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Over the past couple of years, I have been noticing a recurring theme of SAP customers leveraging SAP Cloud Platform to digitalize their old paper-based processes. It started for me with Shell Aviation in late 2017 who completely transformed their aircraft refueling business by replacing off line forms with a tablet-based user interface. This simple change had transformative effects, enabling them to refuel aircraft more quickly, achieving visibility into real-time stock levels and the ability to leverage this data through analytics to make predictive judgements. Overall, they were able to improve customer relations, employee productivity and achieve long term business benefits.

More recently I have become familiar with other customers, for example the San Francisco 49ers last year and Murphy Oil this year, who are taking similar steps to leverage technology to transform their day to day operations into a real-time business. The 49ers wanted to understand how their stadium was performing during an NFL game and be able to nimbly react, ensuring optimum performance. For example, if there was congestion in the parking lot or at one of the entrance gates, the 49ers could allocate staff accordingly. Likewise, if during a game, the score between the two competing teams was close, the 49ers could allocate more food and beverage resources to in-seat service (due to patron habits). If, however the score was not very close the 49ers could reallocate staff to non-seating areas.

For Murphy Oil, they wanted to optimize the allocation of field resources in real-time. When issues become visible, Murphy Oil wants to know what staff they have in the area, what is their skillset, do they have availability and do they have the right equipment, etc. With SAP Cloud Platform, Murphy Oil can bring all kinds of data sources together (from 15 different systems) to provide a unified view that helps Murphy Oil assign resources optimally. For Murphy Oil the results were dramatic, they saw 15% productivity increases, a 10-week project implementation timeline, and a resulting ROI of less than one year with 15 million tasks per year serviced.

I was therefore excited this week to read a Gartner magic quadrant that gave this market trend a name. The magic quadrant was Gartner’s 2019 iBPMS report – January 30th, and the name of the trend is Digital Operations. Gartner predicts in this report that 20% of workers will rely on AI to do their jobs by 2022, and that by 2023 50% of large enterprises will leverage a Digital Ops. approach for their digital transformation goals. In Gartner’s eyes a Digital Ops approach has the promise to increase the agility and scalability of an organization, enable seamless coordination between people machines and things, optimize business outcomes in real-time, and allow for emergent practices to quickly scale across organization. To me this all rings true in terms of the SAP Cloud Platform customer examples I list above.

This week at SAP TechEd Las Vegas, one of the announcements made was SAP’s new Intelligent BPM offer. SAP Intelligent Business Process Management (SAP Intelligent BPM) is a combination of existing and new capabilities. SAP Intelligent BPM ties together end to end capabilities to provide customers with a solution for automating and optimizing their business processes. It enables customers to analyze existing processes, reinvent them, create brand new business approaches, enable users to make dynamic ad-hoc changes (backed up by documented models), and allow for unique choregraphed processes (personalization) at scale. This means that SAP Intelligent BPM can deliver on rapid improvements of customer and employee journeys. Ultimately, delivering on the ability for a customer to automate, orchestrate and choregraph business processes that manage themselves as they run. This means that companies can execute the best next action, no longer tied to a repeatable sequence of events. IDC[1] has a great term for this “digitally determined” as opposed to the negative possibility of becoming “digitally distraught”.

SAP Intelligent BPM enables companies to manage and operate their business in real-time with business users leveraging live processes. Customers can quickly implement solutions as showcased above leveraging our PaaS approach. Customers can quickly diagnose, (re-)design, develop, implement, monitor and iterate their business processes leveraging our cloud-based tooling solutions.

Below is a diagram that provides more detail on the key related services that provide customers with the end to end capabilities I describe above. SAP Intelligent BPM is not just a set of SAP Cloud Platform services but expands to include services from SAP Leonardo Machine Learning and SAP Intelligent Robotic Process Automation plus integration with SAP Analytics Cloud.

Figure 1: SAP Intelligent Business Process Management

For Intelligent Automation we have SAP Cloud Platform Workflow for structured, collaborative processes and Business Rules for decision automation while these services can be integrated and orchestrated with SAP Intelligent Robotic Process Automation for the automation of unstructured, repetitive, user interface specific tasks and actions SAP Cloud Platform Workflow allows you to build, run, and manage workflows, from simple approvals to end-to-end processes that span across different organizations and applications. Central Inbox provides a single location for all workflow related tasks, provides users with both a consistent user experience across multiple line of business applications and an abstraction from application specific logic.

SAP Cloud Platform Business Rules is a cloud service that translates business decision logic into a natural language that is configurable directly by line of business key users, knowledge experts without IT or developer intervention. It provides line of business experts web-based tools to author, model and simulate decisions then deploy to the respective transactional systems both on premise and cloud

SAP Intelligent Robotic Process Automation lets you automate unstructured, repetitive tasks. Design process automations with the Desktop Studio by creating end-to-end scenarios. Import these scenarios into the cloud Factory powered by SAP Cloud Platform to configure and execute them with Agents. Agents running on workstations can work as a Digital Assistant (attended automation) or as a Digital Worker (unattended automation). SAP Conversational AI is our end-to-end chatbot-building platform with the ability to train, build, connect, and monitor intelligent chatbots with SAP CoPilot the standard SAP digital assistant.

A smooth and efficient digital experience is provided via Inbox to manage all tasks centrally. Adding SAP Conversational AI for digital assistance. For diagnosis we have SAP Cloud Platform Process Mining by Celonis which identifies the as is processes, compliance violations, conformance checks with predefined BPMN models, bottlenecks and inefficiencies.

For Process Intelligence we have SAP Cloud Platform Process Visibility. SAP Cloud Platform Process Visibility enables process excellence, process transparency and process transformation by providing one view of a process, regardless of where it runs - SAP, non-SAP, cloud, or on-prem. SAP Cloud Platform Process Visibility provides out of the box visibility, plug and play with Cloud Platform Workflow. Customers can even extend this further by pushing events from other transactional applications using Enterprise Messaging gaining actionable insights on running processes and identifying bottlenecks.

Imagine getting direct feedback how your end users experience the business processes. Use these sentiments as process owner or developer to make the key changes for improvements – a completely new era of business process experiences, in combination with the above.

Get more details here (link to new product page) and start today to realize better business outcomes faster with SAP Intelligent Business Process Management

It is an exciting time in the enterprise space, digital technologies present the opportunity for many companies to transform their operations in a positive manner. However, as I referenced via an IDC blog above they also represent dangerous possibilities of organizational disruption. By providing an end to end business process management suite, we believe SAP Cloud Platform customers will be more likely to succeed in achieving a digitally determined outcome through efficient, effective and scalable digital processes.