Best Practices for Automation of SAP Systems with RPA

Published on in Robotic Process Automation by Cristian Ignat

SAP solutions are the most popular ERP systems today. They allow for integrating different business processes and streamlining the work of industry specialists due to a vast number of template solutions. However, the deployment and implementation of SAP systems usually are full of large-scale and complex tasks.

The latest game-changing trend is using specialized robotic process automation solutions to automate work with SAP systems.

This article will discover the main barriers, difficulties, and advantages of automating work with SAP systems using robotic process automation.

What is SAP Automation?

SAP (System Applications and Products) automation streamlines tedious, repetitive business workflows in the SAP product ecosystem with the help of automation tools.

The SAPinsider Benchmark Report, published in Summer 2020, surveyed more than 200 SAP customers. It showed the increase in adopting automation technologies to fully embrace digital transformation, maximize process efficiency, and ensure a complete work-life balance for their employees.

There are two main reasons for automation. First, SAP has a complex interface that takes time to learn how to work with it. And the second problem — at the end of 2027, support for the SAP Business Suite 7 business applications will expire. There is only one option left — to migrate in advance to SAP S/4HANA*.

*SAP S/4HANA is a new AI and machine learning enterprise resource planning (ERP) system.

The first driver of robotic process automation is the employees, who want to focus on the intellectual activity instead of a manual working routine. The second is the imminent transition of companies to SAP S/4HANA.

According to the same study, the leading automation objectives for SAP customers are:

  • end-to-end automation between SAP solutions and other systems of the company (58%);
  • standardization of processes within the SAP S/4HANA migration (40%);
  • setting up and running software robots for process automation (RPA) (40%).

The main difficulties that limit automating work with SAP systems are the enterprise’s legacy IT systems and multiple non-standardized workflows.

Many of the surveyed by SAPinsider use customized and isolated ERPs, making it challenging to implement and scale automation solutions.

Enterprise architects could more easily scale automation systems across the organization if every department and ERP system worked with the same standardized processes. Therefore, many respondents said they now see SAP S/4HANA as an opportunity to start over, streamline processes, and implement automation.

For automation to be effective, businesses must seamlessly integrate automation across all systems used by an organization. Therefore, for many companies, the complexity of existing systems is a critical obstacle.

The most popular types of automation for SAP today are RPA platforms and workflow modeling and monitoring tools. 

Benefits of RPA Automation for SAP Systems

Whatever path the company chooses for itself shortly: continue to work in SAP ECC or migrate to SAP S/4 HANA — robots will be helpful.

Barriers limiting the implementation of solutions to automate SAP are not a problem in the case of robotization. The software robots will work equally well with a standard SAP system and a customized one with a large number of Z-tables.

At the same time, processes handled by software robots can include work with different systems, allowing automated end-to-end processes.

Another advantage of a successful RPA implementation in SAP is that it simplifies the work with complex user interface systems. Automation reduces interaction time with the system and the time required to train new employees to work in SAP.

RPA services provide tools for designing, building, and running bots in various applications, and some platforms also include integrated test automation, process and task mining.

SAP Automation Best Practises and Most Common Use Cases

The most popular area for automation is finance. For instance, a software robot can detect in-house billing differences between data sent from one subsystem to another and send it to the IT department for correction. With RPA for SAP, companies can automate:

  • processing of receivables;
  • processing of accounts payable;
  • invoice management.

In addition to finance, organizations automate a wide range of processes:

  • SAP S / 4HANA testing;
  • data migration for SAP S / 4HANA;
  • onboarding of new employees;
  • ERP risks and control;
  • payroll processing;
  • processing of production orders;
  • warehouse operations.

Example of SAP Automation with UiPath

Conclusion

When deciding to automate an SAP system, a user must pay critical attention to their chosen RPA vendor. 

Software should provide you with an intuitive visual interface, making setup fast and easy. It should allow you to automate any business transaction, from inside the SAP application to legacy systems. An RPA platform has to be secure and trusted by users and UiPath partners

Once you find the right tool for your SAP automation, you will save your business tons of time and money. SAP automation ensures that everyone in your organization is free from tedious routine tasks and can develop new skills and create exciting projects.

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