UiPath Product Updates 2021

By | Automation Initiation | No Comments

Despite a global pandemic, it has been a big year for UiPath in terms of growth and reach. For us at Talos, we have seen a marked increase in the demand for RPA work from customers, and UiPath has been our tool of choice in delivering solutions to our customers. With this boost in interest in RPA, it is important to understand what the UiPath product is now, as it has grown significantly in scope and sophistication over past year. This blog post covers the UiPath product updates in 2021, highlighting the features that we see as gamechangers in the growing world of RPA.

The UiPath product updates are best understood in the context of the different aspects of platform. Generally speaking, the platform is composed of 5 components:

  1. Discovery
  2. Build
  3. Run
  4. Manage
  5. Engage

Each of these serve a specific function and have some new features worth mentioning.

Discovery

This is by far the area that has undergone the biggest update, and rightly so. Discovery refers to the initial phase of RPA candidate detection. This is often the most difficult part of the RPA journey, as it can be tricky to identify and articulate what a good process is. Luckily, UiPath have made massive changes to their offering, namely by rolling out tools such as Process Mining, Task Mining and Task Capture.

Process Mining – Only for the most mature RPA organisations, this highly sophisticated tool plugs into systems like ERP and CRM, and analyses logs and other information to generate analysis on potential end-to-end processes, including quantifiable impact on the business. This analysis can then be very easily transferred into an actual workflow file, greatly speeding up implementation and reducing information error.

Task Mining – Caters for the middle-of-the-road RPA users, this tool uses AI to watch and learn users based on their day-to-day tasks. Using Machine Learning, the tool eventually crafts together tasks it believes makes up a process and generates a ready-made workflow file that can be easily implemented or utilized for quick bot development.

Task Capture – A useful offering for the smaller implementations, this tool is a very simple task recorder that users can instruct to watch them perform specific tasks. As a discovery tool, this helps speed up the requirements-gathering phase and greatly helps developers by providing the skeleton of the process that only needs to be augmented for enterprise-ready deployment.

 Build

Build refers to the development area of the UiPath platform. Very much the backbone of the product, Build has gone through some modest updates this year including Studio X and Document Understanding changes. These changes highlight UiPath’s commitment to democratizing RPA and making it more compatible with business processes.

Studio X – Studio X is a light version of the flagship Studio tool, targeting less technical users to help them develop simple automations easily. By slimming down the Studio tool, Studio X is far more accessible to the broader employee base, whilst not comprising on automation quality. Studio X means that developer resources do not have to be spent on automating smaller, niche tasks.

Document Understanding – With data extraction such a universal role in business process, it is no surprise that UiPath has upped its document understanding and interpretation capabilities. Easily integrate sophisticated data extraction technologies into your automation, and include other capabilities such as handwriting extraction, user validation and AI learning.

Run

The driving force behind RPA, Run refers to the various robots that are used to execute the automation. Not so much has changed when it comes to Run, but UiPath have broadened their offering from just attended and unattended to now include the useful Test robots in the bot family.

Test Robots – These are unattended type bots which are specifically designed to run automated text cases against systems or workflows. Larger implementations of RPA will find these useful for managing the testing phase and reducing workload on testers.

Manage

Manage is the area where organisations can manage, deploy and optimize their RPA across the organisation. Big changes in this area include updated offerings in Test Suite and AI Center, both tools required for large scale RPA implementations.

Test Suite – Testing was once an underdeveloped aspect of UiPath. However, with Test Suite, the platform is now fully equipped to facilitate proper testing. Test Suite allows you to perform test planning, requirements, execution and defect traceability, whilst seamlessly integrating with 3rd party tools such as Azure DevOps and Jira. Expect to see this grow as more organisations take their RPA to enterprise-quality levels.

AI Center – Business processes often require a level of critical thinking that is too difficult for the average bot to execute. AI Center is the tool that fixes that. This offering allows you to easily develop, test and deploy machine learning models that can be used by your robots. UiPath offers several out-of-the-box models for you to quickly deploy, or you can bring your own and distribute it throughout the business.

Engage

Another big area in terms of updates, Engage refers to the ways in which robots and people collaborate as part of an automated solution. UiPath has recently unveiled Apps, Action Center and Chatbots to help improve this collaboration.

Apps – Build and share business apps to connect people and robots. Using a low-code approach, users can build beautiful web-based apps that can then be shared across the organisation and used as the backbone for a bot. This comes in handy when building a process that requires data from users and there is no existing system in place to do so.

Action Center – Bring a human in the loop by giving them oversight on large, complex processes. Action Center acts as a single point of contact between bot and person, where the bot can raise exceptions, escalations and approvals for the human to review and provide instructions on. By combining person and bot, complex processes can be automated very easily and effectively.

