Digital Transformation

2023 State of SAP Automation Report: Precisely & ASUG

New study from Precisely and ASUG shows 87% of leaders agree SAP automation is important to digital transformation goals, but data, process, and organizational complexity slow adoption

Precisely, the global leader in data integrity, today released new findings from a survey conducted in collaboration with the Americas SAP Users Group (ASUG). The 2023 State of SAP Automation Report highlights the critical role of automation, fueled by trusted data, for driving efficiency, agility, and confident decision-making across organizations.

With digital transformation top-of-mind for businesses seeking enhanced efficiency and cost savings, the new research highlights the important role of automation in achieving success. 55% of respondents rated automation of processes and associated SAP data as being important or very important to digital transformation initiatives – with a further 32% confirming it as ‘somewhat important’ alongside other factors.

But despite business leaders clearly recognizing the value of automation, levels of adoption remain low. The research revealed that 95% of organizations surveyed report only low to medium adoption of automation across their business. In fact, 35% of these respondents admitted that very few processes are currently automated, with a further 13% revealing no automation has yet been implemented at all – despite plans in place to do so.

Demand for automation increases, but obstacles remain

The findings may seem surprising as attention on automation, and in particular hyperautomation, continues to grow in the market – heavily driven by explosive growth in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) innovation. Gartner estimates that by 2026, businesses around the globe will have invested over a trillion dollars in hyperautomation, with process automation specifically growing by 12% each year.

50% of survey respondents cite complexity of business processes as their main challenge to adopting process automation, with complicated, data-intensive processes involving multiple users the least likely to be automated. Respondents also point to challenges with data complexity, with 58% reporting that concerns with master data maintenance and governance are preventing process optimization at their company. Additionally, 61% stated competing business priorities as the most significant barrier to automation. But the research shows that those who have already automated at least some of their SAP processes and data see great rewards.

“Automation drives efficiency at scale – something ASUG members are continuously trying to improve,” said a spokesperson for ASUG Research. “It’s encouraging to see the results that organizations report when they successfully implement automation, with 74% saying it delivers efficiency, and the same percentage saying that it reduces manual or lower-level work.”

Trusted data holds the key to digital transformation success

Due to the critical nature of SAP master data and the complexity of master data records, automating maintenance processes can often be challenging. Many companies focus on initial data quality; however, data errors are easily introduced during later updates – particularly when the organization lacks a robust strategy for ensuring data integrity.

“By eliminating manual data creation and management processes, companies can improve speed, agility, and crucially, the integrity of their data,” said John Reda, Senior Vice President of Product Management at Precisely. “To achieve successful digital transformation, organizations must first take steps toward delivery of trusted data to their business through fully governed automation solutions.”

Access the 2023 State of SAP Automation Report for a deeper dive into the findings.

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