edward brooks

Low Code or RPA? (again)

Regular readers of my weekly newsletter will recognise that this is a topic I've discussed before. On our first outing, I concluded that both RPA and Low Code had its own place in a complementary way: Low-Code: Collaborator or Challenger for the RPA Crown?

Last week, I was speaking at a UK Mendix Event (Mendix on Tour) on the topic of Delivering Results with the AI Ecosystem. I enjoy discussing both principles and practice, and on this occasion, I was fortunate enough to share the stage with Simon Black, Mendix Guru, Evangelist and a kid in a candy shop when it comes to the opportunities afforded by the AI ecosystem. While I explained the principles, Simon demonstrated the practice live for everyone to see for themselves.

We both realised that there is still a lot of confusion about the different roles RPA and Low Code have to play, questions at the end focused more on this than on the opportunity provided by AI! As I have concluded before, they are different but complementary, but today I have a helpful summary of those differences and when you might select one over the other:

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Coincidentally, analysts Horses for Sources recently cited research which identified that the most significant barrier to change is an insufficient understanding of disruptive changes (blog link here). As we saw during Mendix on Tour, Businesses are simply unaware of the art of the possible. It's difficult to advance when there is a lack of education on the opportunities that technology can provide.

On this theme, we are just one week away from our webinar with Richard Hill and Gina Gray from Celaton; an Intelligent Process Automation solution that provides a one-stop shop for combining RPA and machine learning capabilities. Sign Up for the Webinar on 16th July here.

For anyone looking to advance their Blue Prism Skills, our next online instructor-led training begins on 16th July, sign up here for just $349. For corporate arrangements, contact be@therpaacademy.com for details.


Thanks Everyone.

Rob

Surviving The Robot Aftermath?

Last week the RPA Academy interviewed Harrison Goode, co-founder of Edge Tech Headhunters where we discussed the state of the robot job market. See the full video here

There were some terrific questions from the audience, including which products are most in-demand, where are the most opportunities and which industries have the greatest levels of adoption (see the webinar here). Then came the question...

"There are talks that RPA is dying... How many years you see RPA going strong?"

Oh dear, I love HfS but their 'RPA is dead' story simply refuses to die. Ironic really, especially since the main point of the article was in fact that intelligent automation platforms (the combination of RPA, Machine Learning and Analytics) was significantly expanding the number of processes now suitable for automation.

RPA is here to stay for a good while yet, the expanding ecosystem of new AI capabilities is adding new opportunities previously not possible with RPA alone. I do wish people would read beyond the headline, no matter how catchy it is.

On the topic of the ever-expanding ecosystem of AI capabilities, I'm excited to announce that our next Webinar will be held on 16th July and is with Celaton, a leading provider of Machine Learning directly into business. We'll find out more about the capabilities now possible to solve business problems. Sign Up Here.

Gartner claim that the RPA Software Market grew by 63% in 2018, so we're not facing the RPA Apocalypse anytime soon, but there is a need to understand more than just RPA, but also the growing list of solution providers who have found the opportunities to extend the capabilities of RPA and solve a wider range of business problems.

We have recently completed 6 weeks of Automation Anywhere training and 2 weeks of Blue Prism training for our customers. If you looking to grow your skills internally then we can provide the capabilities and support you need, accelerating your delivery path. Contact us here for more information.

Automation Anywhere - Customer Feedback

We often get the question, "why do you sell RPA training when you can get it all for free?" Well, let me debunk of few of the myths behind that statement now!

For starters, you can't get it all for free. You can only get some knowledge for free though on-demand videos. We occasionally sell courses in this format ourselves, but it's not our preferred approach and it doesn't suit everyones training style. The rigid structure and forced learning paths are not the most effective use of time, the materials can age quickly and for many platforms there is a lot of poor quality material out there.

The combination of online training with a live instructor addresses many of the problems companies face when planning training. It provides always up-to-date knowledge, the answers to your specific questions when you need them, and training delivered at a convenient time in short bites that are easier to accommodate into a typical working pattern. It's the best of both worlds in terms of flexibility and formality.

Classroom training is still the best option for many, and we provide this too when needed. Most of our training is live online, and all sessions are recorded so if a refresh is needed then students can revisit a video of the course they attended. An option not generally available with classroom training.

