Enterprise automation plays a key role in business digitalization. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, including SAP, the largest ERP by sales, are at the center of most enterprises’ businesses and are involved in numerous processes.
However, SAP-based processes are challenging to automate since:
- companies need to deal with numerous SAP instances in different environments. These SAP instances manage business processes for different countries or business units’ operations.
- SAP systems are integrated with many systems that build on SAP’s capabilities in areas like invoice processing.
SAP job scheduling tools, or workload automation tools, help IT teams manage this complexity and manage jobs synchronously. SAP job scheduling service provides an orchestration capability to coordinate SAP and non-SAP jobs across multiple tools and environments.
This article examines 7 ways that SAP job scheduling can optimize IT operations with real-world examples.
What are SAP jobs?
SAP jobs are defined as “logical containers for all steps to complete a task.” SAP jobs enable users to treat complex tasks as single units. This means it helps you schedule multiple steps of tasks (Figure 1) to complete a job as a single step.
Figure 1: Example of steps to complete a certain job
Any particular scheduling rule, such as repetition that is applied to one job, which includes more than one step, also applies to the entire steps. For example, scheduling a job weekly also applies to its background job steps (Figure 2).
Figure 2: Example for scheduling rules on all job steps
1. Schedule jobs and processes with a single solution
Modern businesses use dozens of platforms, applications, and tools that are integrated into SAP. Coordinating and integrating these platforms is a complex process that demands manual effort.
SAP job scheduling helps organizations schedule and run processes across these numerous tools. As a result, organizations don’t need multiple automation and job scheduler tools specific to each application. Users can improve process coordination between different tools with a single SAP job scheduler or scheduling tool. It also makes it easy to plan, monitor, and reschedule end-to-end business processes in real time. These tools are generally called enterprise job schedulers, as they can automate tasks across entire enterprises.
Stonebranch offers the Universal Automation Center (UAC), an all-encompassing workload automation solution with batch scheduling features. This platform ensures thorough oversight of workflows spanning diverse systems and business applications, regardless of where the data is stored. With its drag-and-drop functionality, users can create workflows and manage the entire operational burden of their organization.
Serving as an alternative to SAP’s built-in job scheduler, the Universal Automation Center can help simplify process management and provide transparency into SAP background tasks.
2. Streamline processes with integrations
Using multiple applications and tools in hybrid environments requires well-designed integrations. SAP job scheduling can be integrated using APIs and connectors with any system in the ERP ecosystem. Integrations into the SAP ecosystem connects disparate application and tools while helping manage jobs based on SAP and non-SAP.
Bol.com, for example, a popular and growing online retailer in the Benelux, faced the challenge of coordinating complex inventory and fulfillment processes. The company had more than 30,000 partners supplying products, all needing real-time updates on product availability, prices, and delivery times. Performing these tasks required more time and higher costs.
The company chose SAP job scheduling and leveraged SAP® ERP integrations to orchestrate all phases of its end-to-end business processes. The tool redefined automated tasks, reordered supply chain processes, and eliminated unnecessary duplicates by providing a bridge with streamlined integrations. It enabled bol.com to provide real-time information to both customers and suppliers, improving speed and accuracy.
3. Customize jobs with event-driven architecture
SAP job scheduling has an event-driven architecture that enables companies to add customizable pre-conditions in building jobs. When a recurring schedule is scheduled with event-driven processing, it is triggered when its pre-conditions occur. This feature enables companies to schedule and run processes in real-time across applications with event-driven architecture without a need for manually triggering long-running processes.
Daikin Europe N.V., a subsidiary of air conditioning giant Daikin Industries Ltd. lacked a scheduling tool that can provide an alert and run in synchronization with their SAP processes such as supply chain and logistics. They had 4500 tasks, one-third of which were based on legacy systems. The company required extensive manual processing for supply chain processing, which cost employees 11 hours overnight and delayed the next day’s business processes.
As a solution, Daikin Europe N.V. adopted SAP job scheduling which helped the company to orchestrate its SAP processes across all environments and integrate with all applications and tools that they used. As a result, nightly workflows were shortened to 6 hours, with no delays to the next morning. Thanks to event-driven architecture, the company completed data processing on time and was able to use data in one tool to trigger any other system across all platforms and applications.
4. Improve monitoring and alerting systems
Dealing with errors can sometimes be stressful and often leads to significant delays. Typically, companies handle errors after they occur, but correcting them is not always easy. Manual monitoring and correcting errors are inefficient and time-consuming.
SAP job scheduling can monitor SAP and non-SAP jobs and warn users when errors occur. It works according to the changed conditions or deviations from the Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and warns the users. When users are notified about the errors, they can react in real-time both for recurring and background jobs.
