I haven’t written in a long time … and I was about to talk about this topic since the end of 2020. I had the opportunity to talk about SAP Intelligent RPA in 2 community events, being Inside Track Fortaleza in 2020 in which I showed a small demo and a Community Call at the end of 2020. I increasingly see RPA not as an option, but as a mandatory tool, which needs to be in the suitcase of functional consultants.
Why? We are not talking about “Rocket Science” here. Building a robot is certainly the best, simplest, and fastest solution for creating automation layers in S/4HANA. Who has never spent hundreds, if not thousands of hours specifying and building Z programs to create layers of automation that today would not make any sense?
Let’s start from the following point: it is simple to activate and simple to learn how to use it. And in this way I inform you that this BLOG will be divided into some chapters where, at the end, the idea is that if you follow the step by step it is possible to build a simple robot. Follow this blog and there will be a sequence to create a robot that will execute a sales scenario, from the creation of the order based on an Excel spreadsheet to the shipment and invoice.
SAP was never really a reference when it came to documentation and usability. Now this scenario has changed twice, first because the usability is constantly evolving (and in all SAP solutions I know I see this movement), and second because the documentation for SAP Intelligent RPA is very very good. So, the tip is that anyone who wants to learn, with a little training and dedication will easily be able to learn it in a short time.
Let’s start talking about concepts. SAP Intelligent RPA consists of 3 parts:
• Desktop Studio for building automation
• Cloud Factory to sequence automation
• Desktop Agent here is basically the agent that stays on the computer running the processes and the robots. This feature must be installed on the machine – and on all machines that will run the automation. And here is an important point: one or more machines will always be necessary for the automation to be executed.
This will certainly be clear in the next blogs. Now, following the “design from scratch” criteria, let’s start by creating the account in SAP Cloud Platform to use the trial version.
In this video below is detailed, step by step, how to install the tool.
Now, as an activity of the functional consultant, it is necessary to analyze the activities that are performed by users in order to identify what can be automated. Considering that we were able to integrate SAP Intelligent RPA with intelligent and analytical Data Science tools, theoretically we can automate almost everything, as long as we have a critical mass of data so that machine intelligence can be built and keep evolving. But this topic of integrating RPA with smart decision tools will become the last blog in the series
Talking about what can be automated, as a basic rule, we can consider the scenarios in which they meet these itens:
- Rules-based decision, where no human judgment is required
- Scenarios with digital data entry as information coming from PDF, Excel, or even searches on the WEB (yes … results of searches on the internet, whether google or another crawler);
- Data structured as a database;
- Stable and very repetitive activities, which are prone to errors;
- Scenarios in which data science can help in decision making.
The question of “but what can be automated by SAP Intelligent RPA” could have several answers, but the one I use in a simple way is: “anything boring and repetitive that is being done can be automated”. And, without a doubt, a robot can do repetitive activities much better, faster and with less errors than a person would do.
As for this blog, the sequence will be:
- (this) of contextualization and with details on how to install the tool.
- 20/02 showing step by step automation of a complete sales and logistics scenario
- 21/03 integrating this existing scenario and including intelligent decision functionalities
While the contents and examples are being built, take the opportunity to take the course that is open at Open SAP: Enter Next-Level Bot Building with SAP Intelligent RPA 2.0.
Image Source: Open SAP
Another important topic: we are setting up an SAP Online Track where the agenda will be only RPA. On February 26, the call for speakers link will come out, with dates and more information. There are many opportunities in this area which need to be explored. We cannot talk about intelligent enterprise without having SAP Intelligent RPA at the center of the discussion, as a transformation engine and, when relevant, connected to Data Science services to improve the accuracy of actions.
A spoiler, me and Eduardo Chagas will put together a presentation of an automation in the transport network of a business scenario using Transportation Management, Intelligent RPA and data science tools for decision making, along with the project plan and effort for the construction. Marssel Vilaça will present trends and opportunities for SAP Intelligent RPA for the Record 2 Report cycle, where automation in finance and accounting processes are extremely relevant. In addition, other colleagues in the community will talk about the topic, presenting opportunities and talking about the tool.
Before concluding, I personally think that the team that writes and updates the SAP Activate methodology should formally include in the Explorer stage, a presentation step for the robots available at the workshop. Considering that there are ready, easily usable robots, the exploitation of this as a solution to all ills – the lack of automation – needs to be explored.
This is part of the smart company concept … and when I am asked about why do I use SAP Intelligent RPA from SAP, my first answer is that, in addition to the ready robots and all the direct fit with SAP solutions, it is very good indeed as a tool.
Innovation for thought!