Quick No-Pro Year End RPA Tip

Quick NO-PRO year end RPA/IA tip

Not sure why am I writing this at this hour (3:00 am India Time). Planning to draw an analogy between “RPA Project Implementation” & the movie “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York”

If you know what the movie is all about – “Kevin (a kid) accidentally boards a flight to New York City and gets separated from his family who are on their way to Miami. He then bumps into two of his old enemies, who plan to rob a toy store.” (Source: IMDB)

Now if I were to consider Kevin as a bot – I would definitely think of him as a smart or an intelligent bot.

ASK ME WHY? Here you go –

  • Kevin thought he knew everything
  • Kevin could convince a flight attended that his parents are on-board a particular flight
  • Kevin knows how to impersonate his dad
  • Kevin knows how to swipe a credit card
  • Kevin knows how to check-in to a hotel by himself
  • Kevin knows how to handle two grown up men

Agree that Kevin is smart but whatever he did was probably not right. Whom to blame? – His parents of course. And can we call his parents as BA / Developers?

What went wrong with BA / Developers?

  • Kevin’s parents did not train Kevin to follow a certain direction
  • Kevin’s parents trained Kevin based on certain assumptions like
    • Assume anyone with brown coat to be your dad
    • Assume any flight to be going to Miami without verifying
  • Kevin’s parents did not train Kevin to listen to flight attendant. He just puts on his Walkman when the flight attendant makes the departure announcement to New York City.

What happened eventually?

While Kevin had a gala team himself –

  • He ruined everyone’s Christmas party (Project Failed miserably)
  • He incurred a huge cost by swiping the credit card as per his will (High postproduction maintenance cost)

Lessons learnt

  • Make sure to have your ears wide open during the requirements gathering phase
  • Design the bot to work smart but not overly smart which may harm your business
  • Never proceed with assumptions. Always ask questions.
  • Develop a bot that knows how to read input and knows what need to be produced as an output
  • Develop a bot that knows how to handle exceptions and unforeseen scenarios
  • Save on huge maintenance costs by not being Kevin 🙂

Goes without saying – do watch the movie – 1000x better than this writing. 😀

Any suggestions / pro-tips are welcome.

Wish you all a Very Happy New Year 2021.

#rpa #roboticprocessautomation #intelligentautomation #processautomation #homealone #homealone2

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RPA – Managing Roles in Automation Anywhere (AA)

RPA – Managing Roles in Automation Anywhere (AA)

As part of your job role –

Do you manage users and decide what function(s) they have access to? – If the answer is yes, then it is imperative that you know how to manage roles & assign roles to users in Automation Anywhere.

In this article, I will specifically focus on ROLES and try to answer questions like –

  • What kind of roles are available in AA?
  • Can we create a custom role?
  • How to create a custom role?

Here is a snippet of Automation Anywhere Control Room Administration screen –

So, there are two kinds of roles available in AA –

  1. System Created Roles (otherwise known as ‘Default’ Roles or ‘Preconfigured’ Roles)
    • These roles come default as part of AA configuration
  2. User Created roles (otherwise known as ‘Custom’ Roles)
    • These types of roles can be created by users from scratch and functionality can be defined as needed

What is possible with these roles? – Check the info below –

In addition, you can perform the following tasks on a role –

Following table lists all ‘System Created Roles’ –

*Bot Insight, BotFarm, and IQ Bot roles are displayed only if you have respective licenses

Following table lists all permissions that can be set for a user-created role –

All this info is well documented on AA’s website. Do keep a tab for latest updates.

Please drop in a message with regards to the article and / or future post recommendations. Thank you.

Good luck with the automation journey!!

#rpa #automation #automationanywhere #virtualworkforce #intelligentautomation #processautomation #automate #digitalworkforce #digitaltranformation #roboticprocessautomation #controlroom #administration #roles #managingroles

Product Mapping between UiPath & AutomationAnywhere

Product Mapping between UiPath & AutomationAnywhere

Thanks to COVID season for sleepless nights. 😊

Just tried listing & mapping the products from UiPath & Automation Anywhere based on their purpose. All information has been picked up from both of their websites.

Note: This article is not meant to compare or conclude on any feature as such between the two RPA providers.

