Digital Purchasing and Automated Production Processes Run Beyond Simple + DEMO | SAP TechEd in 2020
Welcome to session DT120, which is on digital purchasing and automated production processes run beyond simple. My name is Yan Liang. My colleague, Hardeep, and I will take you through the overview and content strategy of SAP's Intelligent RPA in today's session. A brief intro of ourselves. Hardeep? My name is Hardeep Tulsi, and I'm part of S/4HANA Product Success and Customer Co-Innovation Team. I focus on increasing the adoption of intelligent technologies within SAP S/4HANA.
I have multiple years of solution architecture and customer advisory experience, guiding them on strategic projects. I am currently focused on SAP S/4HANA product management using intelligent technologies. As for me, I've been part of S/4HANA Product Management Team since 2017, and I champion the intelligent robotic process automation topic for S4. I currently manage pre-built RPA content definition across different lines of business and industry sectors and lead customer adoption activities for RPA. I've been a frequent speaker in industry events, customer forums, and guiding C-level conversations regards to digital transformation.
Let's take a look at today's agenda. First, we will provide an intelligent automation overview with an intro of SAP's Intelligent RPA, giving more architecture and solution introduction. Then we'll preview the deployment of bots in cloud factory. Hardeep will talk through SAP Intelligent RPA best practice content with SAP S4 by explaining how to consume content via the RPA Store. Some real life business cases where SAP Intelligent RPA have a great proven ROI will be presented in the areas of production operations and automation for project-based services. Finally, we will review an end-to-end process from account receivable and accounts payable persona point of view.
Finally, we will conclude today's session. We at SAP intend to deliver an intelligent, integrated automation suite, leveraging RPA as an orchestration platform. In this diagram, we have three elements of AI working together, with RPA being positioned in the center. It execute repetitive, time-consuming tasks in a user-defined workflow, where bots can run either attended or unattended mode.
User interactions come with conversational AI. It assists user with access to peer for guidance and interactions or for smart support with automated chat bot. It can then hand over further process activities to RPA.
With machine learning services fully integrated in the RPA platform, bots can learn from customer-specific history and exceptions to predict or optimize business outcome. So in short, our intelligent RPA is where RPA are the the hands or the legs of the robot. Machine learning is acting as the brain and takes the decisions. And conversational AI plays an interfacing role to receive and disseminate instructions. Let's revisit the definition of RPA.
RPA is a digital enablement technology that predominately leverages a combination of user interface and service-level features to create automation routine. RPA currently is one of the most popular forms of AI application areas, as it allows companies with legacy systems to automate their current workflow and accelerate digital transformation of business processes by automatically replicating tedious actions to free up human workers for more value-based tasks. There are two modes. Unattended bots are fully automated processes, where robots are working autonomously with human supervision only.
Examples are purchase order sent to an inbox and have to be read and identified. Attended mode refers to partially automated process, where robots are working with human, and are also called desktop robotic desktop automation. For example, an insurance clerk is called by a customer who has an accident. He doesn't want to click through x different number of systems to get to his data.
He wants to have an overview, a dashboard of the results of many sub-steps needed to get the required outcome. In this case, an attended bot helps the clerk navigate the system. There are a few key criteria to select automation cases, and typically, we as a team help you review the opportunities and determine use cases applicable to your businesses. In general, we bucket three areas for automation opportunities. First is data collection. Typical requirement is to consolidate and manipulate data from multiple sources, such as Excel, vendor portal, SAP systems, or multiple application touched by the user during a process execution.
Examples, such as Excel, Outlook, office productivity tools, or web applications, backend systems such as SAP S4, SAP Legacy ERPs, or non-SAP systems. The second area has to do with collaboration or actions that require workflow triggers, tasks such as approval, follow up with multiple stakeholders, monthly reports, or monitoring emails, or even integration to other systems. The third opportunity area is around productivity improvement. So any process can be accelerated and improved by a digital assistant.
For example, the integration of chat bots with RPA is to perform operational work on users' behalf. Overall, RPA is to address manual, high volume, repetitive tasks, bring data from various systems together, and sometimes provide a way to integrate multiple systems. There is a wealth of resources via SAP Cloud Platform to bring intelligent technologies and standard content to enable process excellence.
