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How Rockwell Automation Optimizes SAP with an Agility Layer: Webinar Recap

Written By: Magnus Hermans
March 24, 2021
4 min read

SAP is a widely used core system for a reason – it is a proven market leading resource planning software used by thousands of businesses. Yet challenges arise in SAP when workflows change, data must be modified, or performance needs to be analyzed. Oftentimes, large systems like SAP may not be up to the task to make those quick changes.

But there are ways to enhance your overall ERP experience. Rockwell Automation paired SAP with Quickbase to enhance processes across their organization with a no-code agility layer. Andy Kumrai, Senior Business Systems Analyst at Rockwell Automation, and Ashley Banning, Quickbase Solutions Consultant, explored their strategy in our recent webinar in partnership with SAPInsider.

Building a no-code “agility layer”

Rockwell Automation, an American provider of hardware, software, and lifecycle services provider, had familiarity with leveraging Quickbase’s no-code capabilities for operations use cases. Management allowed them to do a trial for expanded use, to gain trust for IT. With a quick turnaround time, the team built a user interface for contracts and projects in SAP with basic reporting and made life easier for teams in project management, auditing, and life cycle tools.

Fast forward to today, Quickbase is an essential part of Rockwell Automation supported by IT – Rockwell described it as a whiteboard that you can go up to and draft up whatever is needed.

Internally, Rockwell uses many familiar tools and systems such as SAP CRM, Dynamics, Oracle, Microsoft BI and a variety of others. As Andy Kumrai put it, these larger systems are essentially the bricks in the business, and Quickbase acts as the mortar to connect them.

While systems like SAP handle major business processes, they don’t always do everything that an organization needs exactly as they do it. Rockwell, for example, leverages Quickbase for processes such as auditing, contract management, project management, lifecycle apps, channel management, and wherever they find spreadsheets/access databases. This allows them to keep track of all information and be able to activate data when they need it.

One further use case comes with data security, which is always critical to soothe IT’s concerns. Rockwell utilizes a role based governing system, designating each user role’s permissions down to a field level in a table so each user only sees the data that is pertinent to them.

A streamlined system and process

Rockwell is leveraging no-code to extend and improve the value of their SAP system, without having to devote intensive resources to it. Unlocking the data within an ERP provides the business with real-time insights that allow for better informed decision making. This also includes customizable business logic that triggers sequential workflows from SAP, such as a change to a contract/project, keeping everyone up to date, and improving visibility across the organization. These integrations enable Rockwell to track performance of deliveries, meet delivery and contract requirements, and seamlessly collaborate with internal and external teams.

Rockwell only needs a handful of developers to create Quickbase applications integrated with SAP. Many of these citizen developers do not have prior coding experience. On Quickbase, you don’t need an experienced developer to get applications running, which Ashley described as “Michael Jordan playing in a high–school basketball game.” Because of this, Rockwell does not need to hire an entire fleet of coders and developers for their processes. This was extra-critical with developer budgets significantly cut due to COVID-19. Quickbase allowed Andy’s team to continue innovating and developing through disruption with less resources to work with.

The result is Rockwell saving money by not needing to hire SAP–specific developers or consultants to adjust the ERP, with the work being done in–house with their small team. These extra ERP consultants or developers are expensive, time intensive, and difficult resources to come by. In addition, with Quickbase dashboards the actionable insights that Rockwell created saves the company time and money each year. The integrations between SAP and Quickbase allow for an actionable single source of truth.

A simple integration for success

With Quickbase Pipelines, Rockwell can even flow particular data throughout their systems, allowing them to better act on information. The relationships between SAP and Quickbase allow businesses like Rockwell to take control of their data to complete operational agility, increase efficiency and resources, and make decisions that drive business success.

Written By: Magnus Hermans