Rejoy Nair

Any successful RPA implementation will have overarching business and technical factors.

RPA tools make use of a central orchestration interface, generally called the “orchestrator,” that provides a repository of management tools for RPA operations.

What is an RPA Orchestrator?

The Orchestrator is a server and primarily has three logical components

  • Control Unit
  • Scheduler
  • License Management

These orchestrator facilities provide services to perform the robot execution steps of triggering a process, monitoring it, and halting it, thereby precluding human operators’ needs to a great extent.

An orchestrator task is an information structure that subsumes all data to run an RPA process. Tasks are registered in a task database. The scheduler is a service that uses algorithms to prioritize and queue tasks to put in in simple terms. Orchestrator events are synonymous with changes made within the Orchestrator. A Resource Manager controls the usage of licenses. It checks for available licenses and devolves robot execution onto an allocated target host system.

Key Challenges

1. Challenge: A below-par architectural design often limits a wider application scope for automating processes and influences the degree of capabilities and skills required to leverage the toolset.

Solution: RPA tools are designed by abstracting and compartmentalizing different logic and functionalities. This improves configurability, enhances reusability, and minimizes the impact of system changes. This separation of concerns provides the basis of a development framework, making it easier to identify a fault, make a change, or share configurations. It provides the structural basis to implement complex automation.

2. Challenge: Process administration. Substandard facilities can interfere with the ability to deploy and manage automation solutions. It is critical to the monitoring and tracking the progress of deployed processes.

Solution: Comprehensive set of support tools for the deployment of RPA can reduce delays. Process administration facilities equip administrators with the operational agility to properly maintain the RPA system. It should include upgrade facilities, queue, resource allocation, task management, and remote management capabilities, all through a centralized command platform for control.

3. Challenge: Lack of Usability. The focus is too often on power-packed features than the ease of user-interaction to make the best of available functionality. Usability directly influences higher levels of adoption.

Solution: UI should enable task management activities – display queue tasks, add, delete, or modify any task. UI design impacts the ease of reusability, configurability, and administration.

4. Challenge Inadequate Integration capabilities. Strong integration capabilities can lead to more robust, quicker, and more effective automation.

Solution: Built-in integration with project management tools and visualization tools. Facilities for third-party integrations and introducing custom code for integrations.

5. Challenge: Exception Handling. Required for glitch-free operation and reliability

Solution: Retry, and recovery, escalation for review by human operators when even retry fails, queue for failures, reports, utilities to trace the progress of the automation.

6. Challenge: Deficient security features can compromise access security and data security

Solution: Adequate controls, safeguards in data-processing

7. Challenge: Vital to effective deployments and leveraging of toolset capabilities.

Solution: Configuration Assistance – tooltips, annotations, and manuals help developers to train and work on the toolset and reduce the need to know the detailed nuances of every functionality

8. Challenge: Refers to capability to roll out releases across machines, handle environment-specific variables, and provide security controls for deploying to a live environment.

Solution: Continuous build and release, versioning, dependencies management using integrations with DevOps toolchain, which may even be AI-based.

9. Challenge: Ineffective Error Handling can hinder process runs and lead to system downtime. It is also relevant in upgrades and maintenance. Debugging and bug-fixing would become unnecessarily burdensome.

Solution: Robust Error-Handling. Automation should be re-trigger after process faults: real-time error notifications, detailed, high-quality logs, traceability, easy debugging, and error tracking.

10. Challenge: Lack of Process Analytics can impede continuous improvement in automation quality. This, in turn, results in poor real-time process tracking and monitoring, inadvertently leading to low operational inefficiencies.

Solution: Dynamic dashboard includes statistics-based visualizations to track processes like resource usage, process completion time, and transaction success rates. It should facilitate a high degree of auditability and ease of performance review, highlighting improvement opportunities in bot operations.

Solution: Dedicated and analytics-based optimized resource allocation. Resource allocation panel, Machine and task allocation, Built-in resource configuration, maybe even an AI-based Intelligent orchestration layer to improve utilization.

12. Challenge: Lack of maintenance facilities. This can hinder process administration, inhibit scalability options, and lead to downtimes.

Solution: Network-based centralized distribution maintenance of processes and updates. Proper facilities for maintenance of RPA scripts.

13. Challenge: Limited Scheduling options increase the complexity of bot orchestrations and hand-offs to human operators introducing the chance of human errors.

Solution: Comprehensive scheduler functionality to respond to varying degrees of demand. Scheduler script to read, prioritize, and decide tasks to be sent for execution. Process load balancing and system-triggers to dynamically minimize process wastage of automation resources.

14. Challenge: Lack of Parallel Execution capability. It inhibits the leveraging of computing resources, increases process idle time, and impedes resource usage’s effective optimization.

Solution: Parallel execution of tasks of multiple resources, of course, within the licensing restraints. Parallel execution can optimize license utilization and guarantee better service levels.

Closing Thoughts

All the above-mentioned desired solutions/features can directly result in better cost savings. Modern RPA resources must hone orchestrator capabilities in a way that connects end-to-end business processes.

It should provide:

  • The impetus to broaden the scope and scale of automation processes across the technology landscape; across different systems and technologies without compromising end-to-end visibility.
  • The organization’s conceptual force to undertake the migration of outdated/legacy business processes management solutions to new technologies using RPA.

Above all, technological solutions make sense only if it can be seen to achieve business objectives. The Orchestrator is a key component in RPA implementation’s effort and hopefully will extend in applicability with more use-case and capability with technology advancement.

Rejoy Nair

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Tags: Robotic Process Automation, RPA, RPA Automation Challenge, RPA Challenge, RPA Orchestrator, RPA Risks and Challenges, Technical Challenges in RPA