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In one of my earlier blog posts, I spoke about how SAP innovation technologies can increase business value and here I am with one more interesting blog post on SAP Intelligent Robotic Process Automation (SAP Intelligent RPA). In this blog post, I will talk about how these intelligent bots make the lives of our customers easy, by increasing the business value.

SAP Intelligent RPA accelerates digital transformation of business processes by automatically replicating tedious actions to free up human workforce for more high-value tasks. The typical use cases include loading data into SAP S/4HANA Cloud, extraction from multiple sources like PDF, excel, email, text and finally integration into third party systems. The following two examples highlight how our customers are benefiting from using SAP Intelligent RPA.

Business Use Case 1 – Extraction of data from multiple formats into SAP S/4HANA Cloud

An account payable department of a company receives multiple supplier invoices of different formats everyday over an email. One of the executives in the organization scans through each email for the attachments. The attachments may contain the digital PDF or image PDF. Once the attached PDF is verified by the accountant of the account payable department, the content of it is manually entered in the SAP S/4HANA system and supplier invoice is created. This process is done multiple times a day in which the accountant personnel would be verifying and entering more than 200 supplier invoices per day. Each invoice update takes up to 5 minutes and for 200 such invoices almost 1,000 minutes per day are used which is equivalent to 2 full time employees’ workdays. These employees could instead add value in other core finance related tasks rather than performing the above-mentioned steps.


How SAP Intelligent RPA empowered the customer?

Once the account payable department of a company receives emails, the bot reads the incoming emails, and it segregates the attachments based on the format of the PDF i.e., whether it is a digital or image-based PDF. The bot processes each PDF format differently and applies the different transformation mechanisms. For example, the bot can perform a digital transformation via JavaScript libraries for digital PDFs or OCR for image-based PDFs. The PDF data can be mapped to an excel using customer specific key field and regex mappings. The data is extracted using the key fields and finally, the payload is built and then the API is called to interact with SAP systems to create a supplier invoice.

The entire process to trigger a bot just takes seconds.


What is the added value for the Customer?

  • The execution time is faster, and the entire process takes less than 30 seconds

  • The accountant can allocate more of his time for value-adding tasks

  • A notification is triggered for the IT team if any error is encountered during or after execution by the bot

  • Leads to error-free invoice creation

  • Avoid late payments and penalties

Business Use Case 2 – Third party integration with SAP S/4HANA Cloud

Another interesting use case is the integration between SAP S/4HANA Cloud and an external Warehouse Management System (WMS). Let’s analyse their business process flow.

A company buys the finished goods from one of the shippers. Once bought, the goods are stored in a warehouse and sold to their customers at a later point in time. The information of the received goods is checked and recorded in the external WMS by the warehouse manager.

After the daily closure of inventory, the warehouse manager downloads the goods’ receipt data to an excel file and sends it to our customer who is situated in a different time zone. Our customer creates a purchase order in SAP S/4HANA Cloud based on information such as material number and quantity and posts the goods’ receipts via related SAP Fiori apps. By performing these manual steps, the inventory is kept in sync between external WMS and SAP S/4HANA Cloud inventory management.

This is a repetitive process on a day-to-day basis, which introduces a lot of delay in inventory updates in the SAP S/4HANA Cloud system as the process is carried out by two different users spanning across different time zones.

How SAP Intelligent RPA empowered the customer?

The manual process is automated in such a way that the entire process is reduced to three steps.

As soon as the goods are received at the warehouse, the warehouse manager confirms the arrival. Then the bot is triggered to post the confirmation that the goods are received.

Step 1: Once the bot is triggered it searches the inbound inventory based on the key search criteria such as manufacturer, confirmed date and then downloads the result data from external WMS.

Step 2: Then it creates a purchase order in the SAP S/4HANA Cloud system based on the downloaded excel data.

Step 3: Finally, it posts the goods receipt against the created purchase orders.

This pain point was identified during the requirement gathering phase which was analysed by our team and a 45-day plan to implement all customer requirements was put in place. During the implementation phase we also received continuous feedback from the customer which helped us in fine tuning the feature.

What exactly is the value add for our customers?

  • The Inventory status update is in synergy. Thus, the lag in the update across the systems due to the time zone differences can be eliminated.

  • As the entire process is automated, no man-hour is spent on repetitive tasks and the team can focus on activities with higher value.

  • Automating human daily tasks has improved the accuracy and thus avoiding delays in shipment.

What are the key takeaways?

The above use cases highlight some interesting ways in which SAP Intelligent RPA can help customers in their automation journey. What we have learnt here is that applying intelligent technologies to traditional processes can improve the existing business process efficiency, free up work-capacity and enables our customers to focus on more value-adding tasks.

If you are an existing SAP ECC and SAP S/4HANA Cloud customer and need help with getting started with intelligent technologies, then I recommend checking the  SAP Intelligent RPA Store.


For more interesting SAP Intelligent RPA scenarios, check out the following references:

SAP Intelligent RPA – Multi-Format PDF Extraction | SAP Blogs

Customer Use Case on SAP Intelligent RPA – Project Role and Resource Assignment | SAP Blogs

SAP Intelligent Robotic Process Automation | SAP | SAP Blogs


Inside SAP S/4HANA Podcast

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openSAP microlearnings for SAP S/4HANA

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For more information on SAP S/4HANA Cloud, check out the following links: 

  • The power of best-in-class and Next Practices business content for a modern ERP blog post

  • SAP S/4HANA Cloud: The Intelligent ERP blog post

  • SAP S/4HANA Cloud: New Product Releases here

  • Latest SAP S/4HANA Cloud Release blog posts here

  • SAP Intelligent Robotic Process Automation Content here

  • SAP S/4HANA Cloud release info: http://www.sap.com/s4-cloudrelease

  • SAP S/4HANA PSCC Digital Enablement Wheel here

  • Inside SAP S/4HANA Podcast here

  • SAP S/4HANA Cloud Community here

  • SAP Activate Community here

  • Best practices for SAP S/4HANA Cloud here

  • Help Portal Product Page here


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