IT touches most employees on a daily basis, with many users traveling the same paths through interfaces and clicking the same buttons again and again. The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) promises to eliminate or automate many of these repetitive tasks, resulting in both relief for workers and massive savings for companies.

Yet creating transparency in the potential of automation and implementing more efficient, intelligent processes typically involves costly and consulting-heavy initiatives. SAP enterprise customers can now brace for change with new technologies.

In early 2019, a team of two at SAP set out to build a solution that provides enterprises with immediate transparency into the performance and efficiency of business processes — purely data-driven. The idea is simple: The team began building a tool that uses back-end data — so-called usage logs — to understand the efforts it takes to perform any business process running through an SAP solution. With this revolutionary idea, the team received funding through SAP’s internal product incubator and are now running their own startup with the Spotlight by SAP solution.

Identifying Automation Opportunities

“Once we realized the market potential for a data-driven approach to discover repetitive tasks that reduce overall productivity and worker satisfaction, there was no way back,” explains Gregor Berg, CTO of the Spotlight by SAP solution and one of the co-founders.”This became a full-time job.”

As of today, the cloud solution specializes in identifying and highlighting processes and activities where significant manual effort is applied and that are worthwhile to automate. Getting started is extremely easy. It takes less than 15 minutes to extract the required data, no installation and no implementation needed.

Soon, the SAP solution promises to not only provide transparency through analyzing system logs, but for the first time ever, to also understand the user journey through the front-end application. This is planned through augmenting the back-end data with user behavior mining. In collaboration with a team of students from research group Enterprise Platform and Integration Concepts (EPIC) at the Hasso-Plattner-Institute (HPI) in Potsdam, Germany, the employee-led startup is exploring the topic in a pilot solution showcased today in SAP Chief Technology Officer Juergen Mueller’s keynote at SAP TechEd Barcelona.

Automating Tasks that Happen at Scale

The visionary demo, shares how technology can be used to track and analyze user activities for a specific automation opportunity.

First, to understand how the system’s users interact with it, the pilot solution observes the user behavior and derives the most traveled user paths for any process the customer wants to drill into. The analysis also covers the total amount of time spent per process to prioritize which tasks to tackle first. SAP Intelligent Robotic Process Automation will then take these user behavior observations to streamline, simplify, and automate respective user interactions. Based on the given insights, the bot taking over these interactions can be generated automatically and deployed within minutes. Core business processes, such as an order-to-cash process, could now be seamlessly automated in an end-to-end approach — much faster than before.

Starting Point for Digital Transformation

Promises of automation leading to an increased focus on high-value tasks with companies, creating deeper customer and employee relationships, have been around for a while now. Equally, nearly every business pursues a digital transformation journey but struggles with succeeding or even where to begin. The Spotlight by SAP solution offers a user-friendly and fast way to identify inefficient business processes based on accurate insights, saving customers money and time by helping ensure they only invest in the exact spots where they have the opportunity for improvement. 

Start transforming your business processes and join the beta program for the Spotlight by SAP solution for actionable operations insights from all systems today. SAP Intelligent Robotic Process Automation is already available and can be purchased on SAP Store here. More information is available on the SAP Intelligent Robotic Process Automation area of sap.com.