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Yesterday, at SAP TechEd 2021, we announced a new no-code solution to help turn more business users and technologists into citizen developers who can help adapt, improve, and innovate on their company’s business processes. This new solution is available as a preview for co-innovation partners, and it is called SAP Process Automation.

I explained in my previous article on LinkedIn the 3 key reasons that are driving adoption of low-code/no-code tools. In addition, I’ve had a lot of meetings with customers from different industries and regions of the world, and here is what many of them told me more specifically about process automation: “We want a unique and simple tool covering all of the process automation space, from simple task automation to end-to-end corporate process design, operation and monitoring”.

Our ambition with SAP Process Automation is to answer that need by bringing no-code process automation to the next level. To make citizen developers fully productive, SAP’s new solution provides end-to-end automation capabilities that leverage advanced BPM workflow management and embedded RPA functionality in a simple drag-and-drop user interface.

Why put RPA and BPM into a single tool?

Business Process Management as SAP Workflow Management follows a strategic, holistic and structured approach to dealing with process orchestration, extension, optimization and, of course, innovation. BPM manages business processes by bringing human and automated activities into a structured sequence of steps. It fosters teamwork, streamlines collaboration and automates production workflows.

Robotic Process Automation as SAP Intelligent RPA follows a tactical, focused and agile approach and deals with task automation in a user-centric way. Compatible with any application existing in the Information System, RPA not only handles unmodelled, “naturally grown” processes with AI-based automation, but also handles UI-based automation where APIs don’t exist and direct access to the data is not available. RPA minimizes errors, speeds up work and cuts costs.

Putting these different technologies together allows companies to go from simple digitization of manual paperwork to fully automated processes. Market analysts often refer to this as “hyperautomation”. It frees employees from mundane repetitive tasks and gives them time back to leverage their unique human skills. On-top SAP Process Automation offers all those capabilities for citizen developers in a low-code/no-code manner.

Let’s take the example of a very common process such as “Managing Invoices without Purchase Order” in Finance. This is a process that traditionally requires a lot of manual data extraction and input, and often requires cross-checking for errors. How can we dramatically improve the efficiency?

SAP Process Automation provides a smart solution:

  1. An RPA bot searches different inboxes, and extracts invoices received as PDF attachments;

  2. The bot uses an AI capability such as SAP AI Document Information Extraction to recognize and extract data from the PDF’s text;

  3. The bot triggers customized BPM workflows to get approvals from employees, adjust bookings, and send confirmations.

The use case I describe above is one of many: when it comes to automating routine tasks, RPA and BPM together, with the help of AI for analyzing documents, are the perfect combination for seamlessly managing IT access approvals, leave requests, expense approvals, employee onboarding/off-boarding, vendor creation, sales order approvals, and many more. There are relevant use cases that RPA + BPM + AI’s combined capabilities can handle in every line of business, from Finance to Sales, from Procurement to Human Resources, Supply Chain Management — and the list goes on.

Why Low-Code/No-code?

Very simply, SAP Process Automation comes with low-code/no-code capabilities because easy-to use visual and intuitive tools can dramatically increase the number of people in an organization who can tackle business challenges and deliver innovation faster and more confidently across all lines of business and industries.

Whether you are a professional developer or an IT administrator manager or a citizen developer, the convergence of RPA and BPM capabilities in SAP Process Automation allows anyone to participate in creating new and extend existing business processes, taking your very specific needs and skills into account. All the automation capabilities you need are at hand, and you can simply choose the best combination of them for your project.

But SAP Process Automation is more than just a combination of RPA and BPM together. It is the vanguard for making low-code/no-code development a reality in organizations of all sizes.

To further accelerate adoption by citizen developers, SAP Process Automation also comes with plenty of ready-to-use content:

  • 50+ Live process packages for creating fully automated workflows for corporate processes

  • 90+ Pre-built bots in store that can be used to automatically perform repetitive tasks

SAP Process Automation brings you the business content you need to start improving your processes in any LoB and industry right now.

This is the start of a new era of building software, with business and IT users delivering more innovation faster, together.

Stay tuned for further information about more exciting aspects of SAP Process Automation!