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SAP Intelligent RPA Next Level Sneak Peek – Creating Automation with the new Cloud Studio

My name is Dr. Andreas Gerber, I am the Chief Product Owner of SAP Intelligent Robotic Process Automation. This is the fourth blog post in a sequence of articles to give you a deeper look behind the scenes of our development on the next level of our product. In Sebastian Schrötel’s previous blog post we have seen that RPA is just at the beginning of a broader evolution, followed by my first blog post on how SAP Intelligent Robotic Process Automation solution elevates to a cloud based low code automation tool in Bringing SAP Intelligent RPA to the next level. Harsha Bhat gave us some very interesting insights on how customers can adopt these innovations and find a gliding path to success by automating and optimizing business processes using SAP Intelligent RPA. Also we are constantly adding more and more content on our bot store for SAP S/4 HANA, ECC, etc.. In this blog post SAP ECC Bot Store Content for Intelligent RPA Praveen gives you an overview of our latest development there.

In this blog post, I will give you some first insights directly from our development teams on the Next Level of innovations for SAP Intelligent RPA. Here I want to show you a snapshot of our latest developments which is still work in progress. During the BETA phase we will add many additional features and improvements till the Next Level gets released. End of May 2020 we will start our BETA program where you can register and get your hands on the latest features and totally reworked user frontend in the cloud. You will experience:

  • Simpler interaction with a focus on the Business User while interacting with Excel, Screen, Loops, conditions etc.
  • Simpler to test with an advanced Automation and Screen tester saving more time in bot development and maintenance phases
  • A cloud toolset where all interactions are in a browser. No need to install a desktop tool for the design part, which lowers your total cost of ownership (TCO) at no efforts for updating / maintaining the software installations
  • Easier to maintain project for developers:
  • Coding with SDK is easier
  • Less async pattern
  • Less code to merge
  • Improved SDK structure

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New Cloud Design Time

Now, let me show you some Labs Preview screenshots of our new cloud-based design time.

 

New Automation Tester – Debug visually your project

 

Custom Script ­– Full Customization power available

 

Screen Capture Automation – Drag and Drop Activity directly onto your screen

 

New Capture in the Browser – Capture and declare screen of your application

 

New Screen tester – Validate your Screens and Elements declarations in place

 

New Formula Languages for I/O and conditions – create formulas inside your automation

 

New Excel To Data Type Wizard – Map your Excel information to DataType for simple use

 

Data are all based on Data Types definition – Easy to drive users by showing only what is compatible

 

Desktop Agent 2.0.0 – New Node.JS based architecture

But not only did we move the Desktop Studio into the cloud but also completely modernized our execution platform. The Desktop Agent in version 2.0.0. is based on a Node.JS engine replacing the current MS JScript Engine. This is a powerful and versatile framework based on the Node.JS ecosystem (https://www.npmjs.com/) allowing you to easily integrate all the available modules from the community at your fingertip. Thousands of modules can be used for quick and robust module design and integration, including best of breed JS capabilities (ES6+, threading, …), enhanced performances and many more to come.

The next level of our Desktop Agent combines the current world without any modifications on existing V1 bots, but also offering you the full power on SAP Intelligent RPA Next Level for the future.

Agent 2.0.0 can download and execute existing V1 projects (with no migration) and also new V2 projects.

 

Code generation and custom coding

We also focused on a huge simplification of generated language with a synchronous-like syntax, simplified patterns and no divergence between graphical design and code (no code merging anymore needed).

But how does the new Design Time work on real business problems?

Besides the sneak peek of the tools we also want to demonstrate the next level of user experience to you on a real customer end-to-end use case also showing you videos of the system in action. You want to mass-create sales orders in SAP ECC. The data for your orders is available as an MS-Excel file with three sheets.

  • System Details sheet which describes in which target ECC system you want to create the orders including the server and client info
  • The Order Header sheet with header information like order type, ship-to-party etc. enumerated by a ‘sequence’
  • The Item Details sheet with item information like product and quantity which relates to the order header with the ‘sequence’ number
  • The pictures below show the header and item table structures

 

Automation Design

The automation of this process is designed as three distinct steps:

  1. Read the Excel file to create data-tables that hold the whole data
  2. Manipulate these data tables to collect the data as header and corresponding items
  3. Create sales orders from each group of headers and corresponding items.

With the Next Level of SAP Intelligent RPA Cloud Studio, these steps can be easily automated by a business user without low level coding. The Cloud Studio provides new capabilities as described below, to efficiently and intuitively author these automation steps:

  1. Automatically generate the data tables by reading the excel file.
    1. The business user can simply drag and drop the MS-Excel file into the Cloud Studio automation activity “Excel Cloud Link” and auto-generate the required tables that will hold the information for further processing.
    2. The table columns are automatically created from the excel columns with corresponding names.
    3. Excel sheets can be selected, the data range in the selected sheet is automatically determined which can be edited by the user
    4. Overall, this provides an easy way to consume MS-Excel-based data within an automation. The business user can efficiently convert the excel file data into System Details, Order Header list and Item Details list.
    5. Here is a short video that illustrates this automation.
  2. Use visual programming capabilities within Cloud Studio to process the data.
    1. The Cloud Studio supports an aggregation of automations. So, an automation that was created in step 1 above can be easily consumed in another so as to use MS-Excel file as the channel to read data.
    2. The “Logics and Control” section support iteration via “For-Each” activity. Business users can easily create control the flow that loops over the Order Header and Item Details table with this control.
    3. There is an easy to use “Condition” branching activity that supports an intuitive formula language to define complex conditions. A business user can use this to filter entries from the Item Details table that corresponds to the Order Header table via the condition of same sequence number. In this way, the excel sheet tables can be denormalized to create a collection of sales order headers and corresponding items.
    4. Here is a short video that illustrates this automation.
  3. Use application capture, declaring elements and link elements to activities graphically to create UI-based automations.
    1. The business users can capture application pages from the Cloud Studio. The identification criteria of the pages are automatically proposed and can be extended by the user.
    2. Different elements of the captured pages can be declared. Smart identification criteria propose stable rules to automatically identify the elements.
    3. Different application pages can be consumed within an automation by simply dragging and dropping them to the automation.
    4. Once the pages are added to an automation, the business user can link activities to the elements. Common activities like ‘set’ values in text fields or ‘click’ buttons can be efficiently performed by a drag and drop. The set activities can then be easily bound to the data available to automation created via processing steps like the one described in step 2 above.
    5. More complex interactions like adding multiple items in a loop can be done inside the ‘for-each’ activity.
    6. Complex automation like SAP ECC sales order creation can be easily automated with these steps.
    7. The Cloud Studio also incorporates an industry-first innovation in the form of a graphical “Test” utility that will let a business user interactively test the automation. Complex capabilities like nested breakpoints in graphical automation flows, step-in, step-over etc. are supported.
    8. Here is a short video that illustrates this automation.

 

Watch all 3 video here:

With these capabilities, SAP Intelligent RPA makes a giant leap in supporting business user productivity to author production ready bots with very few efficient steps.

 

Beta program registration will be enabled end-May from the Cloud Factory

Got interested in our Next Level? End of May we will open the registration phase for the BETA program for SAP user. Please subscribe to our BETA program and work with us together to finalize the last fine-tuning and take the chance to get to know the new user experience at first hand. Our May release will offer an additional tile in the cloud factory home page, where you can click and subscribe to our BETA program or by sending us an email with your S-User ID and contact information at sapirpa-beta@sap.com.

Hope to talk to you soon on our Next Level.

 

Learn More

For more information on SAP Intelligent RPA,

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