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Being productive in times of COVID19: developing Automations while 'working from home'

  • 1.  Being productive in times of COVID19: developing Automations while 'working from home'

    Posted 04-03-2020 02:28
    Hi Community,

    At first, please visit https://www.blueprism.com/covid-19-blue-prism-response/ to understand how Blue Prism in these times where fast diagnosis and cure, processing of claims and rolling out support for as many people as possible is important.

    A question was asked by a very security focussed customer. Developing automations while 'working from home' can be quite challenging. Here are our thoughts:


    Your Departments remote access system might have limitations of access to certain areas of higher classification and privileged accounts that are need to develop and deploy Blue Prism automations - or remote access is patchy at best. In the current COVID19 climate, relevant network access might take time. To make best use of the time while 'working from home' and while the remote access at your Department is being sorted out, the following ideas should be considered to continue developing 

    • Install Blue Prism on a capable laptop in the interim. Your Department's furnished laptops might have restrictions which needs to be tested. For an existing customer, development licenses are part of the overall licensing and available.
    • To best support development and re-use, Blue Prism uses the concept of Objects (common functions) and Processes (where the work is done). In this way, the following development model can be utilised:
      • Objects handle access to relevant business systems. These Objects can be built while on-site or have access. Off-site (working from home), the Processes does the work and utilise these Objects. A full end-to-end test is of course not possible - but might be as close as possible.
      • These Objects can be enhanced (built ) with a 'simulation' flag. Once activated, the Object might run flawless by simulating the access to the relevant defence system. Thus an end-to-end test is more meaningful.
      • Blue Prism allows to move Objects and Processes, including other definitions to another Blue Prism system via so called Releases. If Processes and Objects, developed and integrated at home are ready for a test on Defence systems, the Release file can be sent by email to an engineer to load into the target Blue Prism system. The Release file is generally very small and no problem to be sent via email. The major challenge here is to maintain code quality, versioning etc. considering the situation, this could be something that can be solved easily with a single owner managing release pipeline into development.
      • Other points - while 'working from home'
        • Create the process skeletons for the processes in the pipeline
        • Apply priorities to work / processes that can be done without full Defence access (against public or less critical systems)
        • Focus on proper documentation – as this might not need full access to all systems
        • Do training on the Blue Prism University https://blue-prism.docebosaas.com/pages/24/welcome-to-blue-prism-university
      • Integration with common office systems (folder, MS Excel, MS Word) can be developed also 'from home' if present on the respective development laptop.
      • A team member at Blue Prism has written an unofficial post on linkedin regarding GIT and release management. Some of these discussed techniques might not fit Defence 100% but – again, thinking outside of the box: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/ashz30_bp-auto-deployment-cookbook-bp-git-jenkins-activity-6640835148357165056-EZw-

    Thoughts?

    Cheers
    Morten Jammer

    ------------------------------
    Morten Jammer
    Solution Consultant
    BluePrism
    Australia/Canberra
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