iRPA and SAP Conversational AI Bots: The Next-Gen Automation Enablers to power your Digital Transformation.
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iRPA and SAP Conversational AI Bots: The Next-Gen Automation Enablers to power your Digital Transformation


This is the second part of our blog series - Enabling Automation: Fast forward, where we will talk in detail about the automation enablers and use-cases around them. You can view the first part here: https://www.bpterp.com/Automation-Roadmap.php

Introduction

Digital transformation brings about radical reform in how organizations leverage technology to drive productivity and to enable flexibility and transparency. While it had been a pervasive undertaking across industries much before the pandemic, the COVID-19 crisis has forced both organizations and individuals to adopt digital platforms in their functioning in an extremely short span of time.

According to the IDG business impact survey conducted in July 2020, 59% of IT decision-makers opined that the pandemic has induced pressure to accelerate their digital transformation efforts.

In addition, data research published by IDC in May 2020, projected the global spending on digital transformation technologies and services to grow by 10.4% in 2020 to $1.3 trillion despite the budget crunch during the pandemic.  

The Role of Automation in Digital Transformation

Digital Transformation has been synonymous with automation. The benefits of automation have been well realized — it results in improved employee productivity, increased operational efficiency, higher customer satisfaction, and a sizable appreciation in the bottom line. According to Deloitte’s 2018 Global RPA Survey, an average of 20% of full-time equivalent (FTE) capacity was provided by RPA with 86% improved productivity and 59% reduced cost.

Hence, it is clear that the use of RPA, which picked up great momentum prior to the pandemic, is set to continue. In fact, post-COVID-19, adopting RPA will turn out to be an indispensable part of digital transformation and a worthy investment.

For instance, the US government witnessed thousands of unemployment claims growing exponentially due to the pandemic-imposed lockdown. They were incapacitated to handle such a surge as they operated with limited on-ground staff as most of them worked from home. The US government, therefore, instituted RPA with AI capabilities to extract information from claims and perform data entry, which were previously done manually. Incorporating RPA eliminated lengthy manual work in the verification of applications and reduced the processing time of each application which resulted in dramatically faster payouts.

SAP’s Suite of Intelligent Automation

  • 1) SAP iRPA
    • SAP Intelligent RPA, referred to as iRPA, is a robotic process automation layer of SAP’s Business Technology Platform (BTP) and an end-to-end cloud solution of automation tools. iRPA facilitates enterprises to redirect resources to high-value activities and achieve a seamless integration into the SAP application stack especially when companies have an SAP ecosystem for enterprise processes. iRPA houses comprehensive turnkey solutions that address a wide array of automation needs.

    • Key features of SAP iRPA
      • • Automates workflows and collates data from disparate systems in real-time.
      • • Integration with third-party technologies to capture, record, and integrate actions.
      • • iRPA offers Attended and Unattended Bot using a hybrid deployment model.
      • • Allows visual design of workflows
      • • Availability of APIs and machine-learning services to make bots intelligent.
      • • Repository of bot skills and analytics.
      • • Facility to analyze bot-operation statistics and expedite process execution history.
      • • Prebuilt bots to accelerate bot-building processes.
      • • Preconfigured content and predefined bots that allow a quick transition to SAP S/4HANA.

    • Benefits of SAP iRPA
      • • Relieves the user from fetching reports manually by collating them from multiple data sources.
      • • Detects and fixes data inconsistencies automatically based on historical data across the system.
      • • Identifies workflow errors and fixes them automatically without having to raise a support ticket.
      • • Monitors the interface regularly, allowing the support team to focus on more pressing issues.
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  • 2) SAP Conversational AI Bots (CAI)
    • SAP Conversational AI (CAI) is a unified and collaborative end-to-end platform to create, train, build, test, connect, and monitor chatbots embedded into SAP and third-party solutions. SAP Conversational AI can connect chatbots to popular messaging channels and offers conversational natural language processing, dialog management, and detailed API documentation.

    • Key features of SAP Conversational AI
      • • Scalable chatbots that offer personalized human-like conversations on multiple devices.
      • • Reduced bot development efforts and costs and enhanced workforce productivity.
      • • Low-code chatbot development suite with full integration with the SAP ecosystem.
      • • Facility to produce complex conversation flows and powerful logic with built-in testing capabilities.
      • • Faster time to market when enterprises already work with SAP Business Technology Platform.

