Many companies decided to start their RPA journey by experimenting with one RPA product and one process just to get a feel for it. One thing led to another and soon they had multiple processes automated and were planning even more. However, department A wasn’t talking to departments B or C, and each department started on their journey independently. When someone in the organization finally decided it was time to put some structure around RPA, they ended up with multiple RPA products with no real strategy to manage the environments.
The main reason for creating a structure, or center of excellence, around RPA is to ensure the business departments are able to effectively manage their automation strategy without negatively impacting the company as a whole, including the IT department. RPA works by interacting with application screens. It’s important for the business to understand if/when those screens could change, so the robot navigation can be updated to accommodate those changes. It’s also important for IT to know that robots are working against the user interface of the applications so they can appropriately manage the application resources to ensure there is no negative impact on performance. After all, robots are faster than humans and could have an impact on the applications.
When putting structure around an RPA strategy, there are two very common but different approaches. The first is a federated approach. This approach allows each business department to use an RPA tool of their choice as long as they follow the guidelines set by the governing body. The other approach is unfederated, or centrally controlled. This approach would only allow the business departments to use an RPA product that is sanctioned by the governing body. This puts a great deal of responsibility on the governing body, but also prevents mayhem by insuring the RPA products have been fully tested and the management structure is in place to deal with any issues. Regardless of your approach (federated or centrally-controlled), you still have an issue any time you have multiple RPA products to manage.
So, how do you monitor, manage, and control all of your RPA products? One solution is to use an orchestration platform that supports third-party RPA tools. One such solution is AutoiQ from OpenConnect. AutoiQ utilizes a small software agent that runs on each desktop and interacts with the desktop robot. This allows an organization to solve multiple problems by:
- Providing a solution that manages multiple vendor robots
- Utilizing the best products for each department with governance
- Integrating multiple vendor products into a single solution
AutoiQ provides a single interface to manage the desktop connections, credentials, and third-party robots. You can even create process definitions from a simple-to-use interface and call third-party robots to execute tasks. Since AutoiQ is task-oriented, you can create tasks to perform small units of work, such as “Get Customer Information,” and each task can utilize the RPA product chosen by the department that owns that task. AutoiQ will then orchestrate the various tasks, including tasks within AutoiQ, to execute an end-to-end process. By utilizing the advanced features of AutoiQ, and the existing RPA products, you can automate more processes, and more complex processes — all with a centrally managed enterprise-level automation solution. And, with the most advanced mainframe connectivity available, AutoiQ can reduce the amount of time per work item, which reduces the number of robots and desktops required to do the same amount of work. It’s one of the most effective tools to help take your RPA strategy from out-of-control to under control.