Introduction to Robotic Process Automation with UiPath

SINEM BATMACA | TEST SPECIALIST

In the field of information systems, finding answers to “Which processes should be automated in enterprises?” and “How much of these processes should be done by people?” questions has been an ongoing problem to be solved for a long time.

Developments in artificial intelligence, data science and machine learning algorithms have added a new dimension into this problem. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is one of these developments.

The demand for these systems is increasing, as businesses are witnessed by RPA systems to improve business performance.

RPA is considered as a software which has a high impact on return on investment (ROI).

For this reason, many new RPA servers entered the market in the last 3 years (Aalst et al., 2018). There are many RPA vendors such as UiPath, BluePrism, AutomationAnywhere are market leaders, AutomationEdge, Kryon Systems.

Table:  Comparison of market leader RPA vendors (based on Issac et al., 2018; Morison,2019)

Graph: Google Trend Popularity of RPA Platforms

UiPath is one of the most widely used RPA servers and has been developed with the .NET framework. The Community Edition version is available for free download.

  • Can be used without writing code; has a user-oriented interface
  • .NET and C # codes can be integrated
  • Instead of focusing on code writing; allows focusing on workflow setup and process optimization
  • There are comprehensive community forum sites that support users.

One of the most valuable features of the software is a community that supports it. The network around the UiPath is amazing.

UiPath Studio, UiPat Robot and UiPath Orchestrator are 3 main products of RPA platform.

UiPath Studio is an advanced tool that allows users to design automation processes in a visual way through diagrams. UiPath Robot then executes those processes either unattended (without human supervision) or attended (with a human’s action triggering the process).

UiPath Studio

The UiPath Studio home page is as shown in the illustration. Processes may be defined as “Sequence” or “Flowchart”.

 The Sequence option is ideal if the process is progressing in a sequential flow.

Flowcharts are ideal in case of multiple branching and condition in the process and help to create a complex workflow.

UiPath Activities

UiPath has over 300 activities. In addition to the existing packages, packages like  Excel, Mail, PDF can also be downloaded from the “Packages” section.

UiPath WorkSpace

Sequences and flow charts are created in the workspace. Variables can be created using the Variables Pane or Properties Pane, and values can be saved.

 

Properties Pane

In the Properties pane, you can assign values to variables in the workflow. Variables can be created by pressing Ctrl + K. 

Recording and Playback

UiPath has recording and playback features. This feature automates the processes recorded by humans. There are 4 types of recordings in UiPath:

  • Basic Recording
  • Desktop Recording
  • Web Recording
  • Citrix Recording

Screen Scraping and Data Scraping

With the scraping process, data is taken from a web page or an application.

“Screen Scraping” is used to extract data from applications or web pages.

“Data Scraping” is the process of scaping repetitive data from any structured table. Data Scraping Wizard helps in data scaping.

UI Explorer

UI Explorer provides detailed information about user interface components and feature selectors.

 Run, Debug ve Breakpoints

Run is used to run the workflow in UiPath environment.

Debug is used to analyse the workflows step-by-step.

Break Point is used to pause the debugging at a particular step.

Slow step is used to execute the workflow little slower.

Example Sequence

The sequence will open the browser,  go to google.com, search weather and get the weather value.

 

Example FlowChart

The example flowchart will open the browser,  go to google.com, search weather, get the weather value and close to tab.

 

References

1.van der Aalst, Wil M. P.; Bichler, Martin; and Heinzl, Armin (2018) “Robotic Process Automation,” Business & Information Systems Engineering: Vol. 60: Iss. 4, 269-272. 
Available at: https://aisel.aisnet.org/bise/vol60/iss4/1

2.https://medium.com/@Sriram23/robotic-process-automation-rpa-with-uipath-2c7dec4d1468

  1. Issac R., Muni R., Desai K. (2018), “Delineated Analysis of Robotic Process Automation Tools.”, 2018 Second International Conference  on  Advances  in  Electronics Computers  and  Communications  (ICAECC)
  2. Morrison, M. (2019), “Risk Management in Automation of the Accounting Process”, In: Linsley P., Shrives P., Wieczorek-Kosmala M. (eds) Multiple Perspectives in Risk and Risk Management, Springer Proceedings in Business and Economics, Springer, Cham

 

 

 

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The Biggest AI Opportunity for SMBs: Chatbots

NURAY GOKMEN KAHVECI | DIGITAL MARKETING MANAGER

AI(Artificial intelligence) will have the biggest impact on society, individual consumers, and businesses in the next several years. The reason AI will be so impactful is that it promises one thing we just can’t get enough of these days: convenience.

As a small business or startup, it is unlikely that you will invest on an expert to “do AI”. It is more likely to notive AI capabilities show up in the software you are using. Existing AI technology for businesses is already remarkable, but it’s not realistic for any business to invest in all of these AI tools at once. Here is the biggest AI opportunity for your SMB business: Chatbots.

Artificial intelligence has transformed chatbots more human like than ever before, and they are becoming extensive. AI talking chatbots are taking food orders, reserving rooms, and scheduling flights. Without training, these chatbots can apply the pattern to similar problems or different questions. This ability gives them the “intelligence” to perform tasks, solve problems, and manage information without human intervention.

You can maximize the ability of artificial intelligence (AI) chatbots to improve service, save money, and increase engagement. Chatbots are rapidly moving out of the personal and into the business world and fall under the “Support” sections. According to the Facebook Messaging Survey conducted by Nielsen, 67% of people say they will message with businesses more over the next two years, and 53% say they are more likely to shop with a business they can contact via chat. To manage this massive interest in communicating with businesses via messaging apps, business will need chatbots.

80% of business decision-maker respondents to a 2016 survey by Oracle said they already used chatbots or plan to use them by 2020. Chatbots offer unique benefits for small businesses. It is a waste of money for small businesses to pay operators to answer calls or emails whenever they come in. AI-powered chatbots provide assistance to customers whenever they need it and immediately answer questions from potential customers, offering small businesses a way to simultaneously improve customer experiences and generate new business. They will enable businesses of any size to have scalable, convenient, 1-to-1 conversations whenever and wherever the customer prefers.

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The Biggest AI Opportunity for SMBs: Chatbots

NURAY GOKMEN KAHVECI | DIGITAL MARKETING MANAGER

AI(Artificial intelligence) will have the biggest impact on society, individual consumers, and businesses in the next several years. The reason AI will be so impactful is that it promises one thing we just can’t get enough of these days: convenience.

As a small business or startup, it is unlikely that you will invest on an expert to “do AI”. It is more likely to notive AI capabilities show up in the software you are using. Existing AI technology for businesses is already remarkable, but it’s not realistic for any business to invest in all of these AI tools at once. Here is the biggest AI opportunity for your SMB business: Chatbots.

Artificial intelligence has transformed chatbots more human like than ever before, and they are becoming extensive. AI talking chatbots are taking food orders, reserving rooms, and scheduling flights. Without training, these chatbots can apply the pattern to similar problems or different questions. This ability gives them the “intelligence” to perform tasks, solve problems, and manage information without human intervention.

You can maximize the ability of artificial intelligence (AI) chatbots to improve service, save money, and increase engagement. Chatbots are rapidly moving out of the personal and into the business world and fall under the “Support” sections. According to the Facebook Messaging Survey conducted by Nielsen, 67% of people say they will message with businesses more over the next two years, and 53% say they are more likely to shop with a business they can contact via chat. To manage this massive interest in communicating with businesses via messaging apps, business will need chatbots.

80% of business decision-maker respondents to a 2016 survey by Oracle said they already used chatbots or plan to use them by 2020. Chatbots offer unique benefits for small businesses. It is a waste of money for small businesses to pay operators to answer calls or emails whenever they come in. AI-powered chatbots provide assistance to customers whenever they need it and immediately answer questions from potential customers, offering small businesses a way to simultaneously improve customer experiences and generate new business. They will enable businesses of any size to have scalable, convenient, 1-to-1 conversations whenever and wherever the customer prefers.

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Decisions @Speed of Business

BÜLENT DAL | CEO

These are times that companies need to show serious improvement in their decision making processes in turning data into decisions and actions. Even though in a world we talk about artificial intelligence and robots we have gone too fast creating automated decisions in digitalized processes, we still couldn’t catch this flow at companies with organizational hierarchies.

Most of the business decisions are made by humans as they are unstable and should be flexible according to the current situations in operational processes. When making these sort of data related to business decisions it is important to process the operational data as if it is done for raw petrol. At this point, as it is impossible to start a car engine with raw petrol, it is not possible to create meaningful actions for companies who don’t provide data insights for their decision makers.

The increase in data volume is higher than the data that turned into meaningful insights.  Within the past year, the companies which have data volume over 100 terabytes had doubled it. We are drowning in the data! However, the companies use only %20 structured data and only %10  unstructured data(social media, contacts, calls, video, sensors,etc.) in their decisions(*). Unfortunately, the % of used data will decrease, if we add filters to these decisions like smart, automated and optimum. The companies stuck themselves to a narrow window when using the data! “Drowning in the data, but not starving for insights” problem is caused by 3 main reasons: human, processes, and technology. The human-related reason is mainly caused by lack of teamwork between Business and IT teams when taking actions to increase data-driven business management process.  What has to be done in technology for data management is always the same for years. But due to working dynamics, it is impossible to realize it. As it is always the top priority for new store openings, campaigns, etc. for Business teams. When it is not a priority for Business teams to define an approach to their business management types, It is hard to expect big achievements with IT team’s solutions.

The most critical problem is the lack of the data-driven management approach from top to end decision makers in taking a business decision by looking into the right indicators for each process. When this approach is not adopted, the limited employees or data scientists will not contribute to the company. Even with the simplest BI tools, the results will be either subjective or unrelated to the real business processes.

%66 (*) of the companies keep their reporting and analysis data in excel. In other words, they don’t have a data-driven management approach! Decisions are taken either according to the personal expertise or thoughts on data sets gathered from manual BI tools and/or excel sheets. %34 of the companies get results of their decisions at the speed of business (**). For example, getting data to find an answer on why “A” product sells more than “B” or the profit decrease in “C” category will take with their entire tools and infrastructure. Only %3 of companies can create critical insights.

In order to increase data-driven management approach, it is a necessity to built a system to create calculated indicators and insights for decision makers other than letting them drowning in big data. Otherwise,  instead of having as many insights as we can get from our data, we will end up spending more time on analyzing data, calculations and getting insights, getting false results due to personal insights.

Sources: (*)Business Technographics Global Data and Analytics Survey, Forrester, June 2017.

(**) Augmented Analytics Is the Future of Data and Analytics, Gartner, July 2017.

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