    • Key Benefits of SAP Conversational AI
      • • Scalable chatbots that offer personalized human-like conversations on multiple devices.
      • • Guides users to the right page, answers FAQs, and automates tasks with chatbots integrated with SAP solutions.
      • • Reduced bot development efforts and costs and enhanced workforce productivity.
      • • Low-code chatbot development suite with full integration with the SAP ecosystem.
      • • Facility to produce complex conversation flows and powerful logic with built-in testing capabilities.
      • • Faster time to market when enterprises already work with SAP Business Technology Platform.
 

Use Case: SAP iRPA and Conversational AI Bot

    • 1) AP iRPA is Leveraged to Enhance Inventory Management
      • A Middle-Eastern retailer which sells kitchen appliances witnessed a huge uptick in its online sales during the pandemic while the sales in its retail stores dipped drastically. To cope with the demand and ensure on-time delivery, the company had a great need to incorporate automation to optimize processes by eliminating time-intensive manual processes.

      • The company performed the following activities every day, which were manually driven:
        • • Picklist from the e-commerce portal is downloaded and the stock for each item is manually validated against the stock reflected on SAP.
        • • The latest stock for each item reflected on SAP is further updated on the portal’s back-end system.

      • This process was several-fold more tedious and time-consuming as the stock had to be updated for hundreds of items and across all the e-commerce portals that the company maintained. The company incorporated SAP iRPA to automate a few minutes. Seamless integration between all the data environments was created using iRPA and all the aforementioned processes (as well as creating Sales Orders) was automated. The company was able to complete all these within a few minutes by leveraging automation which previously took hours.
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    • 2) iRPA to Automate Purchase Orders Placement
      • Employees in organizations face challenges to order daily-use items (like stationery) or raise IT tickets as they often find themselves in long queues and waiting lines on the hotline. Internal IT departments and ordering desks are overwhelmed to process such discrete items on a recurring basis. This process can be streamlined and automated using SAP iRPA and CAI.

      • The chatbot allows users to conversationally place orders, which are then passed to the RPA for execution. RPA automatically creates a purchase order and reports it back to the user. Organizations can divest IT teams from iterative low-value tasks and improve employee productivity as well as enhance employee experience.

    • 3) SAP Conversational AI Attends to Vendor Queries in a Bank
      • RaboBank, a Dutch multinational that specializes in food and agriculture financing, has instituted a chatbot in its finance department using SAP CAI. The chatbot is used to answer invoice-related questions for the company’s vendors. RaboBank’s finance department found that the department employees had to answer repetitive questions over and over again, which could as well be done by a bot.

        The enterprise chatbot - Billy, was instituted when the pandemic hit when most employees were working from home. Employees answered most vendor questions through email or phone and faced issues with network connectivity while working from home. This has now relieved finance personnel from answering simple vendor-related questions and enabled them to attend to more pressing and important issues.

    • 4) Nestle Uses SAP CAI in its HR Operations
      • Using SAP’s Conversational AI platform, Nestle has created an HR chatbot that provides self-service access to department data. This has proven to be especially useful as Nestle operates on several SAP applications for its business operations and provides an overarching solution to access any SAP-related information.

     

    Conclusion

    Digital platforms have disrupted value chains and created lasting changes not just in economics but in the ways organizations interact with their workforce, customers, and suppliers alike. In light of the pandemic, Robotic Process Automation has been an integral part of digital transformation as industries drastically scale up the digitization of business processes. iRPA and Conversational AI are prolific end-to-end enterprise automation solutions that come with several ready-to-use features and offer versatile customizations. In addition, they can be easily integrated with third-party and SAP applications without having to change the existing IT framework. The UI of these platforms is designed to help both citizens and experienced developers alike to institute intelligent digital frameworks across value chains.

    Both the platforms have the facility for enterprises to measure the achievement of business goals and plan the further deployment of the solutions in a live environment. Conversational AI’s digital assistant and iRPA’s intelligent automation together have an immense potential to eliminate time-intensive, repetitive tasks that greatly enhance workforce productivity. Leveraging these solutions, organizations can realize several benefits through cost savings, increased bottom-line, and enhanced workforce experience. SAP’s Conversational AI and iRPA offer turnkey solutions which allow organizations to achieve digital reform in a cost-effective and time-efficient manner.

     








About The Author

Vijay Vegesana
Vijay Vegesana

Principal Consultant - Intelligent Technologies, Blueprint Technologies

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