How can organizations navigate the intricate landscape of SAP master data processes, overcome unique challenges, and leverage automation to revolutionize efficiency? In today's business landscape, organizations relying on SAP systems are increasingly turning to automation to streamline their operations. Despite the evident advantages, automating SAP processes, particularly those related to master data, poses unique challenges.
The insights presented in this blog post are derived from the 2023 State of SAP Automation Report, a collaborative effort between Precisely and ASUG (American SAP User Group). This comprehensive report delves into the current landscape of SAP automation, offering valuable statistics and trends that shape the industry.
Challenges in SAP Master Data Processes
The journey to automate SAP processes encounters various obstacles, with complexity standing out as a common roadblock. A recent survey revealed that 50% of respondents identified the complexity of SAP business processes as a significant challenge, while 47% struggled with understanding and defining the process requirements for automation. The intricate nature of SAP processes, customizations, and inconsistencies across systems contribute to this complexity.
Additionally, master data maintenance and governance concerns, representing 58%, further emphasize the complicated challenge of adapting processes for automation. The lack of clear process documentation (51%) adds another layer of difficulty, hindering efforts to optimize or redesign SAP processes effectively. (We will have another post and an upcoming series of webinars on Data Governance; you can register for that below.)
Benefits of automation
Eliminating Manual, Low-Tier Work:
Automation presents a game-changing opportunity to eliminate manual, low-tier work within SAP processes. The survey indicates that 74% of respondents see automation reducing the time spent on such tasks, with 45% foreseeing the possibility of complete elimination. By automating tedious data entry tasks, companies can redirect employee efforts towards more value-added tasks, fostering improved job satisfaction and lower turnover.
Improving Business Efficiency:
Automation not only benefits individual employees but also drives organization-level efficiency improvements. According to the survey, 74% of respondents cite improved efficiency as a primary benefit, with 52% acknowledging increased speed and responsiveness to business needs. These enhancements translate to a competitive advantage in areas such as time-to-market for new products and swift responses to market changes.
Cost Savings and Secondary Benefits:
The survey identifies cost savings (45%) as a significant benefit of automation, measurable across various organizational aspects. Secondary benefits, including scalability (38%), risk mitigation (24%), and system quality (24%), further contribute to the overall positive impact of SAP automation.
Addressing Organizational Barriers:
Organizational barriers, such as competing business priorities (61%) and budget constraints (42%), pose challenges to the optimization and redesign of SAP processes. By empowering citizen developers with business expertise, organizations can reduce the need for specialized skills, expanding automation initiatives using their existing workforce.
Automation Maturity Reduces Barriers:
The survey data suggests that as organizations mature in their automation adoption, barriers to optimization diminish. Companies with medium to very high levels of automation maturity report fewer challenges related to competing business priorities, lack of clear process documentation, and internal optimization skills compared to low-maturity organizations.
Precisely Automate (prev. Winshuttle): Streamlining SAP Data Management
Enhancing the discussion on SAP automation, Precisely Automate (prev. Winshuttle) stands out as a robust solution for streamlining SAP data management. This product facilitates data input into Microsoft Excel or simple web-based forms, automating workflows and approvals seamlessly. It ensures that each step of a business process is tracked, eliminating the risk of oversights. Automate can be configured to post data to SAP immediately after obtaining all approvals, fostering highly efficient collaboration with a "set it and forget it" approach.
Automation with Precisely also provides greater control over data quality, applying business rules to self-service web applications and Excel templates. With features to validate and check data against SAP before posting, errors are eliminated upfront, preventing data quality problems from emerging. This improved data quality addresses a myriad of challenges, delivering trustworthy data for confident business decisions.
Automation solutions such as Precisely Automate stand as a catalyst for organizations seeking to overcome the challenges specific to SAP master data processes. By eliminating manual, low-tier work, improving business efficiency, and addressing both process and organizational barriers, automation empowers businesses to achieve digital transformation and automation at a higher level of maturity. As organizations persevere with automation programs, they can expect tangible business benefits, including enhanced speed, accuracy, and agility in their SAP ERP landscape, with Precisely Automate leading the way in streamlining SAP data management.