Intelligent bots could well be the digital era’s dream workers, automatically carrying out repetitive tasks while people tackle responsibilities that humans are uniquely good at, like making judgment calls on business strategies or building relationships with customers.
Gartner researchers predict that over 50 percent of all large enterprises will deploy at least one bot or chatbot by 2020. In a video interview from SAP TechEd in Las Vegas, I saw a great example of how developers can create an intelligent bot using SAP Intelligent Robotic Process Automation in under three minutes.
“Complexity is increasing in the global, digitalized business world with greater demand for speed and cost-efficiencies,” said Sebastian Schroetel, head of Machine Learning for the Digital Core at SAP. “Intelligent robotics, otherwise known as smart bots, use machine learning and natural language to automate workflows, bringing data from different systems together in real-time. Conversational AI allows people to have more natural interactions with systems. Over time, using automated bots reduces errors and speeds up processes.”
Productivity Gains All Around
Consider business processes as simple as ordering a new laptop or checking on paid invoices. Workers manage thousands of similar requests daily, weekly and monthly, wasting valuable time performing the same steps over and over. Relegating processes like these to intelligent bots changes everything.
Instead of spending hours creating purchase orders, someone in procurement can focus on negotiating better contract terms with suppliers. Instead of wasting time searching for information about why certain invoices aren’t being paid, employees in finance can provide strategic recommendations to support business growth.
“Bots mean that people don’t have to reach out to multiple departments and wait for answers,” said Schroetel. “SAP Intelligent Robotic Process Automation orchestrates entire work flows automatically, saving time and reducing errors. With machine learning included, the solution can learn from past experiences and make more accurate decisions. Rather than focusing on isolated problems, workers can immediately see and address systemic issues. Ultimately, this reduces employee burnout and improves the customer experience.”
Shared Services Transformed
Schroetel said CFOs, CHROs, CIOs, and others managing shared service centers are eager for this kind of advanced automation to run processes more efficiently and in larger volumes.
“We’ve found the greatest opportunities for machine learning-enabled bots in shared service centers typically used by finance or human resources,” said Schroetel. “Like every part of the organization, these groups are under pressure to boost cost efficiencies while meeting increasingly complex global business demands.”
Back Office Leaps Ahead
Adding intelligence to automated business processes behind the scenes is a significant step forward for the back office and the entire company. There’s no question procurement is better served by strategic buyers. Finance can spend more time helping support an intelligent enterprise. Human resources moves away from transactions to become a strategic business partner. For many departments in just about every industry, intelligent bots are a dream come true.
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