Digitalisation - implemented pragmatically

20.12.2018 - Digital transformation will remain the key topic for entersprises as seen at the DSAG annual conference. Under the motto “Business without limits – the architecture of the future”, participants discussed pioneering options on how to implement a digitalisation strategy. This will include matters such as the right platform, an appropriate cloud scenario and the right ERP solution. All in all, far-reaching decisions, which companies certainly can't reach without a great deal of thought.

Down-to-earth approach

One down-to-earth approach, which is already taking on the challenges of digital transformation, is the optimisation of e-mail- and paper-based processes. Digitalisation means the linking of independent systems such that processes can run automatically without any human interaction. Such networking requires data which can be read by machines. Documents are therefore the ideal way to get started with digitalisation: electronically recording and processing documents in purchasing, financial accounting or customer service is a simple way of making key business information accessible electronically without any modal fragmentation. Subsequent processes are automated, throughput times are cut and errors avoided.

Cross-checks are all that are needed

In most companies, the processing of invoices is the classic area where there is potential for optimising electronic document processes and where digitalisation starts. These companies no longer have to input data by hand, just briefly cross-check it. At the same time, they have an overview of all invoices and know where the documents are for approval and can follow the entire process.

Digitally recording, processing, checking and archiving documents significantly cuts the process costs involved in invoice processing. Direct cost savings can also be made from improved discount payment. The available potential  savings are in a six-digit range.

Procurement consistency

But digitalisation projects become even more effective if they don’t end at the point of invoice processing, but also consistently automate all the activities undertaken beforehand in purchasing: managing procurement, processing of order confirmations and recording delivery notes along with posting the goods receipt. In procurement, the goods requests needed are recorded electronically directly at the workstation and the cost center stored at this point too, if known. All further steps run electronically: checks and approvals are undertaken by superiors just like account assignment in the accounting department. With this approach, all important facts are clarified in advance and the purchase order can be placed automatically.

Order confirmations much faster

Order confirmations and delivery notes received subsequently can be processed much faster because important document content - material number, price and volume from the order confirmation or supplier and order number from the delivery note - is recognised automatically and compared with the details in the purchase order. The goods receipts can therefore be posted in the shortest time possible.

Invoices - the final step

As the final step, invoice processing is greatly simplified by automation earlier in the process because the information required has already been saved. The relevant content on the document is recognised by the system and/or directly transferred and compared with the purchase order. All the required details relating to cost center and account assignment are already in place. An administrator only has to intervene if something needs clarifying. And again here, electronic processes greatly speed up and simplify things: in this case, workflow processes, which are started directly from the document. Simple and convenient handling ensure that the recipient can swiftly complete the job, especially as tasks can be undertaken not just at the workstation, but also when out and about – even by non-SAP users.

Invoices posted in the background

If the system finds no variances and if desired, the invoice can be posted directly in the background. There is no longer any need for human intervention. The same applies to electronic invoices, which arrive in a structured form, in ZUGFeRD format or using a mail system for example. These are also seamlessly transferred into the ERP system where they are posted directly. The systems are seamlessly interwoven - just as they need to be for digitalisation.

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