RPA has been gaining significant acceptance across multiple verticals and many organizations have RPA already as part of their technology landscape.  While traditional systems would have the actual task coded for with the end user triggering those tasks through a graphical user interface, RPA performs what a user would do in many of such scenarios – including using the graphical user interface to trigger the application action.  While similar systems of scrapping and testing has been prevalent for a long time, there were limitations to it which RPA was able to overcome, including the handling of multiple applications simultaneously.

Automation & Cost-effectiveness go hand in hand

There is an alternative approach complementing RPA in terms of enabling process automation. For instance, there are some common scenarios that prompt the thought of cost-effective automation, such as the interactions with web-based applications including:

  • Extracting data from one application and transferring to another application
  • Filling web forms
  • Logging in and logging out of web applications
  • Scrap content from web page
  • Generating reports

Can these scenarios be automated in a cost-effective manner?

There is an ideal alternative, and there are twin benefits to be gained out of the custom-built solution – doing away with the traditional process of handling the scenarios wherein manual rigors are involved and using a cost-effective solution to automate the processes.

This can be achieved by facilitating automation leveraging a typical combination of an automated testing framework along with a JavaScript framework which can help achieve automation at relatively no cost at all.

Sampling a Process Scenario with cost-effective Automation

Saksoft eased out one of our clients’ automation problem by stitching cost-effectiveness into automation. The organization came to Saksoft with the ask of automating routine work involved in one of its business processes.

This organization was tracking its social media marketing activities and campaigns that were usually tracked and updated manually.  The process was to login into the system on a daily basis and download the CSV listing from specific links, consolidate them and then populate them into a data mart from where a data-visualization tool picks up and displays valuable insights over a dashboard.

This customer wanted to automate this process.

Saksoft took the obvious options such as utilizing the social media APIs or using an RPA tool into consideration, initially.  While using the Social Media APIs would be a great option, there was also the drive to explore the RPA route. But what stood out was that for a task of this magnitude, investing on an RPA tool in a recurring manner wasn’t going to a viable option.

What’s the cost-effective automation route?

Considering the process that need to be automated, Saksoft firmed up the plan of building a custom developed tool that could offer the same functionality.  We developed a bot that replicates human actions like logging into a system and downloading the files on a scheduled basis.

In automating the process, the following pre-requisites were met:

  • Social Media account with appropriate access: This could be any one of the social media where we could launch campaigns and have an option to download the CSV for all the responses received
  • Node JS with Selenium WebDriver package: This forms the core of the systems.  The base application and the automation are developed using these.  Since these are open-source tools with a great community backing, these were considered to be the right tools to facilitate automation.
  • Redis Server Installation: This helps to schedule the application and run the bot at scheduled intervals. We could have a configuration interface wherein the schedule can be defined.

What does the Bot do?

The bot, mimicking human actions, plays a key role in this automation story. This bot will, in a scheduled-manner, open the browser, open the social media website, login, traverse through the specified links, provide the filters, download the CSV, upload the content to the data warehouse, as is.

The combination of open source tools and a custom-built framework and the bot resulting from this only made the automation of this process possible, as requested by the client, at minimal costs.The diagram below elaborates the proposed architecture

redis

The code snippet used to enable automation can be accessed using the following link.

Click here to download the BOT & Code files