Forrester invited SAP to participate in The Forrester Wave™, Robotic Process Automation, Q1 2021. In this evaluation, SAP was cited as a “Strong Performer.” This is the result of a three-year effort to create the best robotic process automation (RPA) solution for SAP customers.
2018-2020 — How SAP Became an RPA Vendor
Let me tell you how SAP started in the RPA market: Three years ago, after having been part of SAP’s machine learning initiative, I decided to focus on creating further value for SAP customers by automating business processes. For this, we put together a strategy and a business case and built a development team. We merged SAP technology with proven RPA technology from Contextor, acquired in 2018.
May 8, 2019, was a great day for us, with the launch of SAP Intelligent RPA at SAPPHIRE NOW; our booth and our sessions were fully packed and we received a lot of positive feedback from SAP customers and partners.
We rapidly closed our first customer deal with Villeroy and Boch, and the solution spread further. It received a lot of interest from more customers and partners that experienced our free trial to experience the outcomes of our solution in their own IT landscape.
Via many interactions with our ecosystem and analysts, sharing our road map, and getting new ideas, we constantly improved SAP Intelligent RPA. We enabled more than 50 partners worldwide, which helped us grow our customer base in any industry and any region of the world. End of 2020 we reached a major milestone with 1 million automations over the year:
According to a survey from another analyst firm in the fourth quarter of 2020, SAP is already in the Top 3 Automation Product Suppliers across the Global 2000 companies. Global 2000 is an annual ranking of the top 2,000 public companies in the world created by Forbes magazine. Published since 2003, it is based on a mix of four metrics: sales, profit, assets, and market value. These very large companies are the core of SAP customers, many of them having deployed SAP ERP and other SAP software for decades.
This survey shows that we have succeeded in providing these customers with an SAP solution that fits their needs. Three months ago at SAP Teched, we unveiled SAP Intelligent RPA 2.0, a major release of our product geared toward democratization of automation. It offers bot-building capabilities following a low-code or no-code approach, enabling non-technical business process experts to create customizable automations with clicks, not code. In addition, more than 170 prebuilt bot templates are available to automate and drive efficiencies in 12 lines of business for any industry, with about 60 prebuilt bots only for SAP S/4HANA.
This new release of SAP Intelligent RPA provides high flexibility while helping ensure IT governance. It received great feedback from the customers: “Great job, we saw and experienced many steps that have become much easier during the robot creation process,” said Balbir Singh Dhillon, Associate Director Intelligent Solutions at Zuellig Pharma. “Just the email capabilities alone save a lot of time and places that functionality in the hands of the citizen user and no longer dependent on experienced developers. The look and feel and the user experience were really great, and I can only see the product getting richer with additional features.”
2021 — SAP Named a “Strong Performer” in The Forrester Wave™: Robotic Process Automation, Q1 2021
At the end of last year, Forrester invited SAP to participate in its evaluation, The Forrester Wave™, Robotic Process Automation, Q1 2021. The report is now published, and in this evaluation, SAP was cited as a Strong Performer.
According to the Forrester 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.”
We could not agree more. Creating an RPA solution for SAP customers, our aim was to bring an automation tool that fits in their IT landscape and fulfills all of their governance requirements. Because their enterprise resource planning (ERP) is a key component of their daily operations, it is finely tuned by the IT department to run smoothly. For sure, our customers do not want any disruption in the way their ERP runs and need that any software robot interacting with the ERP to be fast and efficient, but without any risk of generating extra system load.
The prebuilt bot templates available in our SAP Intelligent RPA store are directly created and maintained by major SAP product teams, such as SAP S/4HANA already and soon SAP SuccessFactors and SAP Ariba. This approach offers a strong cohesion among existing SAP systems in place, increasing the bots’ performance. Our prebuilt bots are constantly updated and upgraded to support our customers’ latest ERP, HR, or procurement software releases.
We aim to provide the best RPA solution for SAP customers and this will go far beyond robotic process automation. The business process intelligence portfolio is a strategic initiative from SAP to deliver process excellence by analyzing, improving, and monitoring processes. Together with SAP Workflow Management, SAP Intelligent RPA turns process insights into actions to help drive digital transformation. It allows non-technical users to create automation scenarios without code, and to deliver outcomes quickly with predefined content.
Sebastian Schroetel is vice president and head of SAP Intelligent RPA.