Medium and Large Organisations value the practical knowledge provided by a live trainer with practical experience to accelerate their path to effectiveness; the trainer is a coach and mentor throughout their learning programme.

The structured virtual classroom of students - or cohort - often work together on exercises and practical homework assignments which are reviewed and discussed in groups in the following session. Believe it or not, some students ask for extra homework once they get started! This provides practical experience and reinforcement of knowledge that is impossible to achieve through one-way on-demand videos.

But, you don't have to just take my word for it, here's some incredible feedback from our latest Automation Anywhere online training course:


"We asked The RPA Academy for a lot and they delivered!

As RPA remains on the leading edge of automation technologies within firms worldwide, we had a need to have as many people as we could find to be trained to develop such tool.

The RPA Academy worked with us to accommodate an aggressive schedule of training classes for 60 trainees over a 6 week period. The trainers were RPA experts that were willing to take the time to work with the trainees on everything from explaining basic programming terms to pushing advanced programmers to think of new creative possibilities with such a powerful tool.

I recommend, and plan to use, The RPA Academy for future RPA training needs as they arise.”

Intelligent Process Automation Program Manager - Aetna

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The RPA Academy is an Accredited Automation Anywhere Training Partner, providing technical, iQBot and Analytics skills, in the classroom or online. We can also tailor our training to meet specific corporate needs as we did with Aetna, provide coaching and support, and accelerate the path to productive and efficient delivery. Contact our team to learn more.

Do you know how "un-advanced'​ the RPA market is?

As a pure-play training/knowledge organization, running since 2017, we work online and onsite across the globe. 

This gives us a very unusual perspective of the RPA market. 

What we’ve seen in the last couple of weeks has been highly revealing about exactly how much penetration RPA has had in to organizations.

And the answer is “not much”!

But that is all starting to change.

Here’s what we’ve seen, just in the last few weeks.

You hear vague numbers about the number of clients each RPA platform has. But that means nothing really.

You can’t see from public data exactly how many bots RPA-users really have in production. 

For all the headlines about “how many clients does each RPA provider have?”, the real question, is “what percentage of processes have been automated within each client?

This question (or a more scientific version) we need to hear the RPA platforms talking about - not the number of logos or number of bots.

However, a number of organizations, who are long-time users of RPA [Blue Prism, Automation Anywhere, UiPath], have very recently created plans to rapidly ramp up their internal skills. 

These opportunities are always welcome. And they allow us to showcase exactly what we are doing to innovate in the market.

But these are organizations that I would never have targeted. I’d assumed such early adopters had already built their capabilities already. 

Getting Beyond 1%

What this really reveals is that the early adopters of RPA took time to get going. [To repeat - this is across the board, for all the major platforms].

A few bots are easy - but getting to real RPA penetration requires a strategic commitment.

From what we are seeing the level of commitment and ambition to take advantage of the value of RPA happens a few years into the journey, 

So, when we ask the question, “what percentage of processes have you automated?”, I think we’ll find the answer is about 1%

And that’s where the early adopters are today.

The rest are still at the 0.01% level.   

How We Help Your Growth (for yourself or your organization)

Supporting that growth, and rapid ramp-up, is one of the many reasons behind our creation of the Unlimited Learning service. 

It allows organizations (and individuals like you) to easily get trained quickly and at a scale, turn on and off access, deepen knowledge beyond just core topics. 

As always, let me know if you want a Free Class Pass, to try our subscription service. Just hit REPLY here. [Full details here - http://courses.therpaacademy.com]

Have a great week.

Regards,

Edward

Blue Prism acquires Thoughtonomy for $100M

The hot news this week is Blue Prism's purchase of Thoughtonomy for up to $100m. It follows SAP's purchase of Contextor at the end of last year, so you could wonder if RPA vendors are hot targets right now.

There are more similarities than differences in the two deals, SAP purchased Contextor to fill a clear gap in their product suite being filled by several of the RPA vendors. Similarly, Thoughtonomy fills a huge SaaS-based hole in the Blue Prism offering.

The annual Blue Prism conference earlier this year was a little worrying with all of Blue Prism's major competitors pulling ahead in the capabilities race. The roadmap offered was simply one of catching up with the competition and provided none of the market-defining innovation that gave RPA its name in the first place.

Thoughtonomy was there too. A most notable addition as it was their first appearance alongside Blue Prism in a formal setting despite licencing the Blue Prism technology for use within their own solution. The writing was on the wall, both companies were stronger together than apart, the question was when this deal would happen, not if.

Where Thoughtonomy lacked scale, Blue Prism lacked the SaaS capabilities, as a combined force Blue Prism could be back in the competition offering an enterprise-grade automation solution with a full range of automation, cloud and AI capabilities. Meanwhile, the competition isn't standing still either, and the race is on to move swiftly and create a clearly unified proposal.

The RPA Academy is an Authorised Blue Prism Training Partner, providing all levels of Blue Prism training, classroom or online. We can tailor our training to meet specific corporate needs, provide coaching and support, and accelerate the path to productive and efficient delivery. Our Blue Prism Unlimited Training is currently running allowing you to drop into live classes or watch previous lessons online for just $349/month and includes access to the Blue Prism software. Contact us for a free taster lesson.

❓ What's Your Value in the RPA Market? Know your worth 💸

Next week is going to be fascinating as we delve into the RPA recruitment market. I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to interview Harrison Goode, co-founder of Edge Tech Headhunters and the author of The RPA Market Report.

Without giving too much away I was pleased, shocked and surprised by some of the findings as we challenge perceptions with real data. What do you think is your market worth? How long will the market sustain higher salaries? And is there a genuine skills gap to address?

If you haven't done so already, sign up for The RPA Market Report webinar here.

Harrison is also familiar with the technology market more broadly and I am keen to get his thoughts on how RPA compares to his other technologies.

Last week was London Tech Week: 58,000 attendees, over 300 events and an international audience all flooded London to hear the latest news. Subsequently, it has been announced that 2019 is the year of AI! Ok, so I'm not going to win any prizes for sharing that revelation, you'd have to be living in a cave not to have picked up on that vibe this year.


However, back to the market, careers, knowing your worth and the upcoming webinar, the discussion is going to help you to evaluate your skillset, build a 5-year plan and accelerate your career!

The RPA Academy's Got Talent!

You may have seen last week that we're calling out to our wonderful community to hear your stories. If you have an important lesson learned, an innovative solution to a challenging problem, or a project to share then we're planning a future podcast series and would love to hear from you. Contact Us Here to be a podcast rockstar.

Finally, check out our RPA Unlimited offer, and develop the RPA skills that are most in demand and the most incredible price. Our Blue Prism Foundation course started this week and there's still time to jump onboard.

Knowledge as a Service, Learning as a Skill

This week, we have been promoting our new subscription service:  RPA Unlimited. Providing unlimited access to our curriculum of RPA technical and business skills for $349/month. Training has evolved, it's now knowledge as a service.

Having a groundbreaking new service is one thing, but it's actually only half of a broader equation. Accessing continuous learning is really a state of mind, a receptiveness to new information.  

Students need to learn how to learn continuously, exercising their skills across increasingly broader domains. During the design of our RPA Unlimited service, we considered whether to specialise along the lines of specific technologies. It became very clear though that many RPA developers (who have the right mindset) are skilled in multiple disciplines. This influenced our final decision to provide access to the whole curriculum and continuously grow that curriculum to meet the demands of our community.

Knowledge is a service, Learning is a skill. Students who continuously challenge themselves to learn more will be in greater demand, learn faster, innovate more and stand out from the specialists by provides broader understanding over remembering facts.

For businesses or individuals, our RPA Unlimited Service provides:

  • Blue Prism Foundation

  • Automation Anywhere Basic and Advanced

  • UiPath Foundation and Advanced

  • RPA Knowledge for Analysts, Project Managers and Exec

Check Out Next Weeks classes ↓↓

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Edward Brooks
Founder of The RPA Academy

Bridging a Gap or Leaping the Chasm?

Last week the London RPA and AI meetup gathered together representatives from Automation Anywhere, Accenture and IBM to discuss how to bridge the gap from RPA to AI.

The collective experience of the panel immediately challenged that back-office automation is simply going too slow, giving examples of industrial robots with automation capabilities being around for over 30 years, why is RPA moving so slowly?

Another view cited consumer AI, where products like Alexa have become commonplace and the use of AI in our shopping, smartphones, or TV viewing is prevalent. If AI has moved so quickly at how, why is it so difficult for businesses to move at a similar pace?

