Intelligent Automation Overview
It would seem odd for someone to go to their local hardware store and buy a single tool (a table saw, for example) and then wander around trying to find projects that might suit their new tool. It is almost intuitive that the project should dictate what tools are required – not the other way around. In the modern process automation space, various new and emerging tools and technologies are being integrated with industry-standard tools. To build robust automation solutions, it is essential to create a solution toolbox that consists of various automation tools tailored for your specific organization. Leveraging multiple tools in parallel opens the door to new use cases and more efficient automations. In short, organizations should avoid making one automation tool the only solution available for their automation needs. Let’s dig in to one tool in particular now, SAP Winshuttle.
SAP Winshuttle Overview
One powerful tool that can be leveraged as a part of an automation stack is SAP’s Winshuttle. Winshuttle is used to move large amounts of SAP ERP data both to and from SAP. “The name ‘Winshuttle’ was derived from the fact that you use our software to “shuttle” data to and from Windows-based applications like Excel and SharePoint to your ERP system, and you ‘win’ in the process.” For SAP shops with an emphasis on automation, this tool should be seriously considered. SAP is one of the largest ERPs on the market and is somewhat notorious for its difficulty integrating with automation tools. Custom T-Codes and certain UI elements within SAP are not easily accessed via typical recorders and capture controls. Though this has been mitigated to an extent in recent years with more advanced automation tools, there are still issues with processing speed and accuracy within SAP using the industry-leading tools (Automation Anywhere, UiPath & Blueprism). This is where Winshuttle comes in.
How Winshuttle Can be Integrated with Other Automation Solutions
So, how is Winshuttle integrated with other automation tools? Winshuttle uses Microsoft Excel as a data input source to SAP. This allows users and bot developers to work from familiar interfaces to manage data in and out of SAP. Developers can configure bots using existing RPA platforms that perform all aspects of a process besides SAP-related activities. When any SAP-related activity should be done, the bot will trigger a Winshuttle script. The bot can then dynamically wait for the script to complete and pick up the process from where the Winshuttle script left off. The Winshuttle integration also complies with generally accepted SAP security and governance policies, ensuring that any access or changes to SAP data are made in a safe, auditable manner.
Pros and Cons of Using SAP Winshuttle
Is Winshuttle a good fit for your organization? As with any tool, there are pros and cons to consider. As previously mentioned, Winshuttle is excellent at quickly and accurately entering or pulling large amounts of data to and from SAP. It is also helpful for data validation within SAP. Because of the speed at which Winshuttle scripts execute, Winshuttle is particularly valuable in use cases with large data volumes and time-sensitive processes. Additionally, Winshuttle is a low code solution. This means scripts are easy to develop and can be written and maintained by almost anyone with minimal training. As for the cons, the biggest is the price point. Winshuttle is a somewhat expensive solution. This is the most common concern around implementing Winshuttle. However, there are still use cases where the ROI justifies the license cost. Another potential issue with Winshuttle is its reliance on Excel. Users are not able to use Excel while Winshuttle scripts are running. This can cause issues if you plan to implement attended or hybrid bots where the user triggers an automation and manipulates data in parallel with the bot.
Winshuttle can be a valuable tool in SAP shops looking to gain efficiencies through automation if one can get past the price point. However, because the industry-leading process automation tools are evolving quickly, it is not unimaginable to think Winshuttle could become obsolete in the next few years. Still, as of now, that is not the case. Overall, it is a valuable product that is easy to use and very consistent. If the proper use case comes along (high volume and time-sensitive SAP data entry), Winshuttle can be a valuable tool in your automation toolbox.