French Connection, a UK-based fashion retailer, relied on a manual and error-prone monitoring system for data collection and reporting processes. When an error occurred, it caused significant delays in the business processes. French Connection switched to SAP job scheduling and integrated it with their SAP ERP system. When something happened during the data collection and reporting process, the SAP job scheduling was alerted with an email about it.
5. Save resources by eliminating additional license fees
In an organization, license fees can sometimes be overwhelming. IT teams often need a way to optimize their resources by removing unnecessary tools and licenses. The SAP job scheduling tool provides a solution to this problem. Without the need for a third-party connector, SAP job scheduling can connect with SAP, ERP, etc. systems. Since a third-party connector is removed from the system, IT teams save resources by eliminating license fees.
Esprit, an international fashion brand based in Germany, migrated to the SAP job scheduling tool and optimized the processes by saving on costs. The company removed third-party connector’s license fees as their legacy tool required a third-party connector to connect with SAP, ERP, etc.
6. Increasing Compliance and Security
SAP job scheduling can also ensure that certain critical actions, such as system audits or data backups, are performed regularly. A financial institution might schedule regular audits to ensure compliance with regulations and improve data security. These automatic, scheduled tasks would ensure consistency and provide documentation for compliance purposes.
A real life example could be: A global bank with operations in multiple countries needs to comply with a variety of financial regulations, including anti-money laundering laws and data privacy standards. To manage this, the bank could use SAP job scheduling to automate regular system audits. This ensures that all necessary checks are carried out consistently and on time, helping to identify potential compliance issues early and reduce the risk of penalties or damage to the bank’s reputation.
We can also consider a large e-commerce company that handles a huge volume of customer data, including payment details and personal information. A data breach could lead to substantial financial and reputational damage. By using SAP job scheduling to automate regular data backups, the company can ensure that its customer data is always protected. Moreover, in sectors where regulations mandate regular data backups, this automation can help maintain compliance.
7. Preventing job conflicts
SAP job scheduling can detect and manage job conflicts, thus optimizing system performance. A global manufacturing company, for example, might schedule several data-heavy operations simultaneously. With a robust job scheduling solution, these operations could be arranged to prevent conflicts, ensuring smooth and efficient system operations.
Consider a large multinational manufacturing company that uses SAP for its operations. This company has several critical tasks that need to be run at the end of every day:
- Production Reporting: This task collects data from the production line and creates a report on the day’s output.
- Inventory Update: This task updates the company’s inventory system based on the day’s production and shipments.
- Financial Reporting: This task generates a financial report based on the day’s sales, production costs, and other factors.
Each of these tasks is data-heavy and requires significant system resources. Additionally, they are interdependent. The Financial Reporting task, for example, requires data from both the Production Reporting and Inventory Update tasks.
Without proper job scheduling, these tasks could potentially run simultaneously or in the wrong order, leading to inaccurate reports and overloading the system. This is where SAP job scheduling comes into play. With SAP job scheduling, the company could set up these tasks to run in the correct order (Production Reporting -> Inventory Update -> Financial Reporting), and ensure that each task only begins once the previous one has finished.
To learn more about automation and orchestration, feel free to read our articles:
- 6 Ways Cloud Workload Automation Transforms Your Business
- 4 Ways to Improve Your Business with Self-Service Automation
- 4 Ways to Boost IT Operations with Event-Driven Automation
- Top SAP Job scheduling software
If you are looking for automation and orchestration tools, you can visit our hub for the automation software landscape.
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Cem has been the principal analyst at AIMultiple since 2017. AIMultiple informs hundreds of thousands of businesses (as per similarWeb) including 60% of Fortune 500 every month.
Cem's work has been cited by leading global publications including Business Insider, Forbes, Washington Post, global firms like Deloitte, HPE, NGOs like World Economic Forum and supranational organizations like European Commission. You can see more reputable companies and media that referenced AIMultiple.
Throughout his career, Cem served as a tech consultant, tech buyer and tech entrepreneur. He advised businesses on their enterprise software, automation, cloud, AI / ML and other technology related decisions at McKinsey & Company and Altman Solon for more than a decade. He also published a McKinsey report on digitalization.
He led technology strategy and procurement of a telco while reporting to the CEO. He has also led commercial growth of deep tech company Hypatos that reached a 7 digit annual recurring revenue and a 9 digit valuation from 0 within 2 years. Cem's work in Hypatos was covered by leading technology publications like TechCrunch and Business Insider.
Cem regularly speaks at international technology conferences. He graduated from Bogazici University as a computer engineer and holds an MBA from Columbia Business School.
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