Answers and excuses came thick and fast...some thought it was ignorance of the opportunity provided by RPA and AI, the misguided belief that automation was only for large businesses and doesn't apply to SMB's. Other cited change fatigue and no energy to look at another wave of technology change. All agreed that getting started was easy, but scaling up and sustaining the program is difficult.

The panel all agreed that the technology is mature, affordable and capable, whatever your needs, but warned that the technology alone will not solve your problems. Without a doubt, the new wave of Intelligent Automation (RPA + AI) is providing digital transformation opportunities for businesses but the success of these programs relies on the people and processes, not the technology.  

Processes need to be reimagined, the nature of work changed and this requires forward thinking skills not just technological ones. The panel referenced a study that suggested that 80% of the value of RPA came from businesses being forced to review and optimize their legacy processes!  

For many, this is not a gap to be bridged, but an impossible chasm to leap, but if businesses wait too long to start they will now be left in the dust.

If you're wondering where to begin with RPA, then check out our RPA Unlimited offer which provides both business and technical skills.


Rob King
VP Product at The RPA Academy

What is wrong with your RPA project? See your answers here...and the advice for your projects.

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Every week we get the chance to ask one simple question. And then sit back and watch all week as the questions come in. In fact, what really happens is that every question we ask makes us want to ask another 100 questions. But you are busy and we are not a research business, so you are probably just glad that we keep it simple.


The one thing I want to emphasise from last week’s results is this. You can choose to sit back and feel that expectations are wrong. That’s fine. But you have arrived at an incredible time for your personal development and your career. RPA is still relatively new - and has many years of evolution and growth. You can complain about the project you are working on, or you can step up and lead, taking your knowledge and perspective, and using it to really make a difference. And that difference will make a huge difference to your career path, in and around RPA.

This week’s absolute headlines are:

  • RPA projects are trying to do too much! 75% of you say that it was a significant issue; a further 17% said it was a bit of an issue!

    • Knowing that most of you are still in the early days of your RPA project, this is a major, major issue. You can blame the marketing that RPA is cheap, easy, fast and anyone can do it. But that doesn’t help you.

    • What we can advise on is that you apply your professional judgement and ensure that your voice is heard. One of our clients was recently reflecting on their first 6 months, and said that, at the start the leadership had said “we’ll deliver by November”. The developers had said “it will likely be February”. And guess who ended up being 100% correct!!!

    • In the early days, it is all about getting a few internal “stories” up and running. Processes that are real to your organisation, that you can use to say “hey, this stuff really works”, using language and examples that your internal audience can relate to and, fundamentally, believe.

  • Next up is not enough resources. 86% of you said that this was some kind of an issue. 

    • This is maybe just part of the market - there are not that many of you with RPA experience. If your organisation is in its early days of RPA, then chances are you’re doing the pioneering, and are unlikely to have a team or peers who know much more than you do.

    • Obviously, we’re going to recommend leveraging somewhere like The RPA Academy, where you can get expert-led training AND support. If not us, make sure you can find help. This problem is not going to be solved by throwing resources at it - because those resources don’t exist.

    • On the flip side, this is a huge opportunity for you to embed yourself as the expert, and carve out a space for yourself that will grow and evolve with your RPA platform and the ecosystem around it.

    • Inexperienced leadership and limited expertise really aren’t a surprise - don’t let these factors become excuses for you. It will be the same in almost all organisations around the globe, so the grass is not going to be greener on that. As I said above, take advantage of it to build your own leadership role, based on your growing expertise and the answers you can drive.

  • Hidden at the bottom of the results table are two gems - Scope Creep and Targets Not Clear.

    • This is absolutely project management 101. Certainly it opens up warning signs to anyone, at any stage in their journey. You need to have the team 100% clear on the objectives. I like the idea of pioneering, but that doesn’t mean just wandering around until you’ve done “something”.

    • Clear objectives, clear targets, and realistic but flexible timelines (this stuff is new to you, remember) should be the bedrock of anything you are doing. To repeat what I said above, if they are not there, it is your job to ensure that they are there. Simple. Don’t pass the buck to anyone. This is what leadership is made of, and leadership is as much your responsibility, at any level of the organisation, so don’t rely on someone with a bigger title for this.

  • ROI too high? Fascinating!

    • I wonder how many people actually know the financial targets of the project they work on. Certainly, from my personal experience, this is something that is usually vague and often kept pretty private. Great if you know the target ROI and then don’t agree with it - that’s a step in the right direction. Now you just have to influence it a bit.

The Half-Life of Knowledge ◐

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Since then, the amount of data is doubling each year.  From a learning perspective, this is creating two distinct problems:

  • The knowledge you have is much greater to do the job

  • The shelf-life of your knowledge is much shorter because it's changing so quickly

This is the Half-Life of Knowledge

Michael Simmons has looked more deeply at this problem and concluded:

"You probably need to devote at least five hours a week to learning just to keep up with your current field - ideally more if you want to get ahead."


It's a dilemma that the RPA Academy is here to help solve. Our new RPA Unlimited subscription provides the knowledge you require when you need it, but now as a service!  We run a regular curriculum of RPA courses online with live instructors able to translate the theory into the practice you need. Our experienced team of instructors are there to provide the coaching and support needed to ease the glide path from novice to experienced practitioner.

➤➤ Sign up now for only $349/month and have immediate access to over 200 hours of live lessons every month
 

Founder of the RPA Academy, Ed Brooks, had this to say about the new service:
"The idea to provide a radically different approach to learning has been a passion since founding the RPA Academy 3 years ago, our new service is the answer to the many challenges businesses and individuals face of accessing knowledge, skills and support on an ongoing basis."

Your Business is paying too much for training!

Traditional training is broken.  

It's expensive. It's focused on theory and certification instead of practical knowledge. New on-demand models are not working too well either, the quality of content is variable, and where it is good it is still the theory and not the practice.

We have the solution. HERE

We've been talking to businesses for many years and have seen the problems that they face. The cost of training a single person is high and it can take a long time to become effective in the workplace. The technology landscape is constantly changing and keeping up to date with those changes can be difficult. And very few people move on to the more advanced topics because of the high cost. And then the staff leave because the market for contracting is so lucrative.
                           
For a single monthly fee, we have the solution to all these problems.

  • Students can choose the modules that are relevant to their specific needs

  • Live instructors lead the classes and are available to answer real-world questions when challenges are faced

  • All classes are recorded and can be revisited by the student

  • Advanced topics are all included for the same monthly cost

  • New materials are added regularly to keep students abreast of changes in the market

  • If a member of your team leaves you simply move the subscription to a new member of the team and get them started immediately

SUBSCRIBE TO RPA UNLIMITED 

If this wasn't enough to tempt you, look at the next two weeks ↓ ↓ ↓ 

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We also provide enterprise arrangements, contact be@therpaacademy.com to learn more.

The RPA Academy has always been innovative in its approach, this is going to disrupt the market! People talk about the skills gap without proposing solutions, this is the solution.

Rob King
VP Product at The RPA Academy

Ouch! What is holding you back? Answers here...

This is like walking down a street full of RPA professionals, as a roving reporter with a microphone and a cameraman, asking one simple question.

But, are people really that open and frank in front of a camera, when you can see their name and face? 

Our weekly online surveys are anonymous - so we get a different level of transparency and honesty. Yes, we’d love to dig deeper, but one simple question can reveal a lot.

Last week’s question was "What would you do differently? (Or where did you go wrong?)”

It could also have been “What is the one bit of advice you’d give anyone setting off down the RPA journey?"

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The clear headlines are:

  • Expectations are key! The “cheap, easy, and fast” myth is getting exposed for the lie that it is. Let’s at least get the marketing guys saying, “cheaper, easier, and faster” than alternatives.

  • We hear stories of projects where the leadership has said “we’ll deliver by November” and the developers have pushed back and said “February”, and guess who was proven right!

  • Maybe the advice from this is “start off with limited expectations”. Be confident RPA will work and drive value - but that, until you can understand your platform and clearly see how you can get to scale, you can’t have real expectations. Of course, the corporate world won’t give you that freedom - but it is worth playing back to your leadership the dangers of too high expectations. 

  • The best news of all = the choice of platform is not the source of your concern. Respondents feel pretty comfortable with their choice of technology. If this answer had been different, there would be a real issue in the market. So this is the most reassuring response. 

  • Nor is anyone really complaining about bad leadership. If expectations are not aligned, it is largely because of naivety around the marketing messages and reality. It is not due to incompetence. We’re all pioneering to a certain extent with RPA, so respondents are pretty understanding.

  • #2 issue identified is Governance. Certainly, given the responses, this is an area for deeper investigation. I don’t think we’d see different results if we looked at projects in other fields. However, it is also one of the most fixable of problems. Go back and look at your RPA platform’s methodology and do a quick audit. In fact, get each of your team to take 30 minutes to do this today, and schedule a team meeting for tomorrow to discuss and implement the results.

  • Support and Mentoring. Bear in mind that RPA is a new frontier for 90+% of the world. Your boss and colleagues are not likely to know much more than you do. But there are people out there who do have experience and wisdom to share - it is just very hard to find and tap in to in a way that doesn’t disrupt the work they are doing. However, if you could do this, you would! [Note - watch out for our announcements in this late-summer].

Help the market with your insights and experience. This week’s Question Of The Week is here https://therpaacademy.com/qotw

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Incredible RPA Training Offer only available from The RPA Academy - Act Now!

Today the RPA Academy is launching it's Unlimited RPA Training Offer, for just $349 month you can join our classes in

  • Blue Prism Foundation

  • Automation Anywhere Basic and Advanced

  • UiPath Foundation and Advanced

  • RPA Knowledge for Analysts, Project Managers and Exec

SIGN UP NOW

This is an unbeatable launch offer so act now:

  • All classes are led by live instructors online, available to answer your questions

  • Choose your own learning paths to accelerate the speed to become effective 

  • Zero Risk with our 7-day money back guarantee

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP NOW

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"The RPA Academy has a long history of innovative solutions.  We are now eliminating the greatest barriers to entry: Time and Cost, and providing a broad and deep curriculum.  Subscribers will be able to choose from over 200 hours of live classes every month for a single low monthly subscription."

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Edward Brooks | Founder of The RPA Academy

“The world will never move this slowly again”

First, the great and exciting news. 

There has never been a more exciting time to be in technology - in fact, in business full stop.

On the one hand, the pace of innovation is so strong in every single area of the economy - from agriculture to space travel. We’ve got fruit being picked by machines and journeys to distant planets being actively pursued.

Maturing platforms, such as RPA, are growing arms and legs, either on their own, or with ecosystem partners plugging in to them.

As my favorite phrase goes - "the world will never move this slowly again”.

On the other hand, the big economies are strong and there is super-low general unemployment. Dig in to the technical niches that will deliver the innovation, and there really is almost no one available. 

So we can take risks and still know that there is a fall back. A start-up doesn’t work, and you can always get your old job back. A project doesn’t work and your employer will still keep you. 

Add to this all that there is increasing top-down demand for the application of technology - from Boards, Shareholders, Active Investors.

Top down, bottom up, sideways or whatever direction, none of this is going to do anything apart from speed up.

But. But. But…

With all this new “stuff”, workforce size limited by immigration policies and legacy low childbirth rates, who is going to do the work? 

Even if it is the existing workforce, how are they going to know:

  1. What to do?

  2. How to do it?

  3. And where to get help?

This is the biggest issue we see in the market. The one thing that can slow the pace of innovation - and certainly the pace of application of that innovation.

Skills are short.

Expertise is scarce (and busy - delivering projects or selling projects).

Knowledge (as much as there is) is fragmented.

There will always be some degree of pioneering, and that needs to be encouraged. 

How quickly we can can learn from pioneers and disseminate their knowledge will be the single biggest determinant in how fast we can all go.

Disseminated of knowledge - quickly and effectively. That’s the issue to be looking at - not the empty, unsolvable issues around “the future of work”. 

We just don’t know what is going to happen and when, so stop going on about an unknowable future. 

All we can do is ensure that we - you, me, our colleagues, our organizations - have access to the knowledge that they need, when they need it. There has to be a conduit for all of that. And the market can do the rest.

This is where we are focusing our next steps:

  • Easy access to new ideas and application of existing technologies

  • Active training on how to follow through and implement them at the coal face

  • And providing support, when it is needed, when you hit real problems/issues

Also, keeping the price at level that you or your organization can afford to invest and keep investing in this incredible, exciting, totally unknowable, and long road ahead.