UiPath Product Automation Anywhere Product Purpose
Process Mining “UiPath Process Mining” analyzes log data from applications (ERP / CRM / etc.) and reveals processes that have the potential to be automated
Task Capture “UiPath Task Capture” helps you build a PDD
Automation Hub “UiPath Automation Hub” is a web application used to build & manage automation opportunities within a company
Task Mining (Coming soon) Discovery Bot “AA Discovery Bot” discovers processes with AI and creates the bot to a certain extent that developer can edit and customize
Studio Bot Creator (AA Client) While UiPath requires a client software to be installed to create a bot – AA has both the Client (v11.x) as well as the Cloud version (A2019) to create bots
Studio X Bot Creator (AA Client) UiPath offers a limited version of Studio called ‘Studio X’ for non-techie users that requires no coding knowledge and helps business users jumpstart building automations by themselves
Document Understanding IQ Bot To extract info from structured and unstructured documents
Orchestrator Control Room Manage the RPA ecosystem
Automation Cloud A2019 Manage automation with minimal or no infra. “AA A2019” goes a step allowing to create bots on cloud
AI Fabric “UiPath AI Fabric” helps Data Scientist deploy their ML models and analyze them via UiPath
Test Suite “UiPath Test Suite” is a product to test the automations
Robots Bot Runner Attended & Unattended Bots
Action Center “UiPath Action Center” is an interface built to bridge the gap between Humans & Robots.
Chatbots While UiPath has partnered with Druid AI for ChatBots – AA has APIs to connect with IBM Watson and Google Diagflow
Insights Bot Insight Provides Analytics to measure the overall performance of bots


Please do let me know if any of the mapping above needs a correction.

Good luck with the automation journey!!

#rpa #automation #automationanywhere #uipath #virtualworkforce #intelligentautomation #processautomation #automate #digitalworkforce #digitaltranformation #roboticprocessautomation #learnautomation #ai #datascience





Explored “Automation Anywhere (AA) Community Edition” yet?

Explored “Automation Anywhere (AA) Community Edition” yet?

Hello RPA community – have you all tried getting your hands dirty on “Automation Anywhere (AA) Community Edition” yet? If not – I hope to assist you explore the edition with this article.

So, what is “Automation Anywhere Community Edition” all about? It is a cloud-based platform that helps you create automation over the web and is primarily meant for learning & training purposes.

It is a simple three-step process to access the Community edition

  1. Register yourself here – https://www.automationanywhere.com/products/enterprise/community-edition
  2. After registering – you would receive an email from AA with details like URL & User Credentials
  3. Reset the password & login to Community Edition Web Page

This is how the home page looks after I login to my account –

home page

As you can see, there are quick short cuts to

  • Create a Bot
    • This immediately gets you started building a bot online
  • Launch IQ Bot
    • IQ Bot helps you scan structured & unstructured documents (Invoices, Driving License, Contracts, PO, etc.) and extract data points (like Invoice Date, Invoice Amount, Driving License Number, SLA Agreement, etc.) out of those documents. Like an OCR Engine.
  • Open Bot Insight
    • Provides exclusive analytics & metrics around your bots’ performance
  • Digital Workforce Marketplace
    • This feature is not available yet. It should allow you to download pre-built bots and play around with it.

If you can scroll up and see the image again, you would see various components on the left pane like –

  • Home
  • Dashboard
  • Activity
  • Bots
  • My Devices
  • Administration


Basically, this page has all the shortcuts like I mentioned above.


Gives you a snippet of bot related metrics as seen below –

dashboard page.png


This page provides you details with bots that are in ‘In Progress’ & ‘Historical’ runs. Details like – Bot Name, Status, Start Time, Device from where the bot is running, etc. will be provided here


This section lists the bots created by you, credentials stored in control room, information about variables, etc.

Bot page.JPG

My Devices

This page lists out ‘Bot Creator’ & ‘Bot Runner’ server associated with the ‘Control Room’


This page helps you add / delete / modify roles & users. In community edition – you would just be able to view the user (i.e., your own account).

administration page.JPG

Components visibility generally depends on the role that you have been assigned to. If you had admin privileges – many more components would be visible like seen in the table below –

Component Community Edition Control Room with Admin Privileges (or with all roles assigned)
Dashboard X X
Activity X X
Bots X X
Devices X X
Workload   X
Administration X X

And yes, there are sub-components too. Another subject to discuss.

So that is it about the ‘AA Community Edition’. Do explore and let share your feedback.

