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VA, DLA Give High Marks to Robotic Process Automation

TAKE NOTE (Insights and Emerging Technology)

For all the buzz around emerging technology in government, agency IT executives see an uncertain road ahead in looking for the next great innovation amid constrained budgets.

Joseph Ronzio, the deputy chief technology officer at the Veterans Health Administration, said at an Association for Federal Information Resources Management (AFFIRM) luncheon on emerging technology, that as a health care provider, the VHA doesn’t have the budget to pursue every new tool.

“As taxpayers, you really don’t want me to have to buy a new medical imaging system for every point of care every 12 months … that would be ludicrously expensive as a taxpayer. So we’ve got to figure out how do we inject technology and how do we then step down things,” Ronzio said. “And that makes sense, because not everyone is going to come in and need everything plus the kitchen sink thrown at them.”

Leslie Perkins, the deputy chief technology officer for the Air Force’s Information Dominance and CIO (SAF/CIO A6) office, said requests for IT upgrades must compete with more exciting priorities, like more fighter jets..

“People just want the network that works,” Perkins said. “For the Air Force, I have another thing — I have to be secure. If something goes wrong, and I pop information, someone can die. I take that extremely seriously.”

Jeffrey Charlesworth, the director of strategic technologies and investments at the Defense Logistics Agency’s information operations, said the agency’s employees must also keep up with an accelerating rate of change in technology.

“If we’re all transforming at the speed of light, the workforce has to also, especially the IT workforce,” Charlesworth said.

RPA ‘working very well’ in weeding out menial tasks

“We’re adopting it now,” Charlesworth said. “It’s an amazing technology, it’s not that new. … It’s just scripting made user-friendly. We’ve been doing it for decades, but now it’s in a nice, neat package.”

At DLA, the agency has found success with using RPA in areas like finance reporting.

“Somebody’s got to do a report every month — well, let the bot do it,” Charlesworth said. “They do it 24 hours a day. They don’t ask for a raise, and they don’t take sick leave.”

Ronzio said RPA could not only reduce the burden of the workforce, but also maintain accuracy in those tasks.

“This is basic process improvement: Do you really still need to do those tasks? If we’re saying it’s just a script, I hate to say it, but on average, most scripting is done to overcome stupidity, and if we built the system correctly, we probably could ‘X’ out a lot of dumb processes,” he said

Tepid on Blockchain

Ronzio also expressed some reservations on the distributed ledger technology blockchain, citing data security concerns.

“I have not seen one person sell a health-care blockchain technology that had any relevance that was actually blockchain,” he said. “Do not come to my office and tell me blockchain when you’re storing data someplace else, because guess what? I can corrupt that data. If you’re touting a fundamental distributed ledger system that is going to be indisputable, I need the data to be indisputable.”

Charlesworth added that there aren’t nearly enough government participants in blockchain to make it a worthwhile venture.

“Everybody’s got to be playing in it, or it doesn’t work,” Charlesworth said. “Until everybody starts adopting it, it’s like one chain in a link. I can create my own link, but I need a lot of other people to be in the same business at the same time.”

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Interested in learning more about RPA? Download our FREE White Paper on “Embracing the Future of Work”

UNDER DEVELOPMENT (Insights for Developers)

10 Tips For A Successful Suite On HANA Migration

10 Tips For a Successful Migration To HANA

SAP HANA is the highly acclaimed technology innovation in recent years and nearly all SAP products introduced subsequent to SAP HANA have the capability to integrate with this platform. Far from being a conventional database, SAP HANA…

  • Accelerates business processes
  • Delivers greater business intelligence via advanced capabilities that simplify the IT environment
  • Deploys its in-memory data platform on-site or in the cloud

When correctly implemented, SAP HANA conveys outstanding results and performance, analytic intelligence, integration capabilities, data processing, and improved ROI.

We have a great blog on this called The ABAP Developer Road Map to SAP HANA, it is definitely worth a read – especially if your a developer.

Business Suite on HANA (sometimes called SAP Suite on HANA) is the starting point for companies migrating SAP ECC solutions to the HANA platform. No application layer changes are required. It does not provide data simplification. Again, last month’s blog called What is SAP Suite on Hana (SoH) can fill you in on everything you need to know.

