A Testing Experts Take on Tricentis’ Robotic Process Automation (RPA) Tool. | TTC Global

A Testing Experts Take on Tricentis’ Robotic Process Automation (RPA) Tool

Brendan is one of TTC's Senior Principle Consultants. He shares his thoughts on where he see the future of RPA.

  • Brendan Lester
  • 3 December 2019

RPA services and software is anticipated to grow from a $7 billion dollar industry to a $17 billion dollar industry over the next 4 years. Task automation is mission critical to most work forces to keep up with the speed of change.

So what is RPA?

RPA can be attended or unattended.

Attended RPA

“Automation that interacts in real time with humans who initiate and control robot tasks, often embedding functions within applications, generally associated with front office, agent let activities.”

Unattended RPA

“Automation that replaces a complete human function in a ‘lights-out’ ‘batch-oriented’ manner, creating a virtual workforce, generall associated with back office activities.”

Currently only 13% of all enterprises and considered advanced in RPA with over 100 bot running at any given time. As organizations move through the RPA implementation and maturity process areas of automation commonly include:

  • Industrial Automation at the manufacturing level
  • Chat and Leadbots for IT help desks, web, and social
  • Client Onboarding
  • HR and Financial Operations
  • Supply Chain

TTC’s Senior Principal Consultant, Brendan Lester, has a development and architectural background. The following is his take on Tricentis’ RPA tool and what the future holds RPA.

"I cherish IT in all that is good. My first impression of Robotic Process Automation (or RPA) a couple of years ago was, as a dirty hack! Why not just engage IT and get the job done right? Well, to put it simply, because that can take forever and be nigh on impossible if spanning across multiple systems. In the least, it will have significant costs, likely overruns and to be honest, still miss the point.

With RPA, the more relevant question is; why engage numerous teams of people and processes, spanning weeks, months and years, when one person can make it all happen and perhaps be done in a day?

RPA has three core propositions:

  1. The Poor Man's Integration
  2. To Augment/Automate Manual Tasks
  3. To Validate Critical Checks

In meeting these, RPA can initially worry people about being put out of work. But quite aside from the idea of moving people onto more valuable activity or retraining them as bot creators, I have experienced users significantly wanting to have their mundane activities automated for the good of their mental health. And I’ve personally witnessed users receiving physical injuries as a result of using the software that IT provides in a repetitive manor. IT and what we do isn’t always that good!

There have been RPA tools on the market for a while now. The typical challenges with these are that you practically need IT developers to use them and they can be brittle. They can often stop working after being impacted by the smallest amount of change in an environment and subsequently require urgent maintenance and human backup plans to be in place. Suddenly, that done in a day isn’t really working out.

Tricentis introduced its RPA solution to the market in mid-2019. I have personally been using it since its launch and have been in close contact with the RPA product team since. We have shared use cases, collaborated on process design and discussed and ironed out teething issues together as we prepared bots for one of our clients. I recently discussed RPA with the Tricentis leads at Accelerate in Vienna, culminating right at the very top with Wolfgang Platz.

The differentiator with Tricentis RPA is the same as Tricentis Tosca vs script-based test automation tools. Tricentis products are model-based. The use of models provides an abstraction layer between the automation logic and the system being automated. This abstraction layer in turn provides a significant level of resiliency. In other words, automation using Tricentis technology doesn’t break anywhere near as much when the underlying systems change. This is a significant, total cost saving.

Tricentis products don’t require coding skills. Again, I’m a developer and I like code. The Tricentis products don’t need the skill set I can offer. In fact, I initially had a hard time when learning Tricentis products as I often wanted to know how it is working behind the scenes. How is that buffer stored as a variable? How is that engine driving the system? Most people using the Tricentis tools don’t operate like that, nor care to. They simply want to drag, drop, fill in the gaps and execute the automation. And they can, easily. Using Tricentis technology doesn’t require you to be a developer. This is an additional, significant total cost saving.

Tricentis RPA is being introduced to the marketplace, almost for free. There is no tools cost on developing a bot and there is no tools cost on facilitating the operational environment. There’s only a minor cost on the execution of a bot. And even then, it’s a concurrent cost. Meaning, I could have 10 bots, but if only 1 is ever running at a time, I only pay for 1. Because bots can be processing asynchronous background tasks spread across 24/7, it’s highly likely that I don’t need to have them all running at the same time. Regardless, the single running execution cost is as cheap as chips at only USD$2,000 per annum.

Spending on RPA tools is predicted to reach $1.5B in 2020. With their lower costs, easy development and more robust runtimes, I look forward to watching the Tricentis offering mature and gain uptake and inclusion in this spend.

I look forward to continuing to work closely with the Tricentis product teams and our clients during this exciting time."

To learn more about TTC services using Tricentis RPA please visit: https://ttcglobal.com/what-we-do/digital-enablement/robotic-process-automationand be looking out for our upcoming client case study regarding RPA.