To add intelligence to RPA, we leverage machine learning data services, which provided an easy processing of documents for unstructured data to be embedded into the RPA workflow and ML services used to also improve RPA training. For conversational interfaces, which can serve as a front end, we have integration through the platform with SAP Conversational AI services. To discover automation opportunities, which we have multiple tools for, you can simply look at how users are using SAP system. Today, we can run a tool called Spotlight, which is a report highlighting the usage of process and to identify opportunities for further automation. For indepth data analysis, we have a co-offering with SAP Process Mining by Celonis.
With pre-built bot content, we can maximize user automation experience in one single platform. Our intelligent RPA service is running on the SAP Cloud Platform and has three main components. First, the Design Studio is to capture user interactions, graphically designing the bot workflow. Second is the Agent, which is a runtime execution of bots in various virtual, on-premise, or hybrid cloud environment. Factory is the third, which is the main platform, having an overview while robots are actually in action to know percentage of work completion, manage deployment of bot agent, et cetera. With the above tooling, SAP Intelligent RPA lets you build and orchestrate intelligent bots which can accelerate process automation.
RPA works for SAP and on non-SAP system as a general purpose tool. Our predefined contents are of course for SAP applications-- but we have very specific connectors built -in to the platform to allow quick integration with productivity tools and browsers. Now we will take a look at the tools in more detail. The Design Studio, which is the suite of tools in an integrated dev environment focusing on process automation development, it covers specification and development perspective with an application capture, and a code editor, and a workflow designer, and many, many more development features or widgets.
For instance, via the studio, you can manipulate different data objects through a library of SAP GUI interfaces to help ensure action triggered by your bots are secure, stable, and fast, and follow application standards. Relevant GUI activities can be drag and dropped in the Workflow Designer tool and used in the Visual Editor and step-by-step debugger to improve compliance and analysis capability through the audit trail. Direct access to Microsoft Office, such as Excel, Word, or Outlook, are also support through our connectors, as well as some other third party tools.
In addition to the Desktop Studio, the SAP Intelligent RPA Cloud Studio is the web application used to design bots to automate your application in a much more simpler way-- achieve our vision for no-code approach to process automation, allowing business user to build bots without having to write a single line of code, just by dragging and dropping elements in an automation canvas. In the Cloud Studio, a business user can record all snippets of his large processes and store them in the cloud via Process Recorder. And then the snippets can be organized via the studio to make a bot to automate the intended process. The business user does not have to have a programming experience. Yet via the simple process recording and workflow assembly, the bot can be created easily and quickly.
Currently, the studio is part of SAP Intelligent RPA 2.0 release. At the time of this recording, 2.0 is in beta and expected to be generally released later this year. Note that when SAP Intelligent RPA tool will be released, the 2.0 feature will automatically
appear in your SAP Intelligent RPA tenant, without you having to do anything other than update your agent to the latest version and run the new 2.0 feature. Next is the Agent, which is the runtime execution of the bot. Currently, only Windows version is available, and it can be run either as Attended or Unattended mode, tied to the automation scenario created via the desktop or the Cloud Studio.
The agent contains a set of connectors to interact with different applications and technologies and maintains variables for each application and a list of libraries with method to interact with the application. When the agent runs in Attended mode, it's able to start applications in Full Screen or Compact mode, which can be visualized for cases such as training, contextual help, quick launch. In the example on the right, the system is used as a guidance for performing the main task for an end user, in this case, for the final approval confirmation. So putting together a workflow in the studio is very straightforward using API triggers and notifiers, which simplifies the integration of external applications. And SAP Conversational AI and Intelligent Business Process Management are already connected.
And let's see an example of customer onboarding for a bank. Here, a RPA bot can be initiated by external application via trigger to verify lead, allowing you to transmit parameters to the RPA bot. In the workflow, a rule is applied. For hot leads, the bot is called to process lead and trigger approval in the workflow. When automation ends, RPA bot can send a status and some data back to the external application via a notifier, in this case, an email notification to the customer.
