantly less expensive, costing just a fraction of an employee’s annual salary.
There are multiple ways in which RPA can enhance your use of the SAP S/4HANA platform. For just one example, an RPA agent could analyze emails that contain order processing information, extract the data into an organized schema, and then store the information in a back-end database—no human input required at any stage of the process.
5. Artificial Intelligence
Last but not least, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning can work in combination with your SAP S/4HANA system to drive digital transformation throughout the enterprise. For example, chatbots for customer service and technical support can hold simple conversations with users, helping resolve basic queries and directing them to human agents for more complicated issues.
AI models can also be used together with human employees to achieve higher levels of speed and accuracy than would be possible in isolation. A machine learning model trained in insurance adjusting, for example, can analyze photos of a car accident and come up with a rough estimate of the damage, which a human claims adjuster can then review.
SAP S/4HANA and the Intelligent Enterprise
Although SAP S/4HANA is already a powerful tool for enterprise resource planning, intelligent automation can help take your SAP S/4HANA deployment to the next level. By combining the existing functionality of SAP S/4HANA with the capabilities of IPA, you can best prepare yourself for a rapidly evolving business landscape, while staying ahead of your competitors and better serving your customers.
Looking to transform your SAP S/4HANA deployment with intelligent process automation? At convedo, we know just how to help. Our digital transformation and IPA services include artificial intelligence and machine learning, RPA, BPM, low-code development, and much more. Get in touch with convedo today for a chat about your business needs and objectives.