Podcast Part 2: How RPA Can Pay for your ERP

The Tech Pro Unicorn talks about RPA and ERP, as well as Python, integrations, and how they all come together around ERP automation.

Transcript

Speaker 1:

Welcome to the Tech Pro Unicorn podcast brought to you by RPI Consultants. A podcast about the magic of digital transformation through technology. Each week we’ll cover topics related to ERP, RPA, business transformation, leadership, healthcare, and unicorns.

Speaker 2:

Hey there, folks, welcome back to another episode of Tech Pro Unicorn. Today we’re continuing our series around ERP and RPA that I’ve affectionately called Free RPA. And I’m not talking like Free Willy free RPA, like get it back into the big ocean and set it free, more about offsetting the costs of your cloud ERP journey. So regardless of where you are, 90% of ERP customers are still on some form of on-premise or single-tenant cloud. So whether you’re on Oracle or PeopleSoft or some version of that or version 10 of Infor, most of you are still on-prem ERP.

Speaker 2:

So what we’re talking about here is folks are really looking to make that migration to cloud ERP and as they do so the costs are a little surprising, because we’ve been told all along that cloud is cheaper. Cloud is more secure. Cloud is faster. Cloud is easily accessible. Say that fast three times. So we’ve been told all these things that set our opinion on something. And then here we are in the age of cloud ERP when we’re all getting ready to do it, and sure enough, as you can guess it is more expensive than we planned for.

Speaker 2:

And honestly, when you look at cloud ERP, regardless again of what system you’re going to, or even if you’re transitioning from on-prem and you’re going to go to an Oracle Cloud or previously Oracle Fusion or Workday or Infor CloudSuite, or NetSuite, pick any other cloud-based application, you’re really looking at, with software licensing and services, in the millions of dollars. In that probably 2 on the small end to 10 on the large scale customer.

Speaker 2:

And yes, that’s going to get you lots of really cool functionality. It’s going to get you the latest and greatest. It’s going to help with your analytics. It’s going to secure your application. It’s going to do all those things that cloud promise to do. Absolutely. What it is not going to do is really eliminate all these bodies that you have around. And if you look at a GL department or a payroll department or an AP department or an HR department, or wherever you look, there’s all these people.

Speaker 2:

So when you look at those departments and you go, “Man, their costs are high.” It really isn’t because of the systems that they’re using, the IT systems cost isn’t high. And if it is, that’s a problem in and of itself because you should be monitoring that and making sure you’re getting the value from those systems. But generally it’s the people that are doing the processing, even on the low end, those 50, 60. On the higher end those $100,000, $110,000 people, when there’s a lot of them that adds up to a very large annual cost.

Speaker 2:

And when you look at what those folks are doing they’re doing data entry, they’re keying into this brand new cloud suite ERP that you just got so you can have transactions and you can pay people and you can pay invoices and you can do all the things that ERPs do. And you can make sure people get benefits and take care of your employees and have great talent acquisition, but all that remains people-based. And what are they doing? There’s nothing creative about that. They’re not painting pictures and creating works of art. They’re doing very repetitive rules-based tasks.

Speaker 2:

They’re going in and they’re getting this set of information, which they then interpret. And they key in an accrual. Or they’re taking something like a job application and they are getting it online and then keying it into the HR systems so that it can go for scheduling for interviews or such. Or they’re taking accounts payable invoices, and they’re OCRing them. Hopefully you’re there, with some optimization around that. But they’re taking that data and they’re keying it into your AP system, in your cloud ERP, and then you’re routing it for approval. And then once it’s approved, it goes through all these steps. And it goes into a check request system, print checks or develop ACH or wire transfers, and ultimately comes out the backend as some sort of payment to a vendor.

Speaker 2:

You could just go on and on and on and look at any one of these processes and realize that they can all be replaced by digital labor for the most part. And then your people, A, they can get less so that you have less people. And when you have less people, you have less costs and you can take that cost savings and you can pay for your ERP implementation, where you just spent millions of dollars. So that’s Michael’s pay for your ERP or free ERP idea here. As we’re implementing in the ERP, that is the best time to also look at it with an eye to RPA.

Speaker 2:

So if you just go out and you get an ERP vendor and you use the vendor, they’re going to try to sell you their form of process automation tool that’s inherent to their application, which is great, but hardly ever does a process begin and end within the ERP, it’s always reaching out to third party systems, applications, websites, it’s always reaching out for inputs.

Speaker 2:

So using an inherent tool that is baked into your ERP, I’m not necessarily a big fan. Now, for some of your smaller processes using their internal process automation tool might be easier and that’s fine. But when you’re going outside to automate, I find it’s probably better to use a third-party robotic process automation tool. It just handles that better. It’s designed for that. And it’s been there for 10 years.

Speaker 2:

So lots of new applications in the space I want to talk about. There’s really RPA