When correctly implemented, SAP HANA conveys outstanding results and performance, analytic intelligence, integration capabilities, data processing, and improved ROIs of the SAP landscape with swift time-to-value. Planning and executing a successful transition to the SAP HANA platform is crucial, and this article provides a detailed overview of ten tips that will help mitigate risks during your business’s migration to SAP HANA.

Right Size The HANA Landscape

Right-sizing the SAP HANA landscape is a fundamental and indispensable step to developing your technical project plan. In addition, this first step will help you achieve the maximum benefit from your capital investment while keeping long-term cost of ownership at its lowest possible level. Both over-provisioned and inadequate sizing may result in excess capacity and hardware while inadequate sizing may result in delays that increase the costs associated with operational performance.

In general, the size of the SAP HANA database is based upon the main memory, and you determine this by the quantity of actual data stored in the memory. This may not be easy to estimate since data is compressed in SAP HANA, and the compression outcome depends upon the used scenario. You should use the SAP Quick Sizer tool, SAP sizing reports, and relevant SAP notes for appropriate memory sizing.

Right sizing SAP HANA comprises three steps:

  • Memory sizing for dynamic and static data
  • Disc sizing for retained data (persistence storage)
  • CPU sizing for queries, transactions, and calculations

Sizing is an iterative process to translate business requirements into hardware requirements, and is usually performed early in the project…

Click the link below to learn more tips..

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Introduction to the HANA Quick Sizer Tool

Q&A (Post your questions and get the answers you need)

Q. What is Machine Learning? Is it what SAP Leonardo does?

A. OK, lets start at a very high conceptual definition of what machine learning is…

Machine learning refers to the process of using algorithms to find patterns and relationships in data in order to solve business problems. Machine learning algorithms differ from traditional programming in that machine learning algorithms learn from data patterns rather being explicitly programmed.

For an enterprise, the majority of business process data is available in enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications such as SAP. This data can belong to one or more than one business functions, e.g., procurement, quality, sales, production, environmental health and safety, and so on.

Two Kinds of Learning

Supervised learning is the machine learning task of inferring a function from data that has been labeled as training data.

Unsupervised learning explores patterns on unlabeled datasets and draws inferences. The objective of unsupervised learning is as exploratory data analysis to find hidden patterns or groupings in data.

So what is a use case?

OK, how about Credit Monitoring… In SAP, the quotation-to-payment process for various customers can be configured and tracked. Existing historical sales data in SAP applications includes sales quantities, sales price, invoice payment cycle time, credit
duration, and so on. This data exists both at the header level and at the line item level. This data can be extracted from extractors or various SAP tables to build a machine learning model to evaluate customer credit ratings on a scale from 1 to 4. This rating can then be combined with other credit ratings, perhaps purchased or accessed from a third-party system or provider such as a credit bureau.

How about Segregation of Duties (SOD).. This is a big one in the Government.. Today, segregation of duties (SOD) is managed in SAP applications with authorizations and roles. This process requires you to follow and translate the segregation of duties into roles and authorizations, thus limiting the job of an individual to his/her required tasks and responsibilities. However, with machine learning algorithms, you can follow a different approach – Machine learning algorithms can be trained, using a supervised learning technique, to determine an organization’s SOD.

For example, let’s say your organizational policy demands that the person who creates purchase orders cannot record goods receipts and that the person who records goods receipts cannot perform supplier payments. This policy can be learned through the supervised machine learning.

What is SAP Leonardo

SAP Leonardo Machine Learning is a new brand in the SAP portfolio of intelligent applications. With SAP Leonardo Machine Learning Foundation, enterprise data can be used to build machine learning models.

Available on SAP Cloud Platform, SAP Leonardo Machine Learning Foundation
contains a library of pre-built machine learning models that can be accessed through REST APIs. The platform allows you to deploy your own models as well.

Both trial and paid versions are available to access SAP Cloud Platform. For beginners, the trial version can be accessed for free for a limited time using your or login credentials. The full version of SAP Cloud Platform, which includes machine learning, is available only with a paid subscription and can be accessed by SAP partners.

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