Robotic automations can be used to automate the routine tasks which are repeated in a workflow. Pega robotics adds the ability to automate tasks using the user interface of existing applications. It can help speed up manual tasks by automating user actions.
Automations are created in Pega Robotic Studio. The latest version available is 8.0 and can be downloaded from PDN. The minimum requirements for running automations are PRPC 7.2.1 with Pega HFIX-29471 or PRPC 7.2.2.
There are two types of Pega robotic automations:
- Desktop Automation (RDA)
- Process Automation (RPA)
Pega Desktop Automation
Desktop automations are used to provide a unified desktop experience to users by integrating and automating desktop (or web applications) with Pega 7 applications. Desktop or web applications can be launched from flow actions and data can be transferred back and forth between the workflow and desktop applications.
Desktop automations can help reduce the redundant work that is required to copy and duplicate data in multiple applications. This can help reduce the time a CRM representative needs to spend with a customer on the phone and can also reduce data entry errors which can occur when entering the same data multiple times.
Legacy applications where APIs don’t exist or are not compatible with new Pega 7 applications can be integrated with the help of automations.
Pega Process Automation
Process automations are used for automating high-volume back-end repetitive work. Case assignments are routed to a robotic queue from where they are picked up by a robotic automation VM to perform the automations.
The working is similar to an agent but the processing is done by an automation instead of the Pega requestor processing the assignment. A new ‘type’ dropdown has been added in the work basket instance to specify a robotic automation work queue. If Robotic type is selected from the dropdown, two additional fields are displayed:
- Maximum queue length: This value is used to specify the maximum number of assignments that should be in the queue at a given time.
- Maximum automation execution time: The value is used to specify the maximum amount of time the VM is expected to take to run the automation.
Automation VM’s can be managed in Pega Robotic Automation Console. Robotic workbasket turns red when the number of assignments exceed the maximum queue length or the automation execution time. The automation console is packaged with a sample application and can be downloaded from the PDN link.
Installation and Configuration of Pega Robotic Studio
There are 2 installation options available:
- Run time only installation
- Pega Robotic Studio installation
The runtime client allows the users to run automations on a user’s desktop. The automation project can be loaded after launching the run time client and right clicking the run time icon in the task bar. During installation of the client enable RDA checkbox needs to be checked in order to enable the REST service (API) for handling automation requests from Pega 7 applications.
Pega Robotic Studio is built on top of Visual Studio. Robotic Studio is used for creating automations. The installation files and instructions can be found in Pega Robotic Automation Architect Essentials (8.0) course in Pega academy. The course also provides a sample application and step by step instructions on how to create an automation. Automations can also be invoked from a Pega application by running the debugger in robotic studio.
Both runtime and Robotic Studio have configuration files which need to be updated with Pega server base URL. At runtime, Config files are copied to the temp folder under C:/user/AppData/Roaming/OpenSpan. The files need to be updated or deleted from this folder every time the Config files are updated in order to pick up latest Config changes.
The installation and configuration instructions can be found here.
Creating a simple automation in Pega Robotic Studio
To create an automation, launch Pega Robotic Studio and create a new Pega Robotics Project (File>New). Enter a name for the project. For this example, we will create an automation for an insurance claim application. The automation will launch a website (smartystreets.com) and validate the address data entered by the user.
Add a new web application by right clicking the automation project and selecting add new web application. Enter the name for the new web application.
In the web application properties panel, update the design name, add the start page url and save the application. Set start my day property to automatic.
Click on start interrogation to launch the web site and capture the input fields using the drag capture tool. The controls captured are added in the object explorer. Design names for the controls can be updated in the properties panel.
Add a new global container to the project for adding robotic components. These components can be reused in multiple automations.
Drag a new start my day control to the global control and update the name in the properties panel. This control will be used in the automation to launch the web application.
Add a new robot activity to the global container. Update the property name in the properties panel. Add a unique activity name. This robot activity name will be specified in the flow action (in PRPC).
Add the Pega class name to pull property values from the Pega case. Click on fields (collection ellipsis) to view the relevant properties for the class. Select the properties that will be used in the automation. Relevant properties for the class can be added in PRPC by going to Designer Studio menu>Application>Inventory>Relevant records.
Next we add a new automation by right clicking the project and selecting add new automation.
Add the following objects to the automation and connect them:
- Activitystarted event of the robotic activity
- Start my day object Start Applications method. Add the web application friendly name.
- Address text box components
- Address properties under robotic activity
- Perform click method for verify button
To invoke and test this new automation from the PRPC application, specify the robotic activity name in the flow action. The automation project can be tested by either debugging the project in robotic studio or loading the project using robotic runtime.
Automation will run when the flow action is submitted. Address data will be copied to the website address fields and verify button will be clicked (Perform Click method).
Automations can be triggered from either pre or post processing of a flow action. If an automation is not available or fails to run, a message is displayed at the top of the screen and an ignore and continue button is displayed instead of submit.
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