Automation in Action: Data Aggregation

Written by Jordan McMahon in Software robots in the workplace on June 25, 2015

As we mentioned in my previous how-to post, the flow of information between multiple systems can be overwhelming, and moving the data can lead to errors that creep into all areas of the business. 


Let’s take a look at how the data aggregation process is transformed with automation, this time in a procurement example. 

The scenario 
A government agency’s procurement division processes approximately 250 purchase orders monthly, and each purchase order must be verified against 100 regulatory requirements in order to receive the correct funding. For each PO, a PO Summary Form is located in a cloud application, a website, and an Excel document. The manual PO Summary Form process is both cumbersome and potentially prone to error, requiring additional rework. The agency determined that automation would be the best way to streamline their PO summary form process. 

Step 1: Initiate PO
The procurement department will receive an email notification from a proprietary cloud application for each new purchase order. In this example, Automation Anywhere RPA monitors a designated inbox, and initiates an automated task to extract the details of the new purchase order. Once the data is stored in the automation memory bank, it can link to the ERP output based on a unique identifier. 

Step 2: Correlate ERP Output
The automation navigates ERP and exports the purchase orders hourly to an Excel workbook that is stored on a network drive. Automation selects the correct Excel row based on the unique identifier (PO number) and extract the remainder of the data pertaining to the purchase order. The data from the two systems are now linked in Automation Anywhere. 

Step 3: Verify Customer 
In order to process the PO, the procurement department must verify that the customer is approved for government funding. The automation extracts the information from a public government website and exports the results to a CSV file in order to streamline any future regulatory compliance audits. If the customer is not found on the website, then the automation will create a flag in the PO Summary Form. 

You can see how web data extraction works in the short video above. 

Step 4: Complete PO Summary Form
Once the purchase order details have been extracted from the cloud applications, ERP Excel output, and the public website, Automation Anywhere enters the raw data in a designated Excel tab and fills out the PO Summary Form. Automation Anywhere completes 65 of the 100 Excel fields on the PO Summary Form, allowing the procurement department to focus on the remaining 35 fields that require decisions. 

As a result of automating this process, the procurement department is able to complete more purchase orders in less time—and build in regulatory compliance.

So what about you? If you've been struggling with the push and pull of data, and managing effectively, we'd love to talk to you.