A lot of businesses depend on their ERP system to conduct business. Whether it’s SAP Business One, Sage 300, Sage 50, Odoo, or another ERP, critical data is processed and stored every day. These systems are powerful for managing business processes, but the built-in capabilities aren’t enough.
So many businesses spend hours and manual effort prepping data, launching ERP procedures, and other necessary activities to keep the business running smoothly. Many companies are looking at robotic process automation (RPA) help maximize ERP automation and reap the full benefits of an ERP system. ERP automation is also a way of ensuring data accuracy and keeping employees working on value-adding tasks.
Why Automate ERP
If we go back to the human jobs and the robot jobs, a human’s talents are much better used for jobs that require critical thinking and also creativity. Jobs that are customer-facing and strategic to your business need have to be done by humans. RPA can handle the robot jobs such as data entry, moving data from one place to another, also integration between applications. So sometimes, there’s an API that can be used for that integration and sometimes not. Sometimes we need to use the user interface and that’s where our bots or robots can come in and move that cursor and press that button just like a human was doing it. Robots do not make any data entry errors and they never need a day off. They can work 24-7. So a lot of our customers look at bots as assistants for their employees. That allows the employee to offload the mind-numbing work to that bot. So it really makes the workday more challenging. Again, they need to think and interface with customers but it also makes that workday a lot more enjoyable.
Not only do ERP processes need RPA to make them easier, but also to allow for business growth. If you’re bringing on 100 new customers per quarter, along with all their data, documents, and needs, you need a solution that can help you scale. No matter how much you give RPA bots to automate, they can keep going: nights, weekends, holidays, whenever. So you can grow without worrying that you’ll fall behind on ERP management.
Identifying Processes to Automate
How do you know what to automate within your ERP operations? Think about all the functional areas of your business. How could they benefit from automating ERP activities? Some common tasks where organizations use RPA with their ERP systems are:
- Inventory management: get automatically alerted when stock levels get too low or too high to maintain just the right amount
- Report generation: pull and send sales, financial, or customer reports as needed to the right people
- CRM to ERP data transfers: make accurate data the norm and take all the manual effort out of keeping your data current
Process Map and Optimize
Before you start automating, it’s important to create a process map to make sure you fully understand every step that needs to happen along the way. It’s not an improvement if you automate the process but skip a key step!
A process map should be like a flowchart, showing you how things are operating currently step by step. This is a great opportunity to see if there are any inefficiencies in the process or other steps that should be added. Make the most of your RPA implementation by improving the processes as you automate them. Automation is a great step toward ERP process improvement, but simply automating a bad process won’t get you as far as optimizing it will.
An investment for both the short and the long term
At some point, every legacy application will be updated, replaced or become obsolete, but until then, RPA provides the means for organizations to advance their technology forward with the adoption of Cloud ERP while continuing to leverage the critical functions the legacy application provides.
And when your organization is ultimately able to detach from its legacy application, RPA technology will continue to be of value to your ERP implementation, as we highlight here.