process automation

Intelligent process automation: digital transformation at the next level.

It is obvious how the Covid 19 pandemic is fundamentally changing our business life and that of most of our customers. The current situation has led many of our customers to explore new avenues. And to make process optimization an integral part of their overall strategic planning.

It is primarily these companies that are mastering the crisis comparatively well with the help of intelligent process optimization. The stringent digitization of relevant and, above all, previously audited business processes is now showing its benefits. Even in difficult environments, processes can be maintained in a stable manner.

Process-oriented business development with the help of intelligent technologies and tools

In our view, this trend toward a process-oriented approach to developing one’s own organization will become more firmly established than ever before.

This is because numerous smart and effective tools are now also available, which are also growing together more and more. The keyword or the technological megatrend in this context is hyperautomation.

Hyperautomation means the integrative use of advanced technologies, such as Intelligent Business Process Management (iBPM), Natural Language Processing (NLP), Enhanced Optical Character Recognition (OCR), artificial intelligence (Kl) and machine learning to automate interrelated processes. In addition, the technology uses other tools, such as process mining, to also analyze the automation itself, measure, monitor and re-evaluate process metrics.

Moving away from automating individual tasks to end-to-end processes

RPA still forms the basis of process automation, but is increasingly reaching its limits. Individual, clearly structured and rule-based tasks are easier to automate with RPA than before.  But very few end-to-end processes follow this pattern.

With hyperautomation, on the other hand, processes are always automated end-to-end. The technology can recognize more complex, varying patterns and is capable of learning. The system continuously improves its capabilities without the need for manual intervention. Cognitive tasks can thus be solved by the Kl’s algorithms and their automatic, human-like understanding.

Use cases for hyperautomation from our daily consulting practice

Evaluation of supplier self-disclosures: Especially in times when topics such as supply chain transparency, carbon footprint and other sustainability issues dominate the public and political discussion, it is of outstanding importance for companies to know their own supply chains well. The consequences of this development for companies are increased liability risks and equally increased pressure to achieve comprehensive transparency across value chains. However, supplier information is usually made available to customers in an unstructured and non-standardized or non-systematic manner. The targeted sifting and evaluation of this information ties up considerable capacities. Here, automatic text recognition helps to evaluate the constant stream of information about materials, suppliers and markets in a structured way and to make it interpretable for the own company according to defined criteria and contents.

Systematic recording of information on the origin of materials: The origin of goods plays an important role in international trade. Different legal consequences are derived from it, in particular for the application of customs tariffs, licensing requirements or preferential treatment. Before goods are shipped to foreign customers, the German customs administration must therefore be provided with a great deal of information, evidence and declarations regarding the origin of the goods. This information and evidence covers not only the end product, but also the raw materials and preliminary products used in it. The corresponding origin information and proofs are regularly found on the goods invoices. When declaring the movement of goods, an enormous amount of work is therefore regularly involved in sifting through and recording the origin information of the raw materials, semi-finished products and components used. Automatic text entry is the basic tool for successively building up an origin database that is true to batch, supplier and material, and for making the required information and evidence available at the push of a button.

Reconciliation of information from purchase order, delivery bill and invoice: Ideally, the information such as article number, description, quantity, price, etc. from the purchase order corresponds to that from the delivery bill and invoice. In practice, this is not always the case and causes considerable manual verification and clarification efforts, as we experience time and again in our projects. It is true that digital interfaces and workflows in P2P systems improve the initial situation. But large parts of the documents addressed are still sent on paper or as PDF documents and then processed manually. The automated capture of information from different document and supplier formats, their verification, and, if necessary, targeted forwarding in the event of discrepancies or, however, feeding for payment – or into a self-billing invoice process – enables a significant reduction of effort in the invoice management process.

It is in these very areas, for example, that we regularly find key levers for realizing process efficiencies.  The solution is a combination of various technologies, capabilities and automated processes with the following goal: The recognition, categorization and extraction of information in or from documents in order to place information where our customers need it for the automation and analysis of data.

We have had very good experience with the AI platform „Konfuzio“ from our network partner Helm & Nagel GmbH. It is independently adaptable, constantly learning, and can be integrated and expanded. In 2020, the platform was awarded the „Digital Champions Award“ as a pioneer in the field of „Digital Processes & Organization“.

Analysis of business-critical processes and selection of the right targets for automation

In the view of most experts, an adequate methodical approach is the prerequisite for a successful transformation process. In order to be able to act in a targeted manner, it should comprise various basic components. These include the identification of the relevant business processes and

-These include identifying the relevant business processes and incidents, evaluating the potential for automation, assessing and simulating the impact on the company, and optimizing the processes even before they are automated.

The first prerequisite is therefore the identification and thorough documentation of the processes that contain mainly manual workflows, tie up employee resources and have a high potential for errors or other quality problems.  Based on this, it is possible to determine where automation makes sense and where it does not.

In the standardized procedure of our Digital Value Navigator, we evaluate the company-specific added values of process digitization in a systematic, structured and monetary manner. Independent of solution providers, the aspects of inventory, optimization approaches and necessary investment decisions are combined. Our customers are thus able to select the appropriate automation technology for their specific use case, optimize and simplify the processes prior to automation.

Prioritizing RPA implementations with high impact and high ROI.

We will be happy to work with you to find out which are the sub-processes with high automation potential that are relevant to your organization – and, above all, have high value. We develop an appropriate implementation strategy, find the right solution partners for you and ensure your ROI. Contact us!

Adconia provides orientation for the electronic procurement process

As Adconia GmbH, we advise our customers with the experience gained from more than 200 projects over more than 15 years – on issues related to purchasing, supply chain and the digitalization of processes. Our goal is always to increase the profit contribution of purchasing through cost reduction, process automation or the qualification of the purchasing team.

With a correspondingly broad wealth of experience, precise knowledge of everyday purchasing and a high level of professionalism, our consultants carry out training measures at eye level. We do this – depending on the requirements – both as a sparring partner for specialists and managers with many years of experience and as a trainer for seasoned purchasing professionals and young professionals.


Tim Rohweder

Partner. ADCONIA GmbH