The Benefits of Intelligent Process Automation

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SIG University Certified Intelligent Automation Professional (CIAP) program graduate Bob Lutz shares how implementing intelligent process automatation can be beneficial to your business

Intelligent Process Automation does not take employees out of the loop. Instead, it allows employees to increase their contribution by taking away mundane, repetitive tasks. This frees up employees to use their cognitive skills to improve their business. There are still lots of paper-based processes within businesses today. This is one of the best areas to introduce intelligent automation. By automating data capture (from invoices, for example), processes can be built to route the invoices to the appropriate person(s) and automatically code the invoice for correct accounting. As invoices are received, the system can learn and identify how to map fields correctly. Capturing invoices as soon as they are received allows for accurate reporting for the finance team. With disparate, manual systems in place, invoices can stagnate on a desk or in an email inbox, making critical financial reports inaccurate. 
Many challenges AP departments face include manually matching, coding, and keying info based on packing slips/goods received. Calculating short pay or communicating variances to suppliers can be manual, error-prone, and time-consuming. Direct costs such as paper, printing, and postage are surprisingly high. Data entry, correction, and dispute management take a significant portion of time for many AP departments. An intelligent platform with bi-directional communications with a company’s ERP system will yield impressive results.
If a supplier wants to do business with a potential partner, a web-based form with dynamic questions allows the supplier to be onboarded quickly. Questions can be based upon previous answers, so only relevant information is presented to the supplier. Submitting proper certifications, insurance forms, tax, and banking info will allow the customer to only do business with approved suppliers with adequate documentation. Maverick spend is significantly reduced, and visibility into procurement spend by category allows for future discounting. Overlapping commodity purchases can be eliminated by enabling automation to restrict buyers based on roles. Intelligent automation provides benefits for both buyers and suppliers.
Complete audit trails provide full transparency as well. Sourcing the right products from suitable suppliers at the right price is a constant challenge within purchasing departments. Creating, sending, and evaluating Requests for Proposals can often be so overwhelming that the company limits RFPs to only very critical areas. By applying intelligent automation to the sourcing process, companies can easily create and distribute RFPs for a majority of the categories in which they buy, including direct and indirect spending, for both products and services. Savings from increased RFPs and auctions can be significant in some cases. Intelligent automation can also help with efficient on-contract buying, reduced transactional cost, and up-to-date information to better business decisions.
Managing ongoing supplier relationships is now more critical than ever. Many companies have elected to “rate” their suppliers, putting them into tiers based on their importance to the supply chain. An automation platform can identify risks (expired contracts, certifications not on file, etc.). It can improve the trust of a supplier by providing notifications and alerts, allowing issues to be resolved promptly. Increasing communications and goodwill with suppliers can result in improved supplier performance.
Intelligent automation benefits span the entire Source-to-Pay process. Strategic sourcing and supplier management are especially critical now, and managing those areas manually is not recommended. Organizations can drive their business forward by enabling best-in-class technology that includes intelligent automation, cost savings, and increased financial control. Data insights can be gathered, and future comparisons can quantify the effectiveness of leveraging automation technology. Several companies offer a comprehensive suite of software modules that provide solutions for each step of the Source-to-Pay process. Hence, a phased approach is not only possible but, in many cases, recommended. In many cases, a procurement solution achieved a return on investment in less than a year, encouraging CPOs and CFOs to make this a priority project.

The Certified Intelligent Automation Professional program is a six-week course delivered through SIG University’s unique education platform. Visit our website to learn more about intelligent process automation and enroll for the upcoming semester.


Bob Lutz, Account Executive, Medius
Bob Lutz is an Account Executive at Medius, a leading global provider of cloud-based spend management solutions. Medius helps organizations drive their business forward by enabling best-in-class process efficiency, cost-saving opportunities, and greater financial control. Their modular spend management suite includes market-leading solutions for strategic sourcing, contract management, procurement, accounts payable automation, and supplier management, as well as data insights tools that bring control, compliance, and cost savings throughout the entire source-to-pay process.
Over 3,500 customers and 450,000 unique users worldwide use Medius spend management solutions, managing transactions worth more than $150 billion annually. Founded in 2001, Medius is owned by global investment firm Marlin Equity Partners. In 2019 Medius acquired Wax Digital to become the powerhouse in spend management solutions. The group has over 350 employees and offices in Sweden (HQ), the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Denmark, Norway, Netherlands, and Poland. For more information, please visit