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For most companies, the mandate to increase efficiency and agility plays an important role in their approach to automation. Business processes – such as source to pay, recruit to retire, and lead to cash - must be frictionless to improve experiences, respond in real-time, and enable change. However, these processes have become increasingly intertwined, making end-to-end automation more challenging.

Take, for example, the expansion of the customer experience across multiple channels. Every customer order must pass through a series of steps executed by different applications – some legacy, others cloud-based, and a mix of internal and partner software. Some activities occur in parallel, such as order processing, updating inventories, processing payments, and estimating shipping dates. Furthermore, both front-office employees accessing internal systems and the customers connected to the online storefront must see the same information.

The key role of integration in business process automation

System-centric automation has become a mission-critical part of business process automation. According to IDC, this form of intelligent process automation, which includes technology such as API management and event-driven integration, has become the largest and fastest-growing segment in the market.

With the right system-centric automation strategy, companies can scale their automation faster and more effectively across end-to- end business processes by looking beyond labor-centric automation or atomic integration initiatives.

The full potential of system-centric automation is realized when it is pervasive across business processes and leverages modern, cloud- based integration technology.

The value of automation expanded

Today, business processes are supported by many distributed applications. Modern, cloud-based, event-driven integration and API management have become crucial to achieving the business agility companies seek.

Event-based integration broadcasts status changes made in one application to other applications. It allows the next steps in the business process to be triggered in parallel. New applications are easily connected and disconnected from event broadcasting, allowing organizations to reconfigure and expand their business processes.

Meanwhile, API management helps ensure the governed exchange of information across distributed systems, no matter the complexity of the IT landscape. It also prevents overloading applications with volumes of requests that would interfere with optimal system performance.

The combination of event-based integration and API management offers the flexibility to adapt to change with endless possibilities. For example, companies can mesh events effectively to notify a distributed system of multiple applications when an order status has changed. Spikes in demand can quickly activate alternative distribution channels and new digital capabilities to ship more goods and support more visitors on an e-commerce site.

How SAP can help

SAP is in a unique position to help organizations automate business processes at scale to grow business agility. Part of SAP Business Technology Platform, SAP Integration Suite is an integration platform as a service (iPaaS) that supports system-centric automation with state-of-the-art cloud technology. With SAP Integration Suite, our customers leverage decades of expertise and take advantage of the many prebuilt integrations to connect SAP and third-party applications into end-to-end business processes.

Recognized in 2022 and 2023 with multiple awards from TrustRadius, SAP Integration Suite helps more than 15,000 organizations worldwide leverage the collective potential of the cloud and automation by integrating legacy and cloud-based applications and processes cost-effectively. Our customers can accelerate processes, increase transparency, and improve operational efficiency. More importantly, they can connect and automate experiences for their customers, partners, and employees across their enterprise and extended ecosystems – now and for years to come.

Future automation begins with integration

Whether adopting new business models, building omnichannel customer experiences, or seeking greater efficiency overall, process automation begins with addressing your integration challenges.

Organizations can save themselves time and money along the way by using SAP Integration Suite – a modern, comprehensive approach to integration to support rapid innovation and faster implementations at a lower cost.

With the right system-centric automation strategy, companies can scale their automation faster and more effectively across end-to-end business processes by looking beyond labor-centric automation or atomic integration initiatives.

Interested in learning more? Check out these resources: