RPA General Discussion

Discuss Robotics Process Automation. RPA is a rapidly growing field with 6 figure incomes and an extreme workforce shortage. This sub forum will be used to discuss aspects of RPA as it relates to both scripting languages and RPA software such as UIPath or Automation Anywhere
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tank
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RPA General Discussion

27 Mar 2019, 14:15

Discuss Robotics Process Automation. RPA is a rapidly growing field with 6 figure incomes and an extreme workforce shortage. This sub forum will be used to discuss aspects of RPA as it relates to both scripting languages and RPA software such as UIPath or Automation Anywhere
  • Assessing a Business Process
  • PDD - Documenting details of the current manual process as well as data sources and any current output
  • SDD - What will the automated process look like?
    • What data points drive the automation and what output and audit trail are necessary?
    • What exceptions are planned for the process?
  • Building a solution. A standardized approach.
  • Run-book, How to setup, run and troubleshoot basic problems.
While the above are important components of the automation life-cycle, we must not overlook the challenges that hinder market penetration.
Challenges Include:
  • Education
    • Many business have never seen automation and cannot imagine the ROI, Error reductions and scalability of RPA
    • Because the workforce shortage it is usually necessary to train your own workforce
  • Cost of entry into RPA in your business can exceed 100k as an entry point.
We are troubled on every side‚ yet not distressed; we are perplexed‚
but not in despair; Persecuted‚ but not forsaken; cast down‚ but not destroyed;
https://www.facebook.com/ahkscript.org
If you have forum suggestions please submit a pull request
Check Out WebWriter
Thanks Tank :thumbup:
burque505
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Re: RPA General Discussion

28 Mar 2019, 18:34

Thanks for creating this forum. This has been a central focus of mine for about a year and a half. I've installed and worked with the following platforms, at different times:
Automation Anywhere (ancient, version 6, not installed)
WinAutomation v.8(not installed, but have access)
UiPath (certificates, award, latest community edition installed)
AssistEdge (installed)
RPA Express (installed)
Kryon (installed)
Hiro (installed but not currently active)

I have also worked with vTask Studio, Actiona, Sikuli, SikuliX, Kantu, and SeeShell, none of which I currently use.

UiPath seems to be skyrocketing into the leadership ranks, thanks in no small part to their vibrant user community, (extremely) accessible and engaged management, free training, and community edition. It remains my favorite, in no small part due to the fact it has AutoHotkey activities available from their gallery. I've been able to run C# in UiPath via AutoHotkey, interact with bash on Win10 with AutoHotkey, build small UIs for robots with AutoHotkey, and many other things. UiPath also plays well with most MS Office applications.

AssistEdge is very much reminiscent of UiPath, and appears to owe a lot to it. It can also run C# scripts (it appears to have CS-Script built in. CS-Script is a great
program in and of itself. I used it to compile the EventHelper dll suggested by Lexikos in the CLR topic of the forum here from the code in his example. It's used by at least one major RPA platform, I hope we can get to use it from AHK somehow).

Kryon is a great up-and-coming RPA company. Free edition (apparently), free training. I installed it when it was free, several months ago, it now seems not to be connecting easily to the servers - but it does (probably my system). It takes a while to load. NOTE - doesn't play well with scaled displays!

So far UiPath is the only one of these that has (as far as I can tell) welcomed AutoHotkey into the fold.

Although not RPA per say, Bizagi (BPM, "Digital Process Automation") is very closely related to RPA. I believe UiPath is actively working with them at the moment, which

certainly seems like good synergy to me.

Ones I'd love to try, that seem way out reach:
Blue Prism
PEGA
Kapow

I look forward to everyone's experiences.

Regards,
burque505
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Tigerlily
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Re: RPA General Discussion

31 Mar 2019, 03:02

tank wrote:
27 Mar 2019, 14:15
Discuss Robotics Process Automation. RPA is a rapidly growing field with 6 figure incomes and an extreme workforce shortage. This sub forum will be used to discuss aspects of RPA as it relates to both scripting languages and RPA software such as UIPath or Automation Anywhere
  • Assessing a Business Process
  • PDD - Documenting details of the current manual process as well as data sources and any current output
  • SDD - What will the automated process look like?
    • What data points drive the automation and what output and audit trail are necessary?
    • What exceptions are planned for the process?
  • Building a solution. A standardized approach.
  • Run-book, How to setup, run and troubleshoot basic problems.
While the above are important components of the automation life-cycle, we must not overlook the challenges that hinder market penetration.
Challenges Include:
  • Education
    • Many business have never seen automation and cannot imagine the ROI, Error reductions and scalability of RPA
    • Because the workforce shortage it is usually necessary to train your own workforce
  • Cost of entry into RPA in your business can exceed 100k as an entry point.
Hi tank - thank you very much for creating this discussion board for RPA and allowing me to be a part of the group!

