Part 7 in the “Intelligent RPA” series about the evolution of robotic process automation and its potential impact on digital transformation
We are moving towards an enterprise world where highly repetitive human tasks are automated. By increasing the level of automation and reducing the number of tedious, repetitive tasks, organizations can give employees more time to focus on valuable tasks and increase human interaction.
We can embark on the intelligent enterprise journey by automating key business processes using two technologies, intelligent robotic process automation (arms) and conversational AI (eyes and mouth), working together. They perfectly show how human expertise and computer insights can build the intelligent enterprise of tomorrow.
This article will use the example of ordering IT equipment to show how it works. You can enhance quality and reduce cost by using both capabilities to create a digital workforce of robotic applications that automatically run your business processes in the background.
Common issues in manual processes
Nowadays, many companies around the world use complex and manual order-management processes for things such as IT equipment ordering. They face several issues, including:
- Long queue hotlines for users when they submit a new equipment order
- Repetitive order creation
- Manual ticket updates
- Wasted time with clarifications – back-and-forth telephone calls between users and the order desk
- Low customer satisfaction
- Inability to budget, plan, and forecast orders
- Human errors, e.g., high risk of incorrect data entry, missing documents, and miscommunications, given the multiple touchpoints involved
These kinds of processes make it difficult to get a complete picture of your sales-order processing cycle.
Speed this process with intelligent RPA and conversational AI
Let’s start with a concrete example. An employee’s laptop is broken, and he needs to order another one.
- The employee uses his smartphone to open an IT support chatbot powered by a conversational AI platform to order a new laptop.
- The employee asks IT to send the same model of laptop, and the chatbot replies by requesting a picture of the old laptop.
- The employee uses his smartphone to upload the image through the chatbot interface.
- The IT chatbot recognizes the model and asks for order confirmation.
- The user acknowledges by clicking “Confirm.”
You can see the whole process in this video.
That’s it! The purchase order, with a specific order number, is created automatically because the conversational AI chatbot triggers an RPA bot in the background to create a purchase order in the cloud system. The employee will receive the new laptop within the next few days.
In this case, RPA acts like the arms of the digital assistant, ensuring hands-free order creation. On the other side, the conversational AI chatbot keeps interactions natural and engaging, regularly communicating results to the user. It acts as the ears and mouth of the digital assistant.
To sum up, this process provides:
- A powerful combination of digital interaction and an automatic process execution
- Automated ordering with the least manual intervention
- A new-age IT experience for employees
- Enhanced customer service with intelligent bots from end to end
How intelligent technologies elevate employees
This example of IT equipment ordering is just one of countless examples of how intelligent technologies can speed business processes and help your organization achieve the high level of automation necessary to become an intelligent enterprise. It’s easy to imagine other use cases, including purchase-order approval or flight-ticket booking, for example.
With intelligent RPA, the first step is to let the bot know what to do, which you can do with a visual interface to create new skills for your bot and define the workflow of tasks to execute. The second step is to schedule the RPA bot execution – to define the trigger that will start the RPA bot.
Then the RPA bot will do the tasks independently, which brings two major benefits: First, by responding to user needs proactively and augmenting resources, it delivers a streamlined experience. Second, by reducing repetitive and time-consuming manual activities, it helps employees focus on higher-value processes, leading to new levels of operational speed and efficiency.
Meanwhile, with conversational AI technology, you can effectively train, build, connect, and monitor intelligent chatbots for the enterprise – for example, guiding the user to the right page, answering FAQs, and executing repetitive tasks. Natural language processing (NLP) technology in the background analyzes text inputs and enriches key data for a human-like understanding of information in any language.
Chatbots can be connected seamlessly to external communication channels like Messenger or Slack, as well as back-end systems. With training analytics, you can also understand how your users interact with your chatbots and improve their user experience based on collected data.
For more information, watch a short video showing a concrete example of how intelligent RPA and conversational AI work together. And please visit our SAP Intelligent Robotic Process Automation web page, and contact us for more information about SAP Conversational AI, SAP Intelligent RPA, or both.
And please listen to the replay of our “Pathways to the Intelligent Enterprise” Webinar, featuring Phil Carter, chief analyst at IDC, and SAP’s Dan Kearnan and Ginger Gatling.