RPA (Robotic Process Automation) is a type of automation where a machine or computer mimics a human’s action in completing rules based tasks.
Both Test Automation and RPA involve “Automation” and offer advantages of reducing manual intervention and delivering quality, but these two or different…
RPA – Robotic Process Automation, Automates Business Processes like Data Entry, Queries, Calculations, and Transactions in various organizations. where as Test Automation Automates Software Testing Processes,It automates Functional Testing, Performance Testing, Web Services Testing Etc. of Software Products.
Using Blueprism, Automation Anywhere, Uipath etc… tools we can automate Business Automation, and Using Selenium, UFT/QTP, LoadRunner SoapUI etc…Software Tools we can automate software Testing Processes.
RPA is software-based, it can be used to perform various tasks. These include Maintenance of records, queries, calculations, and transactions.
Additionally, any application commonly used by your company can be operated by RPA. Citrix, .NET, HTML, and Java are all technologies commonly supported by RPA.
Compatible systems include Mainframe Terminals, SAP, Oracle, Blackline, and many more. RPA can be configured to perform almost any rule-based task.
Popular Robotic Process Automation (RPA) Tools to automate the Business Processes.
Blue Prism is the trading name of the Blue Prism Group, a UK multinational software corporation, the term Robotic Process Automation was invented by Blue Prism, that itself proves they are the pioneers in Robotic Process Automation Software Development.
Automation Anywhere is another top RPA vendors providing powerful and User- friendly robotic process automation tools to automate tasks of any complexity.
UiPath is a Windows desktop Robotic Process Automation (RPA) Software used for automation for various web,desktop,citrix,etc based applications.
Other Popular RPA tools are Pega, Nice, and Workfusion etc…
By considering several factors we select a RPA Tool for Businness Process Automation,
First and foremost is the technology in which RPA tool has been built, like Microsift .NET, IBM Mainframe, Java, web etc. The tool has to be platform independent, considering many of the organizations perform their day to day tasks outside the local desktop using Citrix or Virtual machines etc. So the automation solution should be able to support any application and platform.
Next most important feature is the RPA tool’s user interface. A complex user interface will delay the process of implementation and increase the learning curve and adaptability. A more user friendly interface like drag and drop, auto capture, image recognition etc. would be better.
It is important to know how effectively and easily the robots can be managed, considering these robots are going to be replacing your human workforce. There should be a high level of visibility and control in terms of process monitoring, process change, development, re-use etc.
Security is one of the most important factor to be considered. How safe are the robots when compared to the humans? After all robots/RPA tools are also a piece of software, so how much more security controls can be implemented, test the code rigidly and lock it up, the better.
Phases of RPA Life Cycle:
Life cycle in RPA begins with analysis phase. Business team and RPA Architect work together to identify a business process for RPA development.
RPA developer(Team) starts working on requirement in their environment possibly a separate development environment.
There are two approaches on which testing is being carried out-
Some organisations conduct Testing by Separate Testing Team, While other few have a dedicated testing team which perform a dedicated QA like normal SDLC flow.
Best Practice is to have a dedicated testing team which perform QA of developed bot.
Deployment and Maintenance-
After the Development and Testing closure, a bot is ready for deployment and enters maintenance phase.
There are mainly 6 steps to be followed for a successful RPA implementation.
- Identify the Automation Opportunities
- Optimize the Identified Processes
- Build a Business Case
- RPA Vendor Selection
- Pilot RPA Development
- Ramp up and Continue Building Expertise RPA bots.
At a broader level RPA testing can be grouped in to 2 categories.
First one is testing the business processes automated through RPA and the second one is testing the instructions passed on to Robots to execute user actions.
Business Process Testing
This is nothing but the conventional testing done for any application. The end to end business process automated by the RPA tool has to be validated here.
If we have to test the RPA use case, a scenario would be to test if Robot is able to get the file from server, read the data from application, compare these two data sources, identify any conflicts and send an email notification to respective owner. All combinations of data are to be validate like it is done for any other application.
There are multiple aspects when testing Robots. The first one is interpretation of the models by Robots. It is very important that the Robots are able to interpret the instructions given through the models correctly and able to perform actions on the UI accordingly. This need not be tested regularly but when the model is designed/modified or before a Robot is put into use.
Robotics Process Automation jobs can be broadly classify into 3 major categories.
- RPA Developers/Architects
- Robotic Process Automation Consultants
- RPA Leads/Managers
As bots are handling the execution here, a larger amount of work can be done in a relatively much shorter period. A faster delivery, coupled with accuracy.
It has been estimated that using robotics cuts operational costs, Robots can operate 24/7 and take no vacation, when compared to humans.
Robotics is a safe, non-invasive technology that doesn’t interfere with the inherent systems and provides perfect consistency in performing the activities across the board, each time and every time.
Accuracy & Quality
RPA offers improved services to processes that have a high probability of human error, thereby increasing accuracy. Robots are reliable, and consistent and do not whine when expected to work tirelessly.
Increased Customer Satisfaction
Delivering better quality of work with high accuracy and improved customer/client interaction leads to increased customer and client satisfaction.
Having access to error free, accurate data from various sources would improve the quality of analytics in the process.
RPA certainly boosts company efficiency by automating repetitive human effort, but there are limitations to the types of work that it can be applied to – specifically ones that require judgement.
RPA cannot read any data that is non-electronic with unstructured inputs.
companies need to be aware of diverse inputs coming from multiple sources.
RPA is not a cognitive computing solution. It cannot learn from experience and therefore has a ‘shelf life’. As processes evolve
Applying RPA to a broken and inefficient process will not fix it. RPA is not a Business Process Management solution and does not bring an end-to-end process view.