I have not used any RPA software before (other than AHK, which I beleive counts as an RPA software?) - although I did look around last week at documentation for BluePrism, Automation Anywhere and UIPath, but was not very successful in figuring out how to actually start programming with them. Maybe I was tired at the time and so that is why I was having troubles finding/doing what I wanted. Looks like there are some resources within this board already where I can continue my journey and actually be successful this time. Awesome.

From what I have gathered, you are running your own consulting business where you help other businesses sucessfully implement RPA tech at their business. Is that right? I'm guessing that you Educate, Create the Process, then you either Implement the Process with or without the business' direct support, or line them out how to implement it? If that is what you do - that is awesome and inspiring!

I know that automation is a booming industry right now, but it's hard to see what is going on if you aren't really involved with others in the industry. How has this affected you, no shortage of work I presume?

Why is cost of entry so high for businesses? Is it the cost of the software? Cost of developers? Cost of maintenance? What are businesses doing to mitigate / manage these costs?
  • Many business have never seen automation and cannot imagine the ROI, Error reductions and scalability of RPA
  • Because the workforce shortage it is usually necessary to train your own workforce
[*]
I am currently experiencing this problem where I work, as I'm trying to get them to implement AHK outside of my department. All the execs that I've spoken with who are championing "automation" don't even understand what it is or the scalability/power/cost savings/ROI/etc. is. I have to spoon feed them without showing what is actually happening with highly simplified powerpoint slides that focus on Time Saved, ROI, Additional Benefits, Future Use-Cases, etc. I recently had a biz conference with a couple Execs, showing them what it is doing for our department - and it was plain obvious that they were gung-ho about automation, but that they are just saying "automation this, automation that, blah blah..." without really educating themselves on what automation is or could be. It has been quite interesting, actually, as I was surprised to see how many high-level employees sort of "deer in headlights" it when you talk to them about automation.
burque505 wrote:
28 Mar 2019, 18:34
burque505,

That is very cool that you have had the opportunity to test out all those various RPA softwares/solutions. Why has this been a central focus of yours for the last couple of years? Are you learning these because you see a future where you are utilizing these softwares for your full-time job? Are you already doing this as your full-time job?

It appears that you lost focus and motivation to keep working with Automation Anywhere. Why is that? Because UIPath is just so much better and more integratable with AHK? Based on the responses from both you and tank - I think I will start off with experimenting with UIPath, as my time is extremely limited, so it's hard for me to just go off on several explorations at any given time. Would you recommend that approach, or should I dabble in both AA and IUP?

@tank/@burque505: Of course - I may be asking questions you don't want to answer. I am hungry to learn. Apologies if you feel that I am digging too deep. I am not 100% sure how this board functions yet, so just going all out and asking questions to deepen my knowledge base. Hope this is understandable! :D

Some general thoughts/info/questions:

Info/Thoughts:

Right now I'm working for an enterprise Digital Marketing agency, particularly doing SEO. A few months ago, I learned that AHK has much more power/functionality than I knew about. For about a year prior, I was using it as simply keyboard remapping to help speed up word editing tasks and internet browsing.. you know like a simple F1::^x kind of thing. That's all I thought that AutoHotkey could do. :lol: I became interested in automation when I realized that a ton of the work I was doing could be sped up or possibly even eliminated using AHK automation. Now I've been using mainly for Data Retreival, Reporting, and Auditing tasks, as well as slowly developing a helpful Excel utility for SEOs. I've gained recognition over how much time I've been able to save, as well as innovating the organizations legacy processes, however upper leadership is still having a hard time understanding that my frameworks could be implemented outside of my departments, which would result in a drastic reduction in labor hours and highly error-prone tasks/mind numbing data entry+analysis. I'm not super concerned though because it's really their loss, not mine. I have been able to intensely study and create AHK code, which has been very self-rewarding for me. Now I am considering trying to apply my newfound knowledge and skills somewhere else that is more open to the power and awesomeness that automation brings. I am still, however, extremely new to AHK and programming in general (this is my first language), so I often feel this shortcoming as I try to write code :D I see that many others on this forum have a solid background in programming, or at least levels far above what I could understand or think about.

Questions To All:

In the US alone, out of 100% of businesses here, how many do you think are (a) utilizing RPA and (b) actually implementing it effectively & without a ton of difficulty? How about on the global scale?

How do you see this changing in the next 3 years? 5 years? 10 years??

What businesses are you 100% sure of that are already successfully implementing RPA within their business? What about big, highly-visible brands?

Do you consider AutoHotkey an RPA software? Why or why not? It seems RPA is usually associated with a visual process aspect vs. coding, is that safe to aassume?

What do you see as advantages/disadvantages of AutoHotkey VS. currently used RPA software (focusing mainly on UIPath, Automation Anywhere, and BluePrism due to their popularity)?

