Step into the future: Harness the power of generative AI for process optimization 

Written by Calvia Patrizia | 4 min read
Published on: July 3rd 2024 - Last modified: July 10th, 2024
Process AI

While artificial intelligence (AI) has been present for some time, a subset of this technology – generative AI (gen AI) – has recently hit the market with the intensity of a supernova.

Why is gen AI so important?

Uptake of gen AI continues to progress at a swift pace, with natural-language abilities as a key factor in making the technology accessible to a wide audience. Companies are not just expressing interest in gen AI. They are also recognizing that its wide application can boost business efficiency and are starting to successfully leverage its potential.

According to the latest McKinsey global survey on AI, 65% of companies interviewed stated that they are regularly using gen AI. This percentage is double what their previous study reported just 10 months ago. The survey also finds that companies are now using AI in more areas of their business. Half of the respondents said their organization has adopted AI in two or more business functions, up from less than a third of respondents in 2023. 

A new era of business process management

Where will generative AI impact your organization? The simple answer is everywhere. Finance, supply chain, marketing, sales, operations – every process can benefit from this transformative force. Business process management (BPM) and related disciplines and solutions have witnessed a phenomenal expansion in their scope and boundaries, primarily due to the influence of generative AI.

Interestingly, not only can gen AI make people’s work easier and help them perform it faster, but it can also extend horizons of thinking by providing suggestions workers can build upon. Also important is that it can lower the entry barriers to expert disciplines, such as process analysis, acting as a knowledge multiplier and helping companies to scale.

Alessandro Manzi, vice president of product management for SAP Signavio solutions, explained: “Generative AI has started a new renaissance in business process management. Multimodal capabilities help us rethink the boundaries of the BPM domain, enabling new ways to leverage, consume, and build knowledge and insights, thus fostering more dynamic and comprehensive process optimization solutions. We can now envision a new category of innovative applications that will turn our historical ambitions into reality at an unprecedented speed.”

“Several important innovations are just about to be released, and we foresee a much larger array of possibilities ahead,” added Manzi. “The real magic and breakthroughs happen when users have the ability to access knowledge about operations and performance in a simple and consumable way – wherever and whenever they need it – leveraging prompting technologies such as the Joule copilot from SAP.”

Top use cases

The intersections between AI and BPM are numerous and evolving quickly. Over the last 12 months, we have witnessed organizations and vendors engaging in a wide range of initiatives. We believe the following use cases will be the foundation of the third generation of BPM software:

  • Building knowledge repositories: Facilitate the rapid creation of process assets by leveraging external knowledge, documents, images, diagrams, and textual prompts.
  • Making recommendations: Answer common questions such as “How should I start modeling my order-to-cash process?” or “How can I track late payments in process mining?” in a contextualized and on-demand manner.
  • Initiating transformations: Create transformation and improvement initiatives by automatically leveraging process knowledge and performance data in process mining and process modeling.
  • Generating insights: Analyze data, derive business and technical insights with minimal effort and time investment, and democratize process mining by empowering users to obtain valuable knowledge that can inform business decisions using a question-and-answer approach.

Empowering your teams

By providing faster and simpler access to best practices, as well as lowering the barriers to specialized fields, generative AI can help companies produce better, faster, and new insights unveiling novel perspectives.

Andreas Breitrueck, in product management for process AI from SAP Signavio solutions, explained during a recent presentation: “Think of a situation where 10 individuals wish to enhance a process, yet only one has the specialized skills to utilize an analytical toolkit. Nine contributors are keen to participate but unfortunately lack the specialized skill set to effectively extract the data and execute the task. Now picture a scenario where all 10 individuals are empowered to conduct the analysis and interact with it, bringing their unique expertise to the table. This is what gen AI can potentially provide. It can help amplify knowledge, adding new viewpoints and expertise to the mix.”

Breitrueck also noted that by empowering different teams to access and utilize valuable information to make decisions, you can not only speed up time to insights but also accelerate time to adapt. Transparency, collaboration, and empowerment will potentially drive people’s buy-in and increase their openness and readiness for change.

Governance matters

While the opportunities that gen AI is producing in the realm of BPM are vast, the technology is still in its early phases. Companies adopting generative AI need to be ready to experiment without neglecting the transformative nature of AI itself.

Building an AI road map and foreseeing the implications for different dimensions of an organization will be key. Also, establishing solid governance frameworks with clear guidelines and procedures will be crucial to drive successful deployment and adoption.

As the lifeblood of every organization, human creativity and strategic thinking not only remain central but also become even more valuable – with generative AI serving as a companion and guide on which people can capitalize.

Are you eager to learn more?

Join us for our upcoming webcast (Harnessing the power of generative AI for business process transformation) to understand how SAP is using generative AI to craft next-generation BPM solutions.

Published on: July 3rd 2024 - Last modified: July 10th, 2024