Discovering use cases for low-code/no-code applications and automations

Objectives
After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Identify typical scenarios for SAP Build Process Automation
  • Find use cases in business pain points
  • Discover use cases in industry-specific activities
  • Explore your IT landscape for use cases
  • Watch for process patterns
  • Consider the maturity of automation
  • Map the factors for complexity of LCNC projects

Introduction: Identifying Typical Scenarios for Automation and Applications

When you are getting started as a citizen developer, you may already have exact use cases for automation and digitalization in mind or you may have a notion of what is needed but no specifics.

There are many typical examples and ways to discover potential scenarios you could implement, from reviewing your daily pain points to complying with industry-specific regulations, to searching for new options in the pre-built content store.

For inspiration, SAP Build offers many examples of low-code / no-code use cases by line of business as well as pre-built content to support faster development.

When thinking more broadly about the types of use cases that could be implemented across your organization, it‘s important to understand it’s digital maturity and factors for complexity of digitalizing and automating activities, in order to prioritize your efforts.

Identifying typical scenarios for automation and applications

You can build, adapt, improve, and innovate many kinds of business processes with minimum assistance from IT - for example:

  • Automate manual, repetitive tasks such as copy-pasting data into a spreadsheet.
  • Digitalize manual and semi-automated processes, for example, capital expenditure approvals.
  • Automate when there is a high volume of process steps, think of entering sales order data.
  • Automatically aggregate data from multiple systems, and purchase record updates.
  • Extend and adapt the standard flows of your business applications (SAP or non-SAP, on-premise or in the cloud), for example adding several levels of approvals for a sales order.
  • Automate end-to-end cross-application workflows, that span several systems (for example your ERP and your human resources (HR) systems), in employee onboarding processes.

Finding Use Cases in Line of Business Pain Points

Most businesses have an organization structure based on functions or departments such as Finance, Procurement, and Human Resources. Each of these lines of business (LoB) has responsibility for certain processes and related results, and sometimes these span across more than one LoB.

Identify use cases by reaching out to business leaders and managers of respective LoB to know business challenges, missed KPIs, and inefficiencies reported due to manual processes.

Exploring Scenarios for SAP Build by LoB

For example, is the purchasing process to slow? Build a use case to get faster manager approvals for purchase requisitions while keeping the purchasing requestor and manager instantly informed about the status: Create a Purchase Requisition in SAP S/4HANA Cloud with SAP Process Automation – YouTube

Another example, would be mass updating of master data. This can be a tedious, repetitive process, so why not do it automatically: Mass Updating Asset Master Data in SAP S/4HANA with SAP Process Automation – YouTube

Discovering Use Cases in Industry-Specific Activities

Many businesses focused on one industry or the other, such as automotive, retail, pharma, agriculture, consumer products, etc. Each of industries has it’s own environment in terms of regulation, quality standards, customer access, etc.

Identify use cases by reaching out to business leaders and managers of respective industry specializations to know business challenges, missed KPIs, and inefficiencies reported due to manual processes.

Reviewing industry applications for SAP Build

For an example of an industry-focused process, see this SAP S/4HANA emissions management process which is integrated into the Plant Maintenance and Incident Management Process.

  • The purpose of this automation is collecting and monitoring emission data at different frequencies (hourly, daily, monthly, half-yearly, yearly). This data is put into the system with Fiori apps and checked against limits defined in SAP S/4HANA.
  • Why is this automation needed? Otherwise, The emission data is entered manually into SAP S/4HANA by an environmental technician and is therefore prone to errors. If the entered data exceeds the limit defined in the system, it must go through the multi-step approval flow by the respective responsible managers. The standard process does not include the approval process for the data entered; it can be extended with SAP Process Automation.
  • The extension process will:
    1. Enable approval of collected data at different levels.
    2. Analytical comparison of two different data collections with each other.

Watch the video: Extending an SAP S/4HANA emission management process with an SAP Process Automation approval flow - YouTube

Exploring Your IT Landscape for Use Cases

The various SAP systems that your company is running offer many opportunities for augmentation and extension. For example, if you are using the following SAP apps there are ready-to-use automations available for you to select, modify and use as per your requirements:

SAP S/4HANA

SAP Ariba

SAP Business by Design

SAP SuccessFactors

Explore real examples of SAP Build Process Use cases augmenting SAP systems with the use case finder: SAP Process Automation: Automate Your Intelligent Enterprise

Watching for Process Patterns

Noticing processes where you see similar patterns of manual, repetitive, rule-based work is also a way to identify use cases for automation or application development.

Transforming Business Patterns Digitally

Considering the Maturity of Automation

When reviewing your use case ideas for low-code / no-code development, can you group them into similar groups of characteristics? Ask yourself the following questions:

Current Perspective on the Automation Work You Want to do

Stages of automation maturity

These questions can help you group the cases you have in mind along the stages of maturity, which can also be applied to the overall state of your organization.

  • Do most of your use cases land near the least mature, or non-standardized end, or the mature, hyperautomated stage?

  • Interaction What is your current perspective on the type of automation work you want to do?

  • Are you thinking about making ad hoc changes, because most of your processes are manual, paper-based, and have little-to-no automation?

  • Or does some automation already exist, and you are thinking opportunistically about how to connect islands of automation to create more integrated experiences?

  • Perhaps you already have a lot of automation best practices already in place, and now you want to standardize these processes from end-to-end in order to improve compliance?

Or maybe you are more advanced than that, and aspire to deliver a seamless combination of human-led processes and digital workers.

Mapping the Factors for Complexity of LCNC Projects

Understanding complexity will help you understand which scenarios will be the most difficult to implement and to prioritize – especially if you are working cross-functionally with a team. Each use case has unique goals, paths, and needs that affect this.

Use this framework to map the complexity of automating processes and developing applications for your use cases. There are four factors to consider: Collaboration / access, routes / logic, data / metrics, and timing. Be sure to click through each screen in addition to revealing the questions to ask.

Mapping the Factors for Complexity of LCNC Projects

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