Now, I'd like to hand it over to my colleague, Hardeep, to explain SAP S/4HANA predefined RPA best practice content. Today, I will be taking you through SAP Intelligent RPA best practices that are available on the SAP Intelligent RPA Bot Store. These best practices are available for all the customers who are working on the S/4HANA or S/4HANA Cloud.
We will be looking at the different aspects of the bots that are available on the Bot Store, and you can find those easily by navigating into our SAP Intelligent RPA Best Practices package that shows how the intelligence is introduced into the different end-to-end processes. This is a cloud-based product with set of tools that orchestrate and manage your bots. Let's take a look at how the design of these bots are done. There are unattended bots, which are digital workers.
They work while the business users are not available, and then they can take care of the business transactions in an automated way to bring efficiency into their end-to-end business processes. There are API-based bots as well as the UI screen navigation bots that can work as digital workers, these are connecting different processes within SAP S/4HANA and making process automation while the business users are not available. And there are attended bots, which are digital assistants. These digital assistants help the business users in making their job more effective while they are working on certain tasks. For these bots as well, we have UI as well as API-based navigation, which makes the bots very robust and effective in terms of automating the end-to-end processes. Next, we will look at how you can navigate into the SAP Intelligent RPA Bot Store.
There are different categories where you can filter by either line of business, industry, or as well as research the bots that you are looking for. You get the full description about the bot, what's new in those areas, what are the details behind that content. It's available to you in the documentation that we provide in the Bot Store. This is also available to you to download the code files, which you can use to modify the projects that fit your needs and download projects along with the source code, so that you can make enhancements as you need to fit your business requirements. We will now go into real life business use cases where SAP Intelligent RPA had proven a great ROI. Leveraging pre-built bots for SAP S/4HANA manufacturing to increase the production operations efficiency is one of the area where many customers are using the automation to help bring efficiency into their manufacturing processes.
Business users are often required to create the manufacturing orders and then print out the production order pick list. This is now done with the digital automation. The digital automation helps look at the production orders that are due for confirmation and then perform the appropriate action to make the production order confirmed. The business users then go through the quality inspection through the inspection log processing and update the usage decision with the help of digital automation. The users also monitor the progress of the goods movement and the activity posting with the help of SAP Intelligent RPA bot, which helps in making this post goods movement easily accessible to the business users with the help of automation.
Finally, the user sets the outbound delivery based on the sales order and provides the proof of delivery. This is one of the process which helps many companies in removing the manual work with the real time information and automation, which helps them to bring the efficiency into their production operations. We have certain scenarios in the delivery process where we continuously need to automate different tasks.
The delivery process is a complex process where the user needs to upload the routes and transportation zone, create a combination of departure transportation zones, and receiving transportation zones, assign those routes to the combination of departure and receiving transportation zones. It's a manual activity. And this is now done with the digital automation. The SAP Intelligent RPA bot provides an efficient way to upload the list of routes for transportation management. The planners can track the output of each route in a spreadsheet and submit the multiple routes in one request. This is often the case in the larger organizations with the delivery process, where users needs to upload routes, transportation zones, and assign these routes to the combination of departure transformation zone and receiving transportation zones.
This way, we bring efficiency in order to track their routes, classify users by zone, and get the values of cost for transportation. This is one of the ROI that our customers are using with the help of digital automation. We look at the different scenarios for industries, where many customers have found the professional services industry scenarios to be most useful in terms of managing their terminated employee. Often times, when the employees leave the company, it is necessary to update the open projects for which they are staffed to as well as purchase requisitions and purchase orders created for services provided. This automation bot will identify all the employees whose contract will terminate soon and return a list of ongoing projects, purchase requisitions, and purchase orders for the employees that are assigned to those targeted segments and also to those projects.
The business users like project managers, and the purchasers that can benefit with the list of purchase requisition and purchase order that is provided by the bot. This is the digital automation area within the professional services, and it shows how it improves the efficiency and effectiveness of a project manager managing the different project activities. In the project environment, where you have multiple project stakeholders working on the different commercial projects, when the employees are changing their roles, it is necessary to mass update these projects with the right project stakeholders at the project header level across all relevant projects.
