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The Next Phase for Robotic Process Automation


When it comes to responding to an urgent need by quickly developing an automation solution to minimize laborious, time-consuming, and error-prone manual work, robotic process automation (RPA) delivers great value.

But this is just a first step. Taken to the next level, intelligent RPA, also called “hyper-automation,” offers even more valuable benefits by combining traditional RPA with artificial intelligence (AI) and low-code/no-code development.

As an example, repetitive tasks and routine activities in finance, purchasing, and customer service were preventing Villeroy & Boch, one of Europe’s oldest ceramic manufacturers, from improving operational efficiency and delivering great customer service. The German premium tableware and bathroom products company implemented SAP Intelligent RPA for routine activities, helping streamline workflows and free up staff to focus on strategic activities.

Like other SAP customers benefiting from hyper-automation, Villeroy & Boch started with automating simple, frequently occurring tasks, such as responding to standard e-mail inquiries with attended RPA bots. Previously known as robotic desktop automation, attended RPA is a software assistant for the human user and interacts with a desktop application while respecting applicable business logic.

Operating internationally in 125 countries demands smooth workflows and operational efficiency across several business functions, but the ceramics group always had a bigger vision. The company wanted to create a fully automated invoice error-handling process by combining SAP Intelligent RPA and SAP AI Business Services to handle unstructured data and documents.

Now advanced RPA bots autonomously trigger tasks and automate more complex work such as processing attachments from e-mails according to their type and predefined confidence thresholds. So far, the 10 digital assistants Villeroy & Boch has deployed are handling 66,000 documents a year.

“Although we’re just at the beginning of our journey with SAP Intelligent RPA, we are already realizing its potential to help us work more efficiently, serve customers better, and gain competitive advantage,” said Daniel Neuhaeuser, head of ERP Core Solutions at Villeroy & Boch.

The advantages of going beyond traditional RPA and tapping the potential of hyper-automation are becoming more widely acknowledged. Industry analysts have forecast that the worldwide hyper-automation-enabling software market will reach nearly US$600 billion by 2022.

Hyperautomation services such as SAP Intelligent RPA enable companies to quickly and easily create bots to emulate human users and automate tedious, repetitive, mundane tasks. For example, today’s office workers spend a lot of time moving between different applications and must often reenter or copy and paste data, such as a customer’s name and address details, from one application to another.

Earlier this year, SAP Intelligent RPA was cited as a Strong Performer in The Forrester Wave™: Robotic Process Automation, Q1 2021. According to the report, “SAP’s RPA solution is a strong alternative for SAP customers, particularly for enterprises concerned with bots disrupting core SAP systems and those usually needing the central SAP development team to design, develop, and maintain RPA for clear accountability, or for companies seeking a feature-rich RPA tool that comes with a broad ecosystem of partners.”

Typically, customers report that SAP Intelligent RPA deployments free up between 15 and 30% of employees’ time, which means they can focus on tasks that deliver greater value to the organization and improve the customer experience.

Specific benefits of using SAP Intelligent RPA include being able to use tools such as low-code or no-code platforms, built-in integration and content for business process management, and fast, cost-effective deployment. By opening current tools to everyone in the enterprise, SAP Intelligent RPA extends its reach beyond software developers. Business users who have no coding skills but have functional expertise and technical acumen can become citizen developers and build their own automation.

To support this mission and help automate tasks in business processes, SAP Intelligent RPA offers a new bot-building and execution experience and a cloud-based design studio. This allows users to create and deploy software bots as digital assistants that automate repetitive tasks through a low-code approach.

This low-code tooling speeds up implementation time and offers a short time to value. More than 200 prebuilt bots are now available within SAP Intelligent RPA to help automate tasks, improve productivity, and make work more interesting for employees.

Source: SAP

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