Automate business processes using Intelligent Robotics Process Automation – Part 2
In the previous blog post, I provided an introduction to SAP’s Robotic Process Automation, the different automation modes along with sample solution diagrams. This blog post will focus on how to setup your environment and get started with your first RPA bot to automate processes in SAPGUI screens. Most of the apps in S4HANA and Cloud Solutions are Fiori/Web based applications. You can create bots which can utilize screens based on different UI technology too. For this blog, I have just used SAPGUI screens.
Please note that iRPA is currently not available in SAP Cloud Platform Cloud Foundry trial accounts.
Installation and setup of components
There are couple of components which you would need to install in order to get started. Follow the installation guide to understand the prerequisites before installing these components in your Windows PC.
- Desktop Agent
- Desktop Studio
- Setup Cloud Factory
To orchestrate and schedule automation jobs, the Cloud Factory needs to be configured. Navigate to your SAP Cloud Platform (SCP) account which has the subscription for iRPA and launch the application.
The “Home” page provides a snapshot of the status of all the jobs and agents which have been configured. Navigate to the “Management” menu.
Within the management menu, there are options to create Environments and Hierarchies.
A hierarchy allows you to organize your computers and users in a parent-child relationship. This is a pre-requisite step before setting up a job in the Cloud Factory. You would need to create a CSV file with a predefined format (as mentioned in the Help documentation). Below is my Hierarchy file.
Use the Import option in the Cloud Factory to upload the hierarchy file and if you would like to reserve this PC for use with unattended jobs, remember to define the date/time range.
An environment represents a landscape in which RPA is deployed. You can create an environment for Dev, Test and Production to have a staged development of your RPA packages. In the below screenshot, I have created an environment called “Test_Environment”.
Within an environment, you must have atleast one variable of type Hierarchy. Hence, you need to create a new variable and link it with the hierarchy defined earlier. You can also create variables to store strings which can be shared between RPA packages and also credential variables to store passwords. In the below screenshot, I have created a new hierarchy variable called “Test” and linked it to the previously defined hierarchy.
This completes the setup of the Cloud Factory to cover basic requirements.
Developing your first RPA bot
Now we are ready to begin with the development of the RPA bot. Launch the Desktop studio from the Windows PC where you have installed it and begin by creating a new project.
Add a new application within your project and select “UIAutomation” as the technology. UI Automation is a standard protocol developed by Microsoft. This will list all the open applications. I am going to show how to build a RPA bot which only uses SAPGUI and hence I have selected SAP Logon. You can create your own scenarios which involve combination of different applications like SAPGUI, browser based Fiori apps and Outlook.
Once your application is created, you can add pages to it. Double click the centre of the blank page to begin capturing a page.
In the “Capture Page” window, you can enable the required options and use Alt+Tab to switch to the required windows. In the example, below its an SAPGUI Logon screen. Select the SAPGUI Logon window using the Shift key (red box appears around the window of your chosen application). Once the selection is made, switch back to the “Capture Page” window and select “Capture and edit”.
Provide a name for the page and click on “Start capture”. This will begin capturing all the screen elements and add it as a page within you application.
Once the page is added, you will be able to view it within the Desktop studio. By default, the newly added page will be displayed in red as the page criterions are not yet set.
You need to add page criterions to enable RPA to identify the corresponding windows at runtime. At runtime, it explores the DOM tree to find all DOM components matching the page’s criterions. The captured data window lists all the properties which were collected. Click on any of those properties which will help to uniquely identify the page. In the below example, I have just used the name property as a criteria.
Declare page items which would allow RPA to recognize them on the page. Just select the elements on the page and add a criteria. In the below example, I only plan to use QKX system. Hence, I’ve selected the page element QKX and added a name criteria. Later in the blog, we will see how we can attach events to this page element.
Similarly, use the “Capture a new page” option to create several other pages.
In the example below, I’ve captured a series of SAPGUI screens which use VA02 transaction to update a sales order.
Once you have captured you pages, remember to add page criterions and element criterions. In the next blog post, I will go through the configurations of workflows and scenarios.
We have tried searching for the iRPA Desktop Studio / Agent in SAP downloads but it is not found. Any ideas?
Hello Sarah, how are you??
Did you get the link to download the Studio/Angent?
Its available in the software Downloads
Also, the latest Release notes - https://launchpad.support.sap.com/#/notes/2807206
Hi Murali Shanmugham ,
Nothing shows up in Downloads by any search term related to RPA. Is this generally available?
Not sure why you cant see it in the link I sent you. Its generally available since March 2019. Try this link from the PAM section - https://apps.support.sap.com/sap/support/pam?hash=pvnr%3D73555000100900003347%26pt%3Dsd%257Cswdc
Hi Murali Shanmugham ,
Still nothing. I think it's only available if we have the license.
How we can pass the transaction codes in SAP GUI through SAP IRPA to fetch the data.
In the next blog post, I show how to pass the transaction code "VA02" via the script
could you please provide the link for SAP IRPA software to download the free trail version, it will helps to get more hands on experience to explore more.
I have put the link to the software downloads above. However, please note that this is not yet available for trial.
I captured a SAP Logon Home page with UI Technology.
Next i am trying to capture subsequent pages with SAP GUI as a technology i can see the pop up 'A script is attempting to access SAP GUI' and if i click ok .. I am not able to see any further capturing on page and its not capturing rest of the pages.
Can you please help me here.
You would have to enable scripting in SAPGUI. I have documented this in the troubleshooting section of the next blog.
Thanks for the response.
I enabled scripting in SAP GUI. now i am not getting the pop up window about GUI. But when i browse to capture with SAP GUI as technology its not showing the sap gui application to capture. Do we need to change anywhere.
Am facing similar issue while capturing Logon Screen (Page2). Am getting Pop-up and not able to move to next step post updating the criteria using SAP IRPA Deskop Studio.
Can you assist pls ?
@ Chandra – Did you find any solution ? Are you able to able create a Bot ?
Great blog on RPA,
But, i have one issue with hierarchy csv file loading, i create the csv file same as you mentioned in the blog but when i am trying to import in my dashboard it always gives error "SAP_IPA_05041 :Unable to parse hierarchy header from file".
could you please help me with this issue.
Hi Mayank Gupta,
Did you find out a solution?
Hi Murali Shanmugham,
I also get an error saying “SAP_IPA_13022 :Unable to parse hierarchy header from file”. Can you help?
I am unable to find Management tab on my ‘Intelligent Robotic Process Automation Factory’ page. Instead the Environment is directly available as an independent tab whereas hierarchy is not available. Is this because I am using a different version or due to limitations of a trial version?
I have the same problem.
Addition to that I have several other issues:
I would be appreciate if someone can help out.
Missing Machine info
I was able to fix all my issues with the guidance of this topic https://answers.sap.com/questions/13015123/desktop-agent-has-warning-connection-has-been-lost.html
I leave it in case that someone needs it.