My take

  • Pure cloud based – no software installation required
  • A great edition for beginners

Why wait? Get started. Good luck with the automation journey!!

#rpa #automation #automationanywhere #automationanywherecommunityedition #virtualworkforce #intelligentautomation #processautomation #automate #digitalworkforce #digitaltranformation #roboticprocessautomation #learnautomation

Seamlessly automate email activities using UiPath

Seamlessly automate email activities using UiPath

First of all, I would like to thank all my readers for such an overwhelming response to my previous article on “UiPath Automation Hub”. Thank you.

I received a ton of direct messages requesting me to write on various subjects related to RPA. So, I thought I start with a simple, yet a powerful use-case of automation related to email activities. I have always got a notion that email automation has been undermined for various reasons but believe me – 90% of the automation projects would have email automation component to it.

Here are few email related automation use-cases that I could think of –

  1. Download attachment(s) from an incoming email. Example: Download Invoices.
  2. Segregate emails to various Outlook folders based on certain predefined business rules
  3. Send email notification to intended recipients post the automation job completion

So, let us see what UiPath has to offer when it comes to email activities –

Open up UiPath Studio and search for mail in the activities panel – you would see almost every major mail protocol that you could possibly think of & also specialized activities related to Outlook, Exchange and now IBM Notes too.

mail activities.JPG

Protocols supported –

  1. IMAP
  2. POP3
  3. SMTP

Email applications supported –

  1. Exchange Server
  2. Outlook
  3. IBM Notes (looks like this one is recently introduced)

I may require a lot of space to accommodate & explain all email activities – so let me choose SMTP and see what kind of setup is required to send out emails.

Let us drag & drop ‘Send SMTP Mail Message’ activity to the workflow panel –

SMTP Activity.JPG

SMTP Mail Message Properties

  • Attachments – To attach files when sending out email
    • Attachments
    • AttachmentsCollection
  • Common
    • DisplayName – Display name of the activity
    • TimeoutMS – wait time (in ms) that you can set before the job throws out any error
  • Email
    • Body
    • Subject
  • Forward
    • MailMessage
  • Host
    • Port – Example: 465 in case of Gmail SSL
    • Server – Example: smtp.gmail.com in case of Gmail server
  • Logon
    • Email
    • Password
  • Misc
    • Private
  • Options
    • IsBodyHTML – For formatting
    • SecureConnection (Connection Type. Set to Auto by default)
  • Receiver
    • BCC
    • CC
    • To
  • Sender
    • From – email address
    • Name – Display name

Most of these properties are self-explanatory and few are optional. Set them up & you should be able to direct an email from within UiPath workflow.

Couple of errors that I ran into when setting up the SMTP server

  • Error 1: Incorrect port error (do not have the exact error message)
    • Solution: Make sure to key in the right port based on the SMTP server you plan to configure. I used Gmail for my working
  • Error 2: “Send SMTP Mail Message: An error occurred while attempting to establish an SSL or TLS connection.”
    • Solution: Anti-virus or firewall setup could be the possible reason. Try disabling the firewall and rerun the workflow. Should work.

This is it. 🙂

Note: I used UiPath Studio Pro Community Edition 2020.4.0-beta.718 for my email automation testing

Hope you had some good learning through this blog. I shall try & cover other protocols too in my future blog.

Please do share your thoughts / suggestions / corrections. Please leave your comments below or drop a note to jay.gandhi84@gmail.com

p.s. – all views expressed here are of my own.

RPA – All about UiPath Automation Hub

All about UiPath Automation Hub

So, what do you do when your curiosity level spikes up? – Answer is simple – You write a blog & share information with the world. My opinion though. 😊 Hence, I am here to share some helpful information around UiPath & automation journey.

Being part of digital transformation team & a process automation enabler – I have always been keen on finding various ways on how best to effectively connect with teams & employees to understand their manual / redundant tasks & eventually help them get rid of those tasks. I, most of the times, interact with end users to discuss automation ideas and use a notepad to jot down all process related information & store them in some central repository. But I think my job is going to get easier now – thanks to “UiPath Automation Hub”.

So, what is “UiPath Automation Hub”? – It is basically a collaborative platform that enables employees to submit their ideas around manual processes that could possibly be automated. Thereby, building a pipeline of processes managed centrally & which can be accessed by RPA Program Manager of the company. And not just that – it has plenty of other things too – for example, it lets you setup RPA Vendors, Analyze Automation cost, Analyze Automation Program Performance, provides you access to reusable components, etc.

