The User Interface: The Long-Standing RPA Reliability Question
I have been reading quite a few posts lately that have aimed at poking holes in the overall reliability of RPA. The complaint isn’t one that is very new or novel. It’s actually been around since the concept of “computer vision” and “scripting” were first introduced. It stems from the concept that integration through the User Interface is not as reliable as doing it through the back end. No kidding, most people know this to be true. The question I ask, how much will that cost and, in some cases, is that even technically possible?
I, too, once had a server bias. I grew up in era of large integration projects where “custom code” became a need for systems to talk or work with each other.
Over 15 years ago that all changed. I interviewed for a development position at a company that was an early adopter of RPA techniques. I was familiar with web and windows testing tools. But the concept of RPA or scripting at that time was built around “reliability”. Meaning, a process has to run as expected and do what it needs to do every single time. I was very intrigued and ended up taking the position. Little did I know years later I would be such a proponent of the platform! Granted, back then the tools that make automation more trustworthy weren’t available. Most importantly the techniques to make a process reliable still hold true today.
A developer can always make a process 100% reliable. However, it might require sleepless nights and lots of coffee, but you can always get there.
It’s with this thought process I feel confident that with a combination of a little elbow grease and today’s tools (Image recognition, Google OCR, reliable web connections, UIA and Citrix Extension), almost anything can be automated reliably. I think with the right minds developing solutions using AI and other recognition tools, reliability will be the standard not the exception in 2019 and beyond.
Peter S Camp is the CTO and Founder of CampTek Software. He has been developing RPA Applications for over 15 years. For further questions, discussion or inquiry about CampTek Software Services, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.