Learn how to develop effective and efficient robotic processes for your business.
Robotic process automation (RPA) is a series of scripted programs that perform routine actions a person normally does. A process takes data as an input, performs actions, and provides an output, either in the form of additional data or accomplishing a task. For example, you might be asked to regularly copy customer information from an email and paste it into your company's lead tracking software. This is a manual task that doesn't take much thought, but can require a lot of time.
Robotic processes act much faster and more precisely than a human being does. Robotic processes can step in when humans could be performing other tasks that require higher levels of thinking, such as tasks that require judgment or complex evaluation. So instead of copying and pasting data, you can spend that time contacting potential customers and building relationships.
RPA transforms business processes to be more efficient, highly available, easily replicated, and reliably consistent. Automation lets businesses delegate routine yet time-consuming tasks to a computer program, freeing up an employee's time and mental energy to focus on more impactful and high-value work. RPA saves businesses time, money, and brain power.
Appian RPA is a feature of the Appian platform for automating tasks using RPA. Appian RPA is made of multiple components hosted in both the Appian Cloud and in the customer environment. The components communicate during the development and execution of robotic processes.
As you begin to learn about Appian RPA, you'll learn the terms and phrases used throughout the feature. We've developed a list of Appian RPA key terms to use as a reference.
Appian RPA's web-based console is where users can create and configure robotic processes, resources, queues, and other RPA objects. The definition of these objects are stored on the orchestration server. Robotic processes rely on Java artifacts stored in the Nexus repository. Developers use Maven to push new or updated Java methods to the Nexus repository. These artifacts can then be used in the robotic process definition.
When a robotic process runs, the orchestration server retrieves the needed Java artifacts and assigns the execution to a resource. The agent on the resources are constantly polling the orchestration server and will see this new assignment. The agent then retrieves the artifacts needed for the robotic process to run (if not already on the resource) and start the execution.
This diagram demonstrates how Appian RPA components communicate:
A robotic process is made of two main parts: the Java code and a workflow. The Java code works behind the scenes to power the robot. To develop new methods in Java, you'll need to write the Java code locally and deploy it to a code repository, called Nexus. You can create a workflow in the Appian RPA Console to configure the steps a robotic process should take when it starts.
Administrators can use the Appian RPA Console to initiate, schedule, and monitor robotic processes. RPA is also integrated with Robotic Workforce Manager (RWM), where you can view reports that provide insight into how often and quickly a process runs. This data can be used to help demonstrate the value of your business's robotic automation implementation.
There are three main user types in Appian RPA: administrators, developers, and operation managers. Developers code robotic processes, push the necessary files to Nexus, and deploy robotic processes, while administrators set up resources and configure additional settings from the console. Operation managers help manage and troubleshoot robotic processes that encounter problems.
Learn how to create a robotic process with Appian RPA.
Now that you're familiar with RPA, it's time to get started using robotic processes in your applications. In practice, robotic processes and process models work together to automate tasks and events in Appian. A process model can trigger a robotic process, retrieve the results, and capture data as variable values to use later. Similarly, a robotic process can be configured to start an Appian process.
To use a robotic process in an Appian process model, you'll use the Appian RPA connected system and set up integrations. Similarly, you can use the Appian Services Module to communicate with Appian during process execution. For example, use the module to trigger a process model or upload a document.
If you are currently using Robotic Workforce Manager (RWM) to automate some of your processes in Appian, take a look at the RWM docs to learn more about how the two work together.
On This Page