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Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

RPA - Robotic process automation seems to be a hot word out there within the BPM industry.  The term RPA is typically used in 2 different ways by different vendors and the industry.   Some of the large BPM vendors do RPA and they do it right, they do what it means - robotic process automation.  Automation of robotic equipment to perform manual labor tasks, but also automation of machines to perform work, or to produce a product where its controlled through workflow process automation.

Some of the smaller BPM/Workflow products use this terms when describing  software robots performing work instead of humans interacting and performing.  FlowWright has done both, FlowWright is currently used in iOT where machines are controlled by the workflow processes.  Within the Sawtooth dairy feed solutions, FlowWright sends commands over radio frequency to a universal distributed controller (UDC).  The UDC then sends commands to the different equipment such as pumps, motors and valves to control.  UDC is also able to get feedback from flow meters to see how much liquid is pumped so they can shut the pump off at the right time.  This is a perfect example of where FlowWright process automation performing robotic process automation to control equipment.

RPA robotics machine

Given the latter scenario, where in software robots perform the work in a workflow process instead of personnel, FlowWright was designed to use software engines to perform the work.  In that sense, RPA is nothing new to our team. 

How do FlowWright engines use RPA?  We launch child worker processes,. We also consider software robots to process workflows, events, forms, statistics, triggers, archival and many other ways.  Different types of robots are able to perform different tasks within the platform.  The reason we designed FlowWright to use robotic process automation is based on 2 reasons:

  • Performance - best in class workflow automaton products have to perform. From the beginning we used RPA to give maximum performance based on robotic workers.  Based on computing resources, the number of robotic workers could be increased or decreased, and also how often they are launched can be controlled also.   These robotic workers are designed for performance.

  • Resource management - computing resources such as CPU cycle and memory are used by robotic workers to perform tasks.  Given the design of these robotic workers, once they complete the their task, computing resources are given  back to the system efficiently.  There's no memory loss or computing CPU cycle loss.

 The next generation of RPA that is built into FlowWright uses the power of the rules engine to make decisions.  In future versions, these decisions will be assisted by machine learning and artificial intelligence. 

FlowWright architecture lets you design and execute complex processes, process with many hierarchical sub-processes many level deep.  These complex processes could be routing 1000s of tasks to users around the Globe, with many transaction and operations happening in a second, millisecond level, FlowWright is able to process these request with precision using robotic workers.

Our engines are not only built as distributed processing engines, but also to launch robotic workers that are smart.  Smart in the sense, that no 2 robotic workers from 2 different workflow servers will not work on the same workflow request.  RPA continues to make strides in the right direction, FlowWright has been a pioneer of robotic process automation RPA in regards to robotic worker processes.

In the case of where the engine is processing requests from multiple databases or multiple environments such as development database and QA database, FlowWright engines us round robin algorithm to process.  Round robin algorithm makes sure that each FlowWright application database is served without missing a beat.  Smarts are built into all FlowWright engines to act this way, depending how the engines are configured, engines will automatically adjust on how to launch robotic workers.

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