Chatbots – Outsource the admin tasks by utilising pre-built chatbots. Trigger chatbots to do simple tasks like retrieving order status or posting customer data.  Enable chatbots to respond to customer messaging or even voice commands. This is a big offering for those in customer service.

Automation Cloud

It should be noted that UiPath has very much a ‘cloud-first’ approach, meaning that new and updated offerings arrive on their cloud platform (UiPath Automation Cloud) first before being available on-prem. This approach has catapulted the popularity of their cloud product, making it very easy to get started with RPA. If Cloud is not an option, they have improved their offerings to include on-prem as well as a hybrid approach. This variety of implementations has been useful in catering to the diverse needs of customers, and will no doubt satisfy all organisations.

Take it from us, the recent UiPath product updates are pretty amazing. In the last 12 months, we have seen tremendous changes in the range and sophistication of the UiPath platform. Discovery has been the most impressive and is likely to see continued growth in the coming years, whilst the offerings in Engage and Manage have already been showing positive results for customers.

If you have any questions on the UiPath platform, please contact us.

PowerBI Governance – it grows like Mushrooms!

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PowerBI Governance strangely coincides with one of my other hobbies. I have had a lifelong interest in hunting mushrooms, and was recently gifted a copy of an Australian Field Guide, which helps a lot as my existing knowledge is UK based and not just irrelevant but potentially deadly.

Now, first the science bit: Mushrooms themselves are actually just the most visible part of the whole fungi, which is actually a huge network of mycelium growing in the ground, or in an old tree trunk or whatever its preferred food is. A mushroom is the just the fruiting body of the fungus itself. By the time you see a mushroom, the fungus itself is well established and growing healthily.

PowerBI Governance Mushrooms

PowerBI Governance Mushrooms in the wild!

PowerBI – by the time you see it, it’s already established

From an organisational perspective, PowerBI Governance and mushrooms have a lot in common. By the time a leader becomes aware PowerBI is in the organisation by having spotted a wild dashboard – it usually means it’s got into many parts of the organisation in a wild and unmanaged state.

This isn’t a problem in itself; a few wild gems here and there are good thing to find and can add value to the business. However as with wild mushrooms, telling the good from the bad is not a simple task. Superficially one report can look very much like another – but one can contain the poison of bad data or incorrectly applied business rules – and there’s no way to tell from just looking at it.

This why we farm our mushrooms

To ensure our mushrooms on toast doesn’t end up killing us, we farm mushrooms to make sure we get a safe, edible species to eat. Similarly for PowerBI, once we start consuming it we want to be able to confident of its provenance. This means that you need to move from a business led anarchic state to something more managed.

There’s a lot of models for delivering an Enterprise PowerBI platform but they boil down to 3 approaches:

  • Business Led, bottom up
  • IT Led, top down
  • Hybrid – IT Managed, Business Developed

Which one is right for your organisation will depend on your particular structure and culture. Typically the Hybrid model delivers best results though, as IT manages the technical components – building data sources and so forth – and Business manages the consumables – reports & analysis on that data. Each area plays to its strengths.

Applying governance to your PowerBI deployment

Managing a balance of responsibilities between IT and Business is never easy and so laying some ground rules is essential. Things that need to be considered include:

  • Who is accountable for the validity of the data?
  • How is the service managed from a cost and capacity perspective?
  • What security risks are there and how are they managed?
  • How is adoption and effective usage going to be enabled?

All these things require careful thought and then enforcement through “hard” technical configuration and “soft” policies and guidance. There’s no right answer, and Microsoft’s continual updates mean the answer keeps changing – but my experience with organisations from Local Councils to Global Law Firms to Resource companies has helped me know the right questions.

If you are struggling with an emerging wild mushroom PowerBI deployment, we’d love to hear from you and see what we can do to help bring them under control as part of our Enterprise PowerBI offerings.

And a closing dad joke:

Q: Why does the mushroom always get invited to parties?

A: Because he’s a fun guy!*

UiPath Academy Live – Jun 2021

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With the financial year-end looming, Talos hosted another UiPath Academy Live event in June to help introduce more businesses to the world of UiPath and RPA before heading into the new financial year. With more events scheduled in the coming months, this post recaps the June event, the feedback we got and what you can expect from the next Academy Live event.

What Is It?

UiPath Academy Live is a free half-day course designed by UiPath and delivered virtually to help managers, analysts and developers explore the basic capabilities of UiPath. Attendees learn about RPA, get familiar with the UiPath product, follow a step-by-step lab manual and talk about potential RPA opportunities with experienced consultants. Through guided learning, attendees can kickstart their RPA journey and create a functioning bot in a matter of hours. No matter what their capabilities are, the workshop is designed to be accessible by everyone in attendance.

The June event this year was loaded with attendees from a diverse range of industries and roles. From business analysts to project managers, Academy Live was a hit for all those in attendance looking to skill up in UiPath. From the Talos perspective, this was the ideal audience – a diverse range of attendees interested in seeing what RPA is and how UiPath works. The benefit of Academy Live is that it can help anyone who is interested in RPA development, and this was no more evident here with the variety of attendees.

From the feedback we collected, the most valuable part of Academy Live is the roundtable session. This is a unique session dedicated to helping attendees identify RPA opportunities at their business. The Talos team were on hand to deliver one-on-one advice with every participant, with questions ranging from a technical perspective to more opinion-seeking advice. This is the best part of Academy Live, and what makes this event like no other. The consulting team love automation, and seeing attendees talk about their opportunities for RPA was as exciting for them as it was us.

Customer Onboard

Another unique benefit of Academy Live is the showcase session. Towards the end of the event, the Talos team showcase some real-world UiPath RPA examples. The audience gets an inside look at how we understand RPA problems and how we use UiPath to solve them. Learning about the functionality of UiPath is one thing, but seeing how it is applied is where you truly realise the benefits

Why Should I Go?

UiPath Academy Live is an event like no other. Designed by UiPath and delivered by professionals, Academy Live introduces attendees to the world of RPA without overwhelming them with technical knowledge. Attendees learn the skills and best practices needed to develop successful UiPath RPA  solutions in their business, and leave with a custom bot that they have built on the day. Based on the positive feedback from attendees, these events have been instrumental in getting UiPath quickly adopted in several organisations.

If you want to know more about UiPath Academy Live events, please contact us for more information or check out our events page for upcoming sessions.

Microsoft Gold Partners Data Analytics

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We are excited to announce that Talos have now become Microsoft Gold Partners in Data Analytics! This is an important development in our ongoing partnership with Microsoft in Australia. It shows we have reached the high standards expected of partners that qualify for the program. The Data Analytics competency is one that shows we have a deep expertise in the associated technologies – SQL Server, PowerBI and other Azure capabilities such as Azure Data Factory.

Talos Microsoft Gold Partners Data Analytics

Talos Microsoft Gold Partners Data Analytics

Microsoft are a key partnership for us as they provide an industry leading platform for delivering Data Analytics solutions to our customers. Us achieving this partnership level is a demonstration of the capabilities of our technical team. It is also a recognition of the customer successes we have helped drive.

What does Microsoft Gold Partners in Data Analytics mean for customers?

Becoming a Gold Partner in Data Analytics has customer benefits in terms of confidence in our expertise and access to the latest technology.

For our customers it demonstrates that they are working with a technology partner that has certified personnel, with access to the latest in training and product updates. We have to maintain a number of certified people on our team who are qualified in the Data Analytics platforms that Microsoft provide. These certifications cover on premise and cloud technologies and range from traditional Business Intelligence through to Big Data solutions. Microsoft Gold Partners also get access to cutting edge product training as we are encouraged to upskill on the latest platforms.

Gold Partners also benefit from product information & roadmaps and industry insights direct from the Microsoft Data Platform team. As the product suite is updated we receive access to product news and information. We are also given Azure Credits so we can trial the new capabilities as part of our commitment to keeping our customers informed and aware of the latest developments.

Profisee

Profisee partner with Talos

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Profisee + Talos – Partnership Announcement

Profisee have formally partnered with Talos to help deliver MDM (Master Data Management) solutions to Australian business and enhance your Modern Data Platform.

Profisee’s Master Data Management software makes it easy and affordable for companies of all sizes to build a trusted foundation of data across the enterprise. Talos’ expertise ensures a successful implementation that delivers value to the business.

Why is an MDM solution important?

The key benefit of an MDM solution is to improve the quality of your data when it is held in multiple systems. This can quickly yield benefits by simple reduction of duplication of effort – for example reducing the number of mail recipients on a corporate Christmas card list!
An MDM solution is agnostic to the source systems but can integrate back to them to keep data clean. In plain English this means that you can independently manage the data that resides in multiple systems, but allow the MDM solution send cleaned data back to them.

A good tool supports ongoing stewardship and governance through workflows, monitoring and corrective-action techniques that can all be managed by an end user.

Why Profisee?

Profisee is ideal for companies looking to get started with MDM and seeking an easy-to-use, cost-effective and rapidly deployed MDM solution at an affordable price point. The price issue is significant and many enterprise MDM tools come attached with significant price tags and services overhead which may not suit many businesses.
According to Gartner, customers report Profisee offers an economically priced offering and favorable TCO. Combined with shorter implementation time frames, where Profisee has more implementations taking under three months than any other vendor in the 2020 Magic Quadrant, this makes it an ideal tool for initial MDM implementations.
Contact us to speak with one of Talos’s experts.
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