With this bot, we bring in the automation that helps the project manager to update either a specific project or a mass list of projects for different project stakeholders, like project managers, project accountant, project partners, and project controllers. This bot also sends you the audit log for the changes that are done on the projects and gives the complete control with the automated process to the project manager. With the project managers working on multiple projects, there are often requirements where the time and expenses are posted incorrectly to a WBS element, and they need to be transferred to the correct WBS element.
In order to do that, we have come up with a digital automation that allows you to mass transfer the relevant time records from the one WBS element to another and also helps you reverse the posted transaction from the old WBS element which you have incorrectly posted and reposting them to the new WBS element. Let's take a look at the demo on how the project managers bring the digital automation to improve business process for project-based services. When the employees leave the company, or change department, or are on sick leave, it is necessary to update open projects with the replacement.
Manually finding and changing all the project roles is very time consuming. Let's take a look at how SAP Intelligent Robotic Process Automation help in keeping project activities under control with minimum human intervention. By making use of Robotic Process Automation, you can quickly replace project stakeholders across all relevant projects and update optional project roles, such as project partner, project controller, accountant, and that are left empty upon project creation. In a scenario where the project manager leaves a company, you can maintain a substitute by providing a old project employee ID as well as the employee ID of the resource that will be taking over.
Once the project role update is finished, the newly assigned resource will receive a notification by email, and a log report is sent out at the end of the process, listing down the projects that could not be updated due to errors as well as the projects that are successfully updated. After logging into the system, the new project manager find the open projects available in the Plan Customer Projects and Plan Internal Projects Fiori apps. Oftentimes in the project-based services, the project is set up wrongly or posed by mistake to a WBS element. All time entries and expenses charged to an incorrect WBS element need to be transferred then to the correct one. When there are many postings involved, manually transferring them can be very time consuming.
Let's see how SAP Intelligent Robot Process Automation helps keeping the project activities under control with minimum human intervention. By making use of Robotic Process Automation, you can mass transfer relevant time records from one WBS element to another. This involves the reversal of posted transactions in the old WBS element and reposting them to the new WBS element.
The project manager can enter the required selection criteria applicable to the time transfer in the input pop-up. The bot will then validate the selection criteria and checks if the old and new WBS element that belong to the internal project. If the bot is executed in the Test Run mode, a report will be compiled with the time entries that were identified based on the selection criteria. The project manager can review the report and choose the time sheet record that should be transferred. The outcome of the bot execution can be verified by the project manager in the Notify Missing Time Fiori app. A log report is sent out at the end of the process, listing down the time sheet records that were not reversed and reposted due to errors, as well as, timesheet records that were successfully processed will also be listed in the log report.
Thank you. Let's take a look at how the intelligent technologies help the different end-to-end business processes. We have the machine learning and deep learning that helps provide the scalability across the enterprise IT infrastructure. Then we have the next generation interactivity, which gives the business user an experience based on the voice, vision, and messaging to replicate how people interact in the real life scenarios. With intelligent Robot Process Automation, we bring in the efficiency to automate the different business processes right from the different business areas, like HR and going into the finance and procurement.
Let's take a look at it, how it helps the accounts receivable manager. Accounts receivable managers are able to make accurately financial transactions, monitor cash inflow to highlight profit, foster strong working relationship with their customers by resolving their disputes. In their daily activities within the invoice to cash process, they have to go through a number of tasks, monitoring the incoming emails for the payment advices, uploading the payment advice files, reconciling the open invoices and payments, then alerting if there are any skipped invoices in the documents that we receive from customers, then going and notifying the customers of the dispute cases, monitoring the incoming emails, and update dispute cases. Let's take a look how intelligent technology help accounts receivable managers in doing all these tasks. And this is where we have these intelligent technologies bringing the efficiency and effectiveness to accounts receivable process, we have bots looking at the incoming emails that are coming as the payment advices documents from the customers and loading it into the SAP S/4HANA system. The machine learning look at the payment details that are automatically extracted from the PDF document, and the payment advices are created in SAP S/4HANA.
