Is RPA Really Designed for Business People?

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According to all of the marketing from RPA companies, any business person can use RPA and quickly automate their business processes. Unfortunately, most don’t get the expected return on investment and many can’t even automate more than a single, simple process. The main reason is that RPA is really programming. Yes, the RPA vendors try to make their tools easy to use. But if you have any business rules that are more than if-then statements, then you really should know some basic programming. For most business processes with an average amount of complexity, you will need someone with programming experience. But programmers aren’t subject matter experts on your business processes. So how do you educate them on the processes so they can create the automation logic?

One method is to use a task-oriented architecture. This will allow you to separate the business logic from the screen navigation so that the business analyst can focus on defining the process and a task programmer can focus on small simple tasks. A task-oriented architecture provides a section containing only business logic. The business logic calls tasks to perform work. For example, if you need to retrieve customer information the business logic would call a task called getCustomer, and it would pass in a customer ID. The task simply navigates screens and returns customer information based on the customer ID passed into the task. However, if you’re using a standard desktop-based RPA tool, there really is no way to separate the business logic and task logic. It still requires a programmer to create the business logic and the task.

The AutoiQ way

OpenConnect’s AutoiQ provides a better way. Since it’s server-based, not desktop-based, business analysts can create the business logic and programmers can create the tasks. The business logic is created through a standard Web interface and is fully versioned. This allows a business analyst to add logic then increment the version number before testing. If errors are found, a few mouse clicks gets you back to the previous version. You can add logic and change versions as often as you like without impacting the production version. The tasks can be created using standard RPA tools, the OpenConnect mainframe tool, standard Web services, or direct database access. Any of the most common RPA tools will work with AutoiQ. If you already invested in RPA but are having a difficult time actually automating your more complex processes, then use AutoiQ to handle the logic and your existing RPA tool to create the tasks.

In addition to providing version control for the process definition, AutoiQ also allows you to have different environments such as Dev, Test, and Production. A process that is marked as Dev will only access resources, credentials, and tasks that are also in the Dev environment. When promoted to another environment, it will then use the resources in that environment, allowing you to take advantage of standard environments without the need to move multiple pieces to different servers. Other RPA products require you to use a third-party version control system designed for programmers.

All of the AutoiQ features result in lower development costs, faster return on automation investments, and the necessary governance controls to deliver enterprise automation at scale. The flexibility and control built into AutoiQ give business people the power to master their RPA.