Automate Roadmap: Key Features for Building an Enterprise Automation Strategy
Maintaining a competitive edge requires making use of modern automation technology to streamline work. In the beginning, this might mean automating individual tasks within applications or using a basic job scheduler, but in a growing or complex organization you will eventually find that an effective automation strategy requires a comprehensive platform that integrates business processes across the entire enterprise.
Richard Schoen of HelpSystems recently hosted a webinar that outlined the essential features of a truly enterprise-class automation solution and introduced how Automate BPA Server Enterprise meets these requirements.
Whether you’ve already made the investment in Automate or Automate BPA Server Standard or are just considering implementing robotic process automation for the first time, this webinar has something for you:
Why Choose Automate BPA Server for Workflow Automation?
Requirements for IT automation used to be simpler. These days you’re contending with applications on multiple platforms, both on premise and in the cloud. Every department in the company is implementing their own best-of-breed software—and they want you to help them automate it.
Consequently, one of the most important capabilities for an enterprise to have is centralized workflow coordination. You should be able to run processes spanning multiple servers, all coordinated from a central location. The fact that your scheduling data, task and workflow information, and login is all housed on a central server is good for both efficiency and security.
Automate BPA Server not only provides this kind of centralized robotic process automation, it makes creating intelligent cross-system workflows intuitive. You can design your processes visually by dragging and dropping automated tasks into the workflow. The process can even have decision points—for example, if a task succeeds, path A is followed, but if it fails, the software follows path B.
If you already have Automate Pro or Premium and your business has grown to the point where central automation is needed, the upgrade path to BPA Server is easy.
Do I Need an Enterprise-Class Automation Solution?
Is it time to move beyond a single-machine automation solution? In the webinar, Richard outlines some common business challenges that may lead to a need for advanced automation.
Industry Regulations and Security
If you need to comply with PCI, HIPAA, or other regulations, your process automation platform can help you secure your environment and produce the information required for an audit. Automate BPA Server provides role-based security, meaning you can define the specific rights of each user or group of users. An employee in accounting can monitor a process without any possibility of accidentally breaking critical IT automation. Another team member might be allowed to create workflows, but not allowed to put them into production. You can track and report on all user-related events like user connections and task creation. Authentication on BPA Server can be tied to Active Directory, allowing your team to use their existing credentials to log in.
This is a good challenge to have! As a business expands, it typically requires a growing number of servers and develops processes that span multiple servers. Maybe you started doing data entry with robotic process automation on a single workstation. Now you need five software robots (agents) to complete the work, and next month or during the holiday season you might need 30. It’s important that you can quickly scale your environment to the required number of agents, and it’s important that those agents can be quickly deployed on the platforms you’re using, including cloud systems.
AutoMate BPA Standard can support up to ten agents. BPA Enterprise allows an unlimited number and also lets you deploy the multi-platform Java agents on Linux, UNIX, AIX, Mac OS, and IBM i. Agents can also deploy in the cloud—Automate BPA Server supports Amazon EC2, Microsoft Azure, and others. If you’re already using the Standard edition of BPA Server, moving to enterprise is easy. Upgrading just involves a license key swap.
Many Automate BPA Server users use the platform to set up DevOps to monitor internal software builds or manage automation server workflow build processes.
Object promotion is a feature in BPA Server that allows workflow developers to tightly control automation projects throughout the automation life-cycle of initial development to testing to full scale production. Workflows and tasks can be assigned a completion state of development, testing, production, or archive, preventing them from accidentally running during development rode. If you need a DevOps environment, BPA Server instances can be set up in multiple ways, from a single server deployment with shared development and production, to a scenario where development, test, and production environments each have their own server setups for continuous integration.
Handing more and more of your processes over to robotic process automation software increases efficiency and accuracy. It also makes it critical that your RPA platform doesn’t have any downtime. Automate BPA server supports several options for high availability (HA) and disaster recovery (DR), from periodic replication of virtual machine instances to having an always-on HA/DR server instance in place.
The Need for Better Visibility
Managing multiple processes across a complex enterprise requires you to be able to quickly check what’s happening with your workflows or to dig deep into detailed data about your automation. Automate BPA Server Enterprise gives you access to three management consoles. The first is the Windows Management Console, which you will use to manage and develop your automation. It’s your central entry-point for editing, scheduling, and monitoring workflows.
The Web SMC is the classic web console. It’s for managing automation, rather than building it, but it looks very similar to the Windows Management Console.
New to BPA Server Enterprise in Version 10.5 is the BPA Server Ops Console. The Server Ops Console is a web-based interface that allows you to monitor what’s happening in the organization from anywhere with an internet connection. The responsive design means that the console is easy to use on any device, giving you access to detailed, real-time operations data whether you’re in the office or on the go. Features include:
- Unified activity display
- Agent management
- User-defined dashboards
- Workflow, task, and process management
- Server metrics
To see Richard demonstrate the BPA Server Ops Console, jump to 20:11 in the video.
The Road Ahead
Now that Version 10.5 and the BPA Server Ops Console have been released, the next big thing coming is Version 11, which has some great features that we’re excited to share with you. First, monitoring email inboxes will be easier thanks to a new email trigger. Many users are already monitoring inboxes using time-based polling, but this will simplify the process. Also, a new JSON action will make it easier to read and parse JSON as well as compose outbound JSON data.
The biggest news for Automate BPA Server users is that BPA Server Enterprise will have new version control features. This is true version control that will allow users to manage multiple versions of tasks and workflows just like they might today with Microsoft TFS, SubVersion, or Git Source control.
This webinar came with a special offer—and it’s open to those of you reading the blog as well. You can sign up for a thirty-minute call with one of our automation experts to help you optimize your automation for maximum ROI.
The 30-Minute Automation Review includes discussion of:
- Your IT environment and automation setup
- What applications you run
- Project plans for the next 6 to 18 months
- Any existing pain points
- Future automation goals