Machine learning then helps match payments with the open receivable and clear payments. Automatic processing of payments, the process starts with the list of bank transactions, where SAP have standard clearing rules, but oftentimes, the significant number of payment transactions require manual processing. Re-processing of the bank statement Fiori Tile will provide you the list of open payments, but accounts receivable clerk or an accounts receivable manager going into each of these line items, following up with the customers on these open payments takes a lot of manual activity, which is where we bring in the machine learning, which runs an inference job that sends these open items to the machine learning services and return the proposal based on the configured auto-clearing thresholds. The proposal satisfying the confidence thresholds are automatically cleared.
Historical clearing information is also induced as an intelligent ML matching criteria, and in cases where the machine learning doesn't meet those criteria, then the multiple proposals for the payment are sent to the AR accountant, where he can run the reprocessing steps to perform and accept these proposals and apply it to the account to clear the payments. Situation technology helps us alert when the invoices are missed in the payment advice document. Today, the accounts receivable accountants only find out about the invoices deliberately excluded from the customer payments once these payments are received, processed, and allocated. This information is usually presented by the customer payment advice document, which is received several days before the actual payment. Situation technology helps us identify these skipped invoices in the payment and in the financial closing period that is required for the accounts receivable accountant to act proactively and identify this information at the right very moment. It will give the business user extra time to act upon these unpaid invoices.
Finally, the bot will follow up with the customer and notify the customer on the dispute cases and sends an email confirmation with the dispute case number. SAP Intelligent RPA Bot will also help in getting the customer follow-ups and finding out the notes from the customers and attaching it to the dispute case. This is how the SAP Intelligent RPA helps you extract the payment advice documents that are coming from the email and uploading it into S/4HANA. This is a standard best practices bot that is available on the SAP Intelligent Bot Store. We have the dispute case creation, which is also part of the accounts receivable process, and this is available as well on the Bot Store.
This is how the bot creates the dispute and follow up with the customers on their response and attach it to the dispute case. Let's take a look at accounts payable manager, where they are able to create the supplier invoices easily, close faster period-end closing, and communicate with the supplier effortlessly. They have to go through the number of tasks, like uploading the supplier invoices from emails, reconciling the GR/IR postings, collaborating with the processors to clear those GR/IR accounts, creating the supplier down payment requests, replying to the supplier invoice status request, and then checking the completeness of the supplier master data.
Let's take a look how the intelligent technologies help with the GR/IR process. And this is where we have to clear goods receipts and invoice receipts accounts. So the GR/IR reconciliation is important when there are incoming goods and incoming invoices, and the difference of amount or the quantities between the invoices and goods receipts are the reason why the FI documents cannot be cleared automatically.
In scenarios where the goods are not delivered completely, or the wrong goods are delivered, there are cases where there are errors in the invoices. And the goods or invoice receipts are not entered correctly. These are some of the learnings where machine learning analyse the unclear postings and clear those postings with predefined thresholds and recommend the next steps for the FI posting on the purchase order item. Then we have intelligent technologies helping the complete accounts payable process, we look at different scenarios. Like, bot finds the supplier invoices that are coming in the email, and machine learning classify these GR/IR postings mismatches and recommending the next steps. The SAP technology for situation handling helping if there are changes on the processors and the GR/IR item details, then bot creates the supplier down payment request and post the general entry.
The SAP Intelligent RPA also automatically reply to supplier invoice status check request and ensures the supplier master data to avoid any errors during the payment proposal runs. With that, we have shown you how, the intelligent technology help the different end-to-end business processes. We have different other sessions that are available to you to take a deep dive into digital purchasing and SAP Intelligent RPA getting started with your first intelligent ERP use case, and standardizing the consumption and operation of machine learning in S/4HANA. Please take a look at our SAP Intelligent RPA Store, Learning Hub and blog posts that will help you understand more about these intelligent scenarios. Combining your learning experience from the TechEd, you will get an exclusive path to build and maintain SAP skills anytime and any place.
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