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SAP touts imminent arrival of new "out of the box" automation tools

SAP is gearing up to launch a new business process automation (BPA) layer “delivered by SAP out-of-the-box” in the wake of its 2021 acquisition of process mining company Signavio, CEO Christian Klein says.

Speaking on an earnings call as the German ERP heavyweight reported cloud revenue growth of 25% and a cloud backlog of €11.3 billion, Klein told analysts: “We are going to do an announcement [on Signavio].

“I don't want to steal the thunder of the team, but what will clearly differentiate SAP [is that you won’t need to buy] best-of-breed solutions to analyze, to actually benchmark and then automate and configure business processes. So the business process automation layer will be delivered by SAP out-of-the-box..."

He added: “Our engineering teams put a lot of work into that technical wise [sic], but also content wise. And with the Business Technology Platform where the data layer sits, where all the other services are sitting, the combination of these assets, is not something what others can easily match…”

SAP reported strong Q3 earnings.

Signavio already had a product that allowed customers to connect SAP ERP applications or SAP S/4HANA software systems and surface process weaknesses and improvement opportunities.

Tighter integration post-acquisition follows considerable consolidation in the adjacent space, with Process Gold having bought UIPath, Abbyy acquiring TimelinePI, and SAP having bought Signavio. (Fellow German software firms Celonis and Software AG are also major players in the business process automation space. )

Talking about how SAP could add further across the stack, SAP CEO Klein told analysts that new client Schneider Electric was a strong example. He said: “We did a fit-to-stand up with Schneider Electric. They had clear expectations with regard to process automation and really efficiencies in the business.

“We went down five levels design to operate, hire to retire, quote to cash all the financial business processes and we came out with a fit for over 30 factories for the end-to-end operations, and this is what we are now doing step-by-step; we have modular [processes] where they can also see… every quarter business benefits on the automation side, on the business model change and we [are] also co-innovating on sustainability.”

BPA companies can do things like pull log data from existing IT systems including ERPs like SAP to provide comprehensive visual of how processes really operate and where bottlenecks are.

By spotting redundancies or instances of user error companies like Celonis claim to be able to transform how well a system supports its business by identifying and removing troublesome process steps, supply optimisation, improving time to market and stripping out or automating repetitive steps.

See: Process mining specialist Celonis goes from dull, to $11b-dull