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🎓Teach Michael: My first automation!

Michael_S
Community Team
Community Team

Hello innovators 💙

OKAY. I'm ready 💪. You've already taught me what not to automate, how to involve senior leadership in an automation program and how to find processes suitable for automation - but what we haven't tackled yet is where to start? 

Everyone here has walked this path already, and so I need your inspiration! My question to you all today is...

What was your very first automation?


I'm hoping to hear from you on:

1️⃣What was the first thing you attempted to automate?
2️⃣How did it go?
3️⃣What advice would you give to someone crafting their very first automation?

Now, I have a couple of ulterior motives here. First, we're creating a playbook on automation journeys and we would love your input. And second, our community saw a huge influx of new users during April (hello new friends!) who will also be seeking inspiration. So remember, it may seem like a small question, but the impact of your answer can be huge.

Thank you in advance everyone, and wish me luck!



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💙 Michael
(I'm part of the SS&C Blue Prism Community Team)
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5 REPLIES 5

harish.m
MVP

Hi Michael,
What was the first thing you attempted to automate? - My First automation is started as  a POC  interacted with multiple external web application and I have created different tables  in SQL and redesigned where ever it required so that it is robust, scalable and provide more value in the long run.
Applications used   - Web Applications, Outlook, Excel

How did it go? - In a 2  month period  we moved the code to prod . we have captured different metrics  from Daily and monthly reports . These reports helped to assess the value of the automation

What advice would you give to someone crafting their very first automation? In the automation journey  might need to demo the automation to business stakeholders and other management team based on the stage of  the automation.  While demoing  if possible record the automation running in control room . It will help to avoid unexpected issues and help to build the confidence.
 



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If I answered your query. Please mark it as the "Best Answer"

Harish M
Lead developer
America/New_York TX
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If I answered your query. Please mark it as the Best Answer

Harish Mogulluri

Hi Michael

What was the first thing you attempted to automate? - My first automation was actually using a legacy mainframe application called rumba. The process was to update credit cards on the application with a back log of 25K+.
How did it go? -  It went very well and the application was very stable and easy to interact with. The process run well with cases being completed in 3 seconds per case. Unfortunately the process began to hit issues after 1000 records because the application couldnt keep up. I had to reduce the speed and cases completed within 7 seconds per case. It was a good speed but as a developer it was annoying to see it at 7 seconds instead of 3 lol after that it worked brilliantly and completed the backlog and into normal process within the first 2 days.
What advice would you give to someone crafting their very first automation? - Think about after care, its one think to get a process up and running doing exactly what its designed to do but consider how its supported as well. Consider if the process fails for any reason how easy is it to re-run? should it start from the beginning or should it pick up again where the failure occurred, how will retries be handled, if it fails one day do you need to run it again later and in which case should it use the date of the original failure etc etc.




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Michael ONeil
Technical Lead developer
NTTData
Europe/London
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Hey Michael,

1️⃣What was the first thing you attempted to automate?  - My first automation was to generate airline tickets and send the generated tickets to the travelers. Three types of applications were used: Sabre Red (Windows Application) to retrieve passenger details, the Airline Web Portal to input the captured details and generate the tickets, and Outlook to send the tickets to the passengers.
2️⃣How did it go? - 
During the testing phase, I encountered several issues, including: 
  1. If the web application was slow, the process would frequently throw exceptions due to arbitrary waits instead of implementing a dynamic wait stage.
 2. Using the environment specific attributes like  Parent URL.

Since it was my first automation project, I wasn't familiar with the best practices to follow. However, after reviewing the best practice documents, I made the necessary fixes. As a result, the production phase went smoothly and saved a significant number of FTE hours.


3️⃣What advice would you give to someone crafting their very first automation?

I would advise keeping the Development Best Practice document handy while crafting the first few automations and consistently following those best practices. With time, you will become familiar with all the best practices that need to be followed during development.



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KirtiMaan Talwar
Consultant
Deloitte
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KirtiMaan Talwar
IA Consultant
Deloitte USI

EVIPUTI
MVP

Hi Michael,

Thank you for your post and for asking about our first automation projects. My first automation project was automating a Citrix-based SAP with Blue prism about six years ago. At the time, automating Citrix environments was a challenging task due to the limitations of the technology available.

The project involved automating several SAP processes that were previously performed manually. This required the development of custom Blue prism objects to interact with the Citrix environment, as well as the creation of custom code modules to handle the SAP transactions. We also spent considerable time on designing the automation flow and selecting the right tools for the job.

In terms of how it went, the project was a success, and the automation significantly reduced the time and effort required to perform the SAP processes. However, we encountered several challenges along the way, such as issues with the Citrix environment and difficulties in developing the custom Blue Prism objects.

The main lesson I learned from this project was the importance of spending more time on design and selecting the right tools. Not every project is suitable for automation, so careful consideration needs to be given to the design and development process. I believe that the design and development time ratio should be 60:40, with 60% of the time spent on design.

For someone crafting their very first automation, my advice would be to approach the project with a clear understanding of the process to be automated, and to carefully consider the design and selection oftools. It's important to have a thorough understanding of the system and its limitations, as well as the requirements and goals of the automation. Additionally, it's important to have a solid understanding of the automation platform being used and to leverage its capabilities to the fullest extent.

In terms of tech advice I would recommend breaking the automation down into smaller, more manageable tasks that can be developed and tested independently. This helps to identify and isolate issues early on and ensures that the automation can be developed in an iterative and agile manner. It's also important to thoroughly test the automation in a controlled environment before deploying it to production.

Overall, automation is a continuous process that requires ongoing maintenance and optimization. It's important to continually evaluate the effectiveness of the automation and make adjustments as needed to ensure that it continues to meet the requirements and goals of the automation program.

I hope this provides some helpful insights.



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Vipul Tiwari
Senior Process Simplification Developer
Amazon
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------------------------------ Vipul Tiwari Senior Process Simplification Developer Amazon ------------------------------

First off - WOW. There is some incredible advice for beginner's in this discussion already. You have my thanks @Vipul Tiwari , @kirtimaantalwar , @Michael ONeil & @Harish M !

We've learned that:

  • Breaking your automations down into small, manageable tasks can help you to develop faster and test more thoroughly
  • Testing in a controlled environment helps prevent issues that would have negative impacts on the production environment
  • Consistently following best practice documentation, especially when working on your first few automations, can help you avoid rookie mistakes!
  • Building in fail-states and re-runs is great practice, even in the most simple of automations. Think about how you'll care for your automation after it's live!
  • Document or record each automation you create so that it can be easily explained or demonstrated later on


Thank you all for the stellar advice, please keep it coming Community!



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💙 Michael
(I'm part of the SS&C Blue Prism Community Team)
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