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Change the Way You Work with SAP Process Automation

Authors Photo Precisely Editor | February 27, 2023

Data is the fuel that drives business decisions in today’s world. To use it effectively, organizations must invest in the people, processes, and technology that enable users throughout the organization to make sound business decisions based on trusted data. That includes making a firm commitment to business agility.

In its 2019 Global CEO Outlook report, KPMG highlighted the importance of agility and resilience during times of uncertainty. That report was published in May of 2019, well before the COVID-19 pandemic emerged onto the world scene. Notably, the authors of that report remarked that “67 percent of CEOs say that acting with agility is the new currency of business.” In the wake of the global pandemic, geopolitical turmoil, supply chain disruptions, and labor shortages, that statement is more true than ever.

If you juxtapose the data-driven imperative with the mandate for increased agility, the conclusion is clear: companies that manage and utilize data effectively and efficiently will find themselves at a distinct advantage over their competitors.

Moving and Manipulating Data with Ease

Automation plays a critical role here. In a tight labor market where top talent can often be difficult to attract and retain, technology offers a distinct advantage. By automating repetitive processes, organizations can free up their valuable human resources to focus on higher value activities. Even organizations that have downsized in the recent past likely still have subject matter experts who carry important organizational knowledge around with them. Automation allows those experts to leverage their talents to achieve a greater impact.

Automation is just one part of a larger picture. The most successful companies address data and processes in conjunction with one another. For example, an organization aiming to improve its data quality should also examine the processes used to create and manage that data in the first place.

man on laptop - SAP process automation

Product information, for example, changes frequently in most organizations. Updates to pricing, product configuration, packaging design and regulatory disclaimers may occur frequently, especially during times of rapid change. Making those changes quickly and easily is not just a matter of efficiency. It’s also about being more agile and maintaining high data quality at the same time.

Update SAP Master Data with Ease

Managing SAP master data is a formidable task. Creating and updating materials, customers, vendors, and core finance records requires substantial time, especially if you’re operating within the limitations of the SAP GUI. All these datasets are closely interrelated, of course. And, in many cases, SAP is the single system of record around which everything else revolves.

Automation helps you manage this data far more efficiently, but it’s essential that automation tools be designed to operate within the rules-based framework that keeps your ERP software running smoothly.

While many SAP process automation solutions focus on one or another link in the overall value chain, Precisely prefers to take a holistic approach that combines desktop automation with workflows and other process automation tools that span entire departments or divisions. The result is a complete end-to-end automation solution that delivers a broader range of benefits than simple desktop automation or process automation alone.

With Precisely Automate, you can extract data from SAP using Excel, make edits, solicit approvals, and post your changes back to SAP, without working through the slow, manual and error-prone process of entering data into the SAP GUI.

When automotive supplier Dorman needed to make a simple change to a subset of the material master records within its SAP system, the company calculated the time it would require to do the job manually. The effort would take 1,800 hours of work, require hiring temporary workers, and cost approximately $135,000. Using desktop automation, Dorman was able to complete the same tasks in just 150 hours, using their current workforce, saving the company over $123,000 with minimal impact to their business.

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Achieving Agility at Scale

If you’re running SAP as your ERP system, chances are you have experienced a situation similar to this. Most organizations can benefit from this kind of automation routinely. Large-scale changes to pricing are an extremely common use case. Many customers use automation in SAP’s Finance application. Adding journal entries or new GL accounts at high volume can be performed more quickly, more easily, and more accurately using automation.

Although there are some single-purpose automation tools available on the market, those fail to provide the broad range of benefits that a complete automation solution can deliver. A comprehensive approach, in contrast, allows users to dynamically link processes together, such that interrelated automation tasks are fully aligned and are performed in conjunction with one another.

To ensure high data quality, it’s important that users be able to validate the data against SAP’s business rules prior to posting changes to the system.

Precisely Automate makes it possible to positively impact your organization at scale, with low-code and no-code approaches to automation. That means less money spent on software development, and more power in the hands of your users. Automate enforces SAP’s user authorizations, ensuring that nothing can be changed without the appropriate permissions.

You can configure workflows in Automate to apply custom business rules. Your organization may require different levels of approval before posting journal entries, for example, depending on the total dollar amount of those transactions. You can configure Automate to route approvals based on your organization’s business rules and automatically post entries after final approval has been granted.

When do you know that the time is right for automating your SAP processes? If you’re struggling with errors in your data, chances are that automation can help. If processes are taking too long – for example, if bringing a new product to market is frequently delayed by data management tasks – you can certainly benefit from using a complete SAP automation solution. If you’re dealing with complex datasets that require input from multiple participants, automation can undoubtedly help you save time, increase accuracy, and improve organizational agility.

Precisely Automate is designed to digitize strategic data processes such as product launches, customer and vendor onboarding, GL account setup, and plant maintenance. With Automate, you can support the different SAP process automation and data needs of your regions, product lines, or business units with a complete workflow solution for maximum flexibility and greater impact.

To learn more about how Precisely Automate can help your organization, read our eBook How to Start and Build a Successful SAP Data Management Program