MuleSoft is continuously striving to increase the clock speed of digital transformation for our customers, and today we’re pleased to partner with leading robotic process automation (RPA) companies to make it even easier to automate repetitive tasks and unlock data from legacy UIs.
What is RPA?
RPA combines some of the leading aspects of software development today: robots and automation. RPA is a tool that can record users performing repetitive tasks and can generate a script so that a software robot can automatically perform some of those tasks.
Why is RPA relevant in the context of API-led integration?
There are situations where an API-led approach could collaborate with RPA as a mechanism to broaden the scope of endpoints and help with the vision of an application network. Sometimes, RPA could be seen as another technique to automate business processes when an API-led effort is not yet possible, such as:
- The system we are trying to connect does not have an API. These are typically legacy applications (more prevalent in on-premise footprints).
- The system we are trying to connect is heavily customized. In this case, the target system has been customized to a point where existing APIs are not covering the customizations done to the application’s user interface. The only way to access these extensions is via the UI elements.
- The investment to create a new API is unknown. In this case, we could use RPA as a temporary instrumentation technique to assess the investment in it.
- There are different teams managing automation versus integration. The team that owns APIs and integration is different than the team that is trying to automate business processes.
What are the details of the partnerships?
We are pleased to be partnering with two leading RPA companies: Automation Anywhere and Blue Prism. It is now easy to configure an RPA bot to work seamlessly with a Mule flow, following the steps outlined in the videos below.
Automation Anywhere is a global leader in robotic process automation (RPA), automating end-to-end business processes with software bots – digital workers that perform repetitive and manual tasks, resulting in dramatic productivity gains, improved customer experience, and more
engaged employees. The company offers the world’s only web-based and cloud-native intelligent automation platform combining RPA, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and analytics right out of the box, to help organizations rapidly start and scale their process automation journey. For additional information, visit www.automationanywhere.com.
Blue Prism’s connected-RPA can automate and perform mission-critical processes, allowing your people the freedom to focus on more creative, meaningful work. More than 1,500 global customers leverage Blue Prism’s Digital Workforce deployed in the cloud or on-premises as well as through the company’s thoughtonomy SaaS offering, empowering their people to automate billions of transactions while returning hundreds of millions of hours of work back to the business. Visit www.blueprism.com to learn more about Blue Prism (AIM: PRSM).
What are attended and unattended RPA robots?
RPA is classified into two types of bots: attended and unattended. The lists below describe the differences between the two at a high level.
- What: Work together with humans. They handle tasks for people.
- How: The individual triggers the robot to do a specific task (and can interact with the robot).
- When: The individual decides when to trigger the robot execution.
- Why: Increases productivity of the individual. Very popular in call centers and other service
- What: Fully automated by scripting the robot how to do it. They typically automate back-office tasks.
- How: The robot performs specific tasks per a well defined configured script without human intervention.
- When: Robots can be triggered via APIs or per a predetermined schedule.
- Why: Frees employees from rote work, lowering costs, improving compliance, and accelerating processes
How can API-led connectivity and RPA coexist?
- Always use an API-led approach to creating integrations regardless of the integration technique (integration flows or RPA).
- Always use an API (or connector) to implement integrations. There are multiple reasons, but the primary one is throughput and transaction volumes.
- If the target system to integrate does not have an API, we could proxy the automation to transaction against the target system via a robot that can be consumed via API.
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