Automation Academy

SAP Automation Ideas: What Processes Can You Automate with RPA?

31.07.2019
4 min read
sap automation

If your work is connected to finance, payroll or human resources, the odds are good that you have worked with SAP software (or at least you’ve heard of it!). Those are just a few work areas that use the wide capabilities of SAP. The list can seem endless, as SAP currently has around 425,000 customers in 180 countries (and 92% of the Forbes Global 2000!) making it one of the most popular enterprise digital ecosystems. Thus, it was only a matter of time until the question of SAP automation would occupy the minds of RPA companies.

WorkFusion’s SAP RPA automation 

When speaking about SAP automation, it is important to differentiate automation of the web application from automation of the SAP desktop client. 

While it was possible to automate the web application using special web actions with XPaths, until very recently, automation of the desktop client required digging into server API and custom ABAP coding — which was complicated, required a lot of technical knowledge and led to increased automation costs for business processes involving SAP. It also meant that automation capabilities for business users were very limited and were based mainly on using key combinations, clicks on coordinates and images, and OCR.

WorkFusion has a new approach to this problem that we introduced recently: a native SAP GUI desktop automation that is intuitive and aimed at business users.

How it works: WorkFusion bots see the SAP GUI internal structure and can interact with its elements: click on buttons, type in fields and perform other actions people can do. This makes it possible to just record actions in SAP and then play the recorded workflow. 

We’re very proud of this solution, which has earned us a formal SAP certification, making us a leader in this field among all major automation vendors.

Automation ideas in SAP

Preparing for our SAP certification, we have created dozens of pre-built use cases automating popular SAP processes. However, with so many tasks performed in SAP in multiple industries, it is almost impossible to offer a ready automated solution for all of them. Besides, with native SAP GUI automation, you can easily do it yourself.

Here are some ideas for processes that can be easily automated in SAP using RPA.

Invoice processing

Invoice automation in SAP is an easy choice because invoice processing is manual, performed regularly and is prone to many errors: a perfect fit for an automation use case. All stages of the process can be automated separately and combined:

  • Invoice receiving. Invoices are usually received via email and saved in a local file system.
  • Data extraction and categorization. Depending on the invoice format, data can be extracted using OCR or using a combination of OCR and machine learning (intelligent process automation in SAP), with the latter offering much broader opportunities for document processing.
  • Registering invoices. This is the direct part of invoice automation in SAP. The process is easily automated using the native SAP GUI automation approach. You can download and try an example of creating an invoice in the system that we have prepared.
  • Invoice approval and payment. Using decision rules, you can automate routing the invoice to the responsible person — this accelerates approval and payment, while also eliminating human errors in the process.

Human Resources

Human Resource management offers more good examples for process automation in SAP.

  • Employee onboarding. An onboarding process involves entering a lot of the same employee information into different systems. This process is very rule-based, so it can be automated using RPA. The bot will enter data from known sources (Excel files, employee documents, resumes, recruiting applications, etc.) in the SAP module and other systems used for employee management, register new hires in internal systems and send related emails.
  • Personnel administration. Other tasks that can be automated in SAP HCM (Human Capital Management) are the actions related to personnel administration, or any employee actions, such as change of position, reassignment, termination, or other changes in the employee’s status or employment. Automating this process will also help to synchronize data in all systems as human errors are reduced.

Warehouse management

Various processes related to warehouse management can be automated in SAP. Below are some examples.

  • Stock movement. The bot will log into SAP, get all stock movement records for required materials for a specific period and send an email to relevant people. 
  • Warehouse stocks for material. The robot will regularly get current stock lists for a specific material and send an email to the responsible person.

Automating these processes will monitor material stocks the warehouse is likely to run out of, and then:

  • Stock transfer. Automating the process of stock transfer in SAP reduces errors and saves time when processing transfer of stock from plant to storage, from storage to storage, from storage to company, etc. The bots will register the transfer and then send emails to relevant parties.

These are just a few SAP processes that can be automated. If you are interested in seeing SAP automation in action, just request a demo at contact us page.

Want to see SAP GUI automation in action