Best first step to explore more of “UiPath Automation Hub” is by creating your own tenant (like an account) on the platform and then open it for other users within the organization. And yes, first 60 days is free. Make use of this opportunity.

I managed to create my own tenant, and this is how the page looks like after signing in –

Home page.JPG

Now to get started – you just have to follow certain steps to submit a new idea for process automation –

Step 1 – Click on “Submit Idea” that you see on top right corner of the home page

Submit idea.JPG

Step 2 – You will be asked a series of 9 simple questions (as seen below the screenshot) to submit an idea. Sample screenshot below –

Question 1 – Please provide a short description of the task/process that you would like to propose for automation

Question 2 – What is the name of the task/process that you would like to recommend for automation?

Question 3 – Help us position your idea in the hierarchy

Question 4 – How rule-based is your task?

Question 5 – How would you describe the input data for your task/process?

Question 6 – How would you describe the structure of your input data?

Question 7 – Are you aware of any expected changes to the way you currently perform the activity or process in the following 6 months?

Question 8 – Do you have any documentation regarding this process/activity?

Question 9 – Please indicate the email address of the Process Owner from your organization

Follow these steps and idea will eventually be created in the pipeline and would be ready for review. Hub also provides you an automation score, every idea submitted, to assess the % of the task that can be automated.

automation score.png

For example – I submitted an idea for excel automation (just a dummy one) and this is how the score looked like –

As you can see, I now have two automation ideas in my pipeline –

automation ideas.png

If you are an RPA Program Manager – you would now have an opportunity to assess these ideas / prioritize them & then take an action (Approve / Reject / etc.).

take decision.png

And yeah, this is it. Just wanted to give you all a gist of “UiPath Automation Hub”. I will try & write in detail about various components available within the “UiPath Automation Hub” in my future blogs.

My recommendation

  1. Register yourself (https://www.uipath.com/product/automation-hub) and create your own tenant (as I said earlier – this is free for 60 days)
  2. Add users (employees)
  3. Suggest them to submit ideas
  4. Assess ideas
  5. Action on them


  • User friendly GUI
  • Central Repository for RPA Program Management
  • Great insights – pre & post submitting an idea

Good luck with the automation journey!!

rpa automation uipath uipathautomationhub automationhub virtualworkforce intelligentautomation processautomation automate digitalworkforce digitaltranformation roboticprocessautomation bots robots

“Sunburst” Visualization using Oracle Data Visualization Desktop Tool

Target audience for this blog – BI Developers, Data Analyst, Solution Architect, Data Visualizations Enthusiasts, Oracle team, anyone related to BI.

Pre-requisites – Get a bit hands-on on Oracle Data Visualization Desktop (Oracle DVD) tool and of course, get the tool installed. That’s it.

Hello Data Visualization Gurus – Today, I am going to write about the new visualization “Sunburst” introduced in Oracle Data Visualization Desktop tool. This visualization was missing in Oracle’s visualization tools for a long time and I had expecting been expecting them to introduce it anytime soon. However, I don’t see the “Sunburst” visualization option neither in OBIEE 12c ( nor in Oracle BICS. (Apologies, if my observation is incorrect.) I am pretty optimistic that they would have plans to release it in their next release.

Not to take the credit out from Oracle, Oracle does have “Sunburst” feature as part of Oracle ADF, which requires a bit of coding.

Anyway, coming back to “Sunburst” feature in Oracle Data Visualization Desktop tool – this is quite an interesting chart in analyzing the hierarchical data. I look at it as an enhancement to the existing and highly used “Pie-Chart”. So in “Sunburst”, the hierarchical data is represented in series of circles. The inner most ring would represent the top level of the hierarchy and child levels in the consequent rings moving outward.

Let me quickly demonstrate how to create a “Sunburst” visualization using Oracle Data Visualization Desktop tool.