How has the RPA industry affected your life? Have you seen it affect others around you in a significant way?

How do you get a job in this RPA/RDA industry? I've seen some job listings wanting 10-20+ years of developing experience - this seems really crazy high, but maybe it's because one needs a very thorough and well- understanding of advanced programming implementations. I - with about 4 months of experience in AHK and programming in general - see this as a significant industry barrier to entry for myself. However, as mentioned above, I am already utilizing AHK to implement innovative (at least at my company) automation solutions to reduce labor hours and employee burnout, so I feel like I could most definitely apply my knowledge and skills at other organizations, with a similar positive outcome.

If you already have a job/had a job in this industry, do/did you find it fulfulling? Exciting? Draining? Not worth it/definitely worth it (what the job entails)?

Who are big industry thought leaders on these topics?

Where do you go to learn more about this topic?

Are you involved in any other groups related to this topic?


Thanks everyone for your input and participation - this is a really cool board and community to be a part of.

Cheers
-TL
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Re: RPA General Discussion

31 Mar 2019, 16:41

WOW what a post!! 8-)
I will try and answer what i can let me know if i miss something.
Tigerlily wrote:
31 Mar 2019, 03:02
booming industry right now
Yes frankly it is a little like the wild wild west
Tigerlily wrote:
31 Mar 2019, 03:02
this affected you, no shortage of work I presume?
I am literally approached weekly by other firms attempting to recruit me. That isnt because I am so cool, but rather because it is a difficult skillset to find
  • Assessing a business process is really more of a talent and less of a skill. It has more in common with being a detective than a surgeon. Most firms will train you on the RPA software they use. It really has more to do with your ability to analyze a business process
    • Getting yourself trained on the individual process.
    • Determining which steps are rule based vs judgement calls.
    • Determining the volume and amount of human error that can be resolved.
    • Determining which steps of the process should be handled as exceptions because they are unusual and by themselves provide little ROI
  • The ability to articulate ROI and scalability and less on how(no one really cares :wtf: )
Tigerlily wrote:
31 Mar 2019, 03:02
beleive counts as an RPA software?
I consider AHK to have far greater implications and applications that RPA software
Tigerlily wrote:
31 Mar 2019, 03:02
running your own consulting business
Uh no. I worked for a bank for 13 years doing automation. Then i went to work for a consulting firm and now I work exclusively for an oil company in Dallas TX.
Tigerlily wrote:
31 Mar 2019, 03:02
AutoHotkey VS. currently used RPA software
  • IT Governance
    • Division of duties and access between Dev, test and production.
    • Credential Management. Developers or production support need never see or know credentials which can be managed by someone else.
    • Access and Audit trails
  • Remote deployment
Tigerlily wrote:
31 Mar 2019, 03:02
Why is cost of entry so high for businesses? Is it the cost of the software? Cost of developers? Cost of maintenance? What are businesses doing to mitigate / manage these costs?
  • Most of the enterprise licenses start at 10k couple that with developers with six figure salaries. But if you properly assess and articulate ROI which can realistically be in the range of 800% the cost doesnt matter
True story. I came to this oil company after 18 months of a failed engagement from one of the big 4 consulting firms setting up Automation. Not one single production bot deployed. 3 months in A team that i am guiding are rolling out 4 production automations. 1 took us 3 weeks and has an ROI of ~800k. That was low hanging fruit
Tigerlily wrote:
31 Mar 2019, 03:02
I may be asking questions you don't want to answer
Nonsense!!! :superhappy: :superhappy: That is the point of this forum.
Tigerlily wrote:
31 Mar 2019, 03:02
In the US alone, out of 100% of businesses here, how many do you think are (a) utilizing RPA and (b) actually implementing it effectively & without a ton of difficulty? How about on the global scale?

How do you see this changing in the next 3 years? 5 years? 10 years??

What businesses are you 100% sure of that are already successfully implementing RPA within their business? What about big, highly-visible brands?
In the US i would guess less than 1% and less internationally. I am actually contractually prohibited from disclosing these companies :headwall: As to how it will change. we should start to see some standardized approaches and universities taking it up
Tigerlily wrote:
31 Mar 2019, 03:02
How has the RPA industry affected your life? Have you seen it affect others around you in a significant way?

How do you get a job in this RPA/RDA industry? I've seen some job listings wanting 10-20+ years of developing experience - this seems really crazy high, but maybe it's because one needs a very thorough and well- understanding of advanced programming implementations. I - with about 4 months of experience in AHK and programming in general - see this as a significant industry barrier to entry for myself. However, as mentioned above, I am already utilizing AHK to implement innovative (at least at my company) automation solutions to reduce labor hours and employee burnout, so I feel like I could most definitely apply my knowledge and skills at other organizations, with a similar positive outcome.

