How to automate SAP data and quickly see savings

  • Data Integration
  • Data-Driven Enterprise

Loading data quickly and efficiently to and from SAP is a challenge for most businesses. Whether you are an IT manager, a business user, or an SAP expert, getting data into SAP can often be a time-consuming task standing in the way of more strategic projects. Hours are devoted to entering, correcting, and managing data uploads. There are a few ways to speed up the process and streamline data management, but there’s one that will empower your internal teams while saving time and money right away.

Why does SAP data entry take so long?

SAP is a complex tool, but one that is vital for most businesses, storing important order information, supply chain details, financial history and more. Users who understand SAP and know how to upload data into it usually have a significant amount of training and programming knowledge to make it all work efficiently. This leaves other business users – those without certifications and training – relying on information technology departments to create bespoke tools that allow them to upload the data and execute SAP processes.

In SAP, the tool that helps streamline data uploads is known as a Legacy System Migration Workbench (LSMW), which allows the one-time transfer of data from a legacy business system. For most enterprises, there is often an internal wait time for business users to get a homegrown SAP workbench from their IT team. It takes time to create them, and these tools are not reusable across business users and business processes.

Even once a business user receives an internal SAP workbench from their IT team, the tool is usually very technical and without direct integration to common programs like Excel, requiring developer assistance. Tools like LSMWs usually do not support variable line items for things like purchase orders and invoices and cannot support 999+ lines (the limit for SAP) without advanced programming.

This is all just a way of saying that trying to automate SAP with internal workarounds or LSMWs takes a lot of time and training, ultimately leaving businesses to fall back on SAP-trained staff or hire consultants to get the job done instead of enabling more of the organization’s workforce. The amount of time these trained individuals spend on SAP data management can vary greatly between each organization, but on average an SAP user spends 30 hours per week processing data without automation. Hours that could be spent more wisely.

Busting the budget myth

Many companies keep using these slow legacy processes for SAP data entry because they believe they can’t afford automation software to make it easier on employees. Yes, there is a modest cost to adopting a powerful SAP automation tool like Magnitude’s Process Runner, but the time savings will quickly allow the tool to pay for itself.

Take Power Equipment Co., for example: the leader of their IT department said Process Runner paid for itself within just six months, and they saw immediate time savings in their first data uploads.

Process Runner allows the average business user to use Microsoft Excel to manage and automate SAP data without coding, advanced training, or waiting for an LSMW. Process Runner is easy to implement without any back-end SAP configurations, costly setup fees, or complex integrations.

Drive out tedious tasks

Besides being easy to implement, how does an Excel-based SAP automation tool save organizations money? Once up and running, Process Runner can reduce the average processing time up to 90% for most SAP transactions, according to Magnitude’s study on savings. For SAP users spending on average 30 hours per week processing data, this is 27 hours they can spend on other more important tasks. For companies, the time savings and better utilization of an SAP-trained employee’s salary equates to roughly $3,000 per week, based on a salary of $156,000.

Beyond the immediate time savings of automating SAP data processing, Process Runner enables employees to deliver higher productivity and increase the speed at which they manage data in the following ways:

  • Give more business users access to SAP data processing so the IT department can spend time focusing on complex projects instead.
  • Utilize powerful but easy-to-use Excel, which most people are familiar with, expanding data management abilities for all types of users in an enterprise.
  • Spend less time fixing data errors with data validation tools before uploading data into SAP.

Automating SAP data management can seem like a daunting and expensive task for most firms that have already heavily invested in SAP and hiring people experienced in the software. However, creating quicker upload times with programs like Process Runner allows companies to see savings almost immediately.