With its promise for new levels of automation and employee productivity, artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the hottest topics in the market.
But unless you cut through the hype, it is sometimes hard to understand whether you can really apply these concepts to your everyday business processes – especially if you cannot afford substantial technology investments or scores of data scientists. For example, if you are in corporate finance or shared services, you know you could benefit from a combination of different automation scenarios for accounts payable (AP) and accounts receivable (AR) processes. But how can you get started with AI, if you do not have the right expertise in-house?
At SAP, we have been working hard to help our customers benefit from AI-based innovation. Leveraging machine learning, a branch of AI that allows machines to learn from data without the need to be programmed, we are progressively bringing a new level of intelligence and automation to SAP S/4HANA. This week at SAPPHIRE NOW, we have many interesting announcements about machine learning and SAP Leonardo, but if you are in finance, you really must check out SAP Cash Application.
Gaining Higher Efficiency and Improving Working Capital Metrics
This novel cloud service delivers an advanced level of automation for the clearing of incoming payments in SAP S/4HANA. It uses machine learning to match incoming electronic bank payments to open receivables. SAP Cash Application either automatically clears incoming payments or suggests a short list of possible clearing matches that your employees can quickly investigate. With this level of automation, you not only gain efficiency as your AR team can handle higher transaction loads, but also improve your days sales outstanding (DSO) and working capital metrics. With machine learning, it is easy to reach high automation rates without the need of a hand-tuned system.
Advancing Automation and Reducing Maintenance and Costs at Alpiq
Another major advantage of using machine learning in your payment clearing process is that your application seamlessly adapts to changing conditions, as it constantly learns from new data patterns and actions your AR team takes to match exceptions. This aspect is extremely important for Alpiq, one of our early adopters of this solution. Alpiq started a co-innovation project with SAP, because they wanted a solution that could effectively automate the payment clearing process with minimum maintenance and implementation costs.
Before working with SAP, Alpiq had used a traditional rule-based approach to automating its payment clearing process. But, with constant format changes and the addition of new payment methods, maintaining the rules had quickly become a challenge. As a result of the co-innovation project, Alpiq is confident it will be able to rely on a single integrated environment that learns from accountants’ behavior and leverages both historical data and existing AR workflows – with minimal maintenance required. Most importantly, the company is looking at automation rates of over 92 percent, enabling their shared service teams to process higher transaction volumes, focus on strategic tasks, and scale with the business.
Easy Access and Consumption
If you are considering increasing automation in finance, SAP Cash Application is a great way to start. As a SAP Leonardo cloud service, it can be instantly provisioned, and it automatically works with your SAP S/4HANA implementation. It allows you to take a pragmatic approach to innovation since you can start with a well-defined process that you can monitor and measure. This is important whether you are approaching automation for the first time or, like Alpiq, you want to modernize your automation strategy to lower costs and increase efficiency.
SAP Cash Application is now available for SAP S/4HANA, please visit our finance offering pages for more information. As you validate the transformational impact machine learning can have on your organization, you can decide to activate other solutions powered by SAP Leonardo and continue your automation journey with SAP.
To learn more visit us at SAPPHIRE NOW, and join my session where I’ll discuss improving cash flow and finance efficiency with extreme automation, or stop by the Finance and Machine Learning campuses to see the product in action.
For more specific product information, visit sap.com/ML or contact your sales representative.