Step 1: Get your hierarchical data ready. In my case, I am going to use a simple spreadsheet (image shown below) showing sales data by period of time & product category.

step 1

Step 2: Quickly create a new VA (Visual Analyzer) project.

step 2

Step 3: Select the data source. In my case, it is “Sales data”.

step 3

Step 4: Add new visualization and change it to “Sunburst”. Also, notice on the left side that Subject Area or the spreadsheet columns are available for use to create the report.

step 4

Step 5: This is going to be the final step. Drag and drop the “Sales” measure to “Values(Y-Axis) and “Quarter”, “Month” & “Week”(in the same order) attributes under “Color”.

step 5

See how easy it was to create a “Sunburst” visualization using the tool. I feel this is a great addition and it allows you to quickly analyze the data by looking at the color & size of the circle (or semi-circle).

Also, when you click on a hierarchy level, the tool automatically highlights the relevant levels by adding a black border on the circles, which makes it easier to analyze the data. See the screenshot below.

step 6


My top 3 observations about the feature –

  1. All in all, “Sunburst” is a great addition to the Oracle’s Data Visualization stack and hope to see it soon in OBIEE 12c & Oracle BICS as well.
  2. Can be used as an alternative to “Treemap” visualization, which represents hierarchical data in rectangular format.
  3. Easy to develop, if you have proper hierarchy in place.

There are few more new/additional chart options available with Oracle DVD like Scatter (Cat.), Stacked Scatter (Cat.), Donut, Radar Bar, Tag cloud, etc. Will try to cover them in my upcoming posts.

Until then, play around with the tool & explore the features.

Any questions, please ask.









Installing Microsoft Power BI Desktop

Microsoft Power BI is the latest offering by Microsoft on BI/Data Visualization Stack. As per latest Gartner report, Microsoft is already placed in Leaders Quadrant and the new addition of Power BI is only going to double up or at least increase its market share in the BI space.

So basically, Microsoft has categorized Microsoft Power BI into 3 following categories –

  1. Power BI – Cloud Based Analytics
  2. Power BI Mobile – Mobile Based Analytics
  3. Power BI Desktop – To develop Analytics On-premises and then consume them locally or by publishing them to Cloud

So my pick for this blog is on the 3rd category (Power BI Desktop) and I am going to explain the steps for installing this product.

Just follow the steps below for a smooth installation.

Step 1: Check the system requirements

Platforms supported – Available for both 32 bit & 64 bit

OS Supported –

Windows 10 , Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2

Browser – Requires Internet Explorer 9 or greater

RAM – RAM has not been specifically mentioned anywhere but I recommend minimum of 4 GB. Product is light weight.

HDD Space – 100 MB to download the software file and another 500 MB to install the software. A total of 600 MB. Of course, you may need to allocate (if you plan to use a VM)/have more disk space depending on the number of reports that you generate.

Step 2: Download the Software

Go the following link to download the Software – http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=45331

You get 2 options – one for 32 bit and one for 64 bit. Refer to the image below. Notice – How small the size (<100 MB) of the installer file is? Amazing, isn’t it? 🙂


Step 3: Install the Software. This is going to be last step before you actually start using the Software to build some amazing Analytics/Visualizations.

Step 3(a): Navigate to the directory where you downloaded the Software. In my case, I downloaded the 64-bit version. Refer to the image below to look for the actual name. In case of 32 bit, you would find the software name as “PBIDesktop.msi”

downloaded software

Step 3(b): Double click on the Software file and the following dialog box would open up.

Step 2

Step 3(c): From here on, it just gets easy and simple clicks on the Next button would install the Software.

Step 3(d): Accept the agreement and click on Next.

Step 3

Step 3(e): Choose the destination folder where you would like to install the Software.

Step 4

Step 3(f): If you want a desktop shortcut, then check mark the box and then click on Install.

Step 5

Keep a check on the progress as well.

Step 6

Step 3(g): Software is installed and you are good to go. Launch the Software to see how it looks like. That’s it. You are done with the foundation.

Step 7

The GUI looks very simple and I am sure, you can do a lot with it.

Step 8

My top 3 observations about the product(on the install side)

  1. Software binary & post-installation directory size is less 600 MB which saves me a lot of space
  2. Installation is very quick. Took just about 3 minutes on my system(12GB RAM, Intel CORE i5 PROC, Windows 7).
  3. Overall installation is very easy. No complications at all. Very straight forward.

I will cover more about developing Analytics & Visualizations and on features about Power BI in my next blog.

For now, start playing around with the product and build your own story around some data. Share some stories too, if you don’t mind. 🙂

Any questions, please ask.