If you already have a job/had a job in this industry, do/did you find it fulfulling? Exciting? Draining? Not worth it/definitely worth it (what the job entails)?
I was doing VBA macros at my desk and a vp noticed and asked if i could extract data from mainframes for a portfolio we were selling. it was going to be a 6 month project for 32 people i did it in 6 weeks with 14 desktops. They were hooked. I was later introduced to AutoHotkey. I still love it every day

As to the required experience.... UTTER RUBBISH!!! Any scripting experience and a good analytical mind in an interview and i train the rest. Having a fabulous looking Linked in profile will do wonders for you
Tigerlily wrote:
31 Mar 2019, 03:02
Who are big industry thought leaders on these topics?

Where do you go to learn more about this topic?

Are you involved in any other groups related to this topic?
We are still in the wild wild west of Automation. No universities teach it and everyone is just scrambling to get a piece of the giant pie. I am in a couple linked in groups but i consider them a little like the saying about tits on a bull
We are troubled on every side‚ yet not distressed; we are perplexed‚
but not in despair; Persecuted‚ but not forsaken; cast down‚ but not destroyed;
https://www.facebook.com/ahkscript.org
If you have forum suggestions please submit a pull request
Check Out WebWriter
Thanks Tank :thumbup:
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Scr1pter
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Location: Germany

Re: RPA General Discussion

04 Apr 2019, 06:51

When I see Google Images about RPA,
I almost only see whole robots.

For me, personally, (as non-business use)
a single electrical hand might be useful too.
Let's say when you want to do workings on wood,
or even pressing hardware buttons.

Is something like this possible/available?

Cheers!
Please use code tags when posting code!
Keyboard: Logitech G15 FE - Mice: Logitech G9 FE, G502 FE, G602 - OS: Windows 10 Pro 64 Bit - AHK version: 1.1.29.00
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tank
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Re: RPA General Discussion

04 Apr 2019, 07:36

Scr1pter wrote:
04 Apr 2019, 06:51
possible/available
If there is an API the answer is yes. If you're talking about something connected through a com port,you would have to use a scripting language or uipath or write a dll first
We are troubled on every side‚ yet not distressed; we are perplexed‚
but not in despair; Persecuted‚ but not forsaken; cast down‚ but not destroyed;
https://www.facebook.com/ahkscript.org
If you have forum suggestions please submit a pull request
Check Out WebWriter
Thanks Tank :thumbup:
User avatar
Scr1pter
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Re: RPA General Discussion

04 Apr 2019, 07:38

Nope I meant the hardware only :)

Cheers!
Please use code tags when posting code!
Keyboard: Logitech G15 FE - Mice: Logitech G9 FE, G502 FE, G602 - OS: Windows 10 Pro 64 Bit - AHK version: 1.1.29.00
burque505
Posts: 1094
Joined: 22 Jan 2017, 19:37

Re: RPA General Discussion

07 Apr 2019, 12:53

Some thoughts on deciding whether or not to use RPA in your business:

Before you automate, consider these points:
1. Do you have processes that require a large, dedicated, tech-savvy staff?
2. Can you identify each time-consuming sub-process?
3. Do you have processes needing additional staff during seasonal peaks?
4. Have you determined the number of repetitive steps are involved in each process?
5. What different software applications do the processes use now?
6. Are there points in the processes that require human decision making?
  • A. If yes, automation should be attended or hybrid.
7. How long does each process take NOW to complete from end-to-end?
8. How often are these processes changed?
9. What's the lead time for changing processes?
10. What benefit will you get by removing repetitive activities within processes?
  • A. Generally, save time;
  • B. reduce error; and
  • C. improve uniformity and repeatability.
11. Will it improve staff morale if you automate?

Good candidates for RPA
1. Structured processes - those with a training manual in place, for example.
2. Clear decision logic - decision points are already defined and documented.
3. Many processes requiring use of multiple software applications.
4. A process prone to human error - e.g. data capture and transfer.
5. Processes that are mindlessly repetitive, mundane and unsatisfying.
6. High transaction volume with steps that now take lots of time individually.
7. Complex activities in general, if they involve software.

Poor candidates for RPA
1. Processes that are unstable or scheduled for change.
2. Processes that are being updated right now.
3. Processes where decisions aren't based on historical data.
4. Processes where decisions are not controlled by defined business rules.
5. Processes where decisions are based on gut feelings or intuition.
6. Systems that are being updated, are not mature, or are relatively unstable.

All these should lead to great ROI:
1. Your customers' experience will most likely be much better.
2. You'll reduce your operational and regulatory risk.
3. You'll increase operational efficiency.
4. Staff adherence to rules, regulations, and process workflow will improve.
5. Your processes will become second nature to your staff much faster.
6. Both consistency and quality of your data will improve.
7. Training costs will go down.

Regards,
burque505

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