We’re taking immediate steps to open up knowledge around RPA.

You can learn ALL the core RPA platforms (Blue PrismAutomation Anywhere, and UiPath - with more to come) for $349 a month (cancel any time).

It also includes the Business/Analyst training. No longer will there be a divide between the “technical knowledge” and the “business knowledge”. That in itself has been an unhelpful barrier to the deployment and ramp-up of RPA.

All of this is live, online and expert-led. Yes, the recording will be there if you miss a class.

The idea is that you can start immediately, access the on-demand training to get started, then join the next live classes. You can do one class or all the courses on all the platforms - all for $349.

But it revolves around connecting you with the experts - no matter where you are or at what level your RPA skills.

The full details are here

And spread the word!

Regards,
Edward Brooks - Founder, The RPA Academy

Meetups Rock!

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Business Side of RPA

Personally, I am a big fan of Meetups. Specifically, those relating to RPA and AI, they're my guilty pleasure. If they involve beer and a few slices of pizza too, what is there not to like?!

Last week I happened to be speaking at the RPA Meetup Milton Keynes (UK) and that has made me think a little more about why I like them so much. Firstly, they are all very different, and that part of the appeal; whether auditoriums or just the local bar, they all have their own tone and approach. 

They are full of like-minded individuals, and you are guaranteed to find some interesting stories, challenges and solutions from those around you. Now, this may sound a little crazy but while I love public speaking, I find networking quite difficult. I'm sure many people can sympathize with this challenge and may feel a bit daunted by the prospect of networking with a bunch of strangers. Don't be. Meetups are always on the right side of informal to make this a natural, relaxing and entertaining thing to do. If conferences are intimidating, start with a few meetups to warm up to the idea of networking.

There are also some amazing speakers, this week I heard about the results of market research in RPA recruitment and a brilliant AI practitioner from UiPath describing the impressive AI Roadmap for 2019. This could be a wild ride (as the lyrics say) and 2019 is already lining up to be an exciting year.

The recurring theme of the technology skills gap raised its head again, but pleasantly, the solutions and opportunities for resolving these problems were discussed. This week we have a webinar entitled The Growth Mindset, which continues this exact conversation: solutions all exist, but a mindset of continuous learning is needed for it to be successful.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, our Business Side of RPA online training has reached the halfway point, technical training, online and classroom, is running for all three of our main product partners: UiPath,  Automation Anywhere and Blue Prism.Also, check out our home page for details.

And remember to take some time for yourself, May is Mental Health Month, find out more about it here.

-Rob King | The RPA Academy

Disrupting Recruitment

Here at the RPA Academy we often get questions from students about their career development and recruitment. It's not surprising, like most technology-driven industries, everyone focuses on the tech! But what about the people side of all this?

Our pure focus is on getting people knowledge. As you’ll see more and more in the coming months, this is about:

· showing people what you can do (awareness),

· teaching them how to do it (training)

· and being there to help when they hit issues (support).


However, this still needs you to find the right people, for the right roles - either full time or contracting.

Traditional recruiting still accounts for the vast majority of the market. Done well, it is a value add. But most of the market is just relying on an old database or their interpretation of what a LinkedIn profile says. And just because it mentions “RPA,” it doesn’t make you a developer.

Plus it slows down the market. When projects need to move fast, the recruiting model has to go at the right speed and add value immediately. Larger companies are also losing out to nimble operations able to scoop up the good candidates first. The traditional way isn't working.

Let us introduce you to RPA Talent. Super-simple on many levels. These guys are focused on the RPA Market and coming at it from a people perspective. However, don’t be surprised if you see the same thing pop up for other niches. This is a highly transportable model. Whether you are an individual looking to develop your personal brand or a company looking hire professional staff, RPA Talent has a new model for you to try.

Recruitment needs disrupting. And transparency helps any market. That can be hard to do, but seeing clear feedback on the candidate and the employer is a revolutionary area that RPA Talent does not shirk away from addressing.

You’re changing the way the world works in your daily job. Now help change the way the recruiting world works. It is free to do so take a look!

For more details check out our latest blogswebinars, and training.


Edward Brooks | Founder, The RPA Academy

Digital Workforce for Hire

I've often described that your digital workforce has more similarities to your human workforce than it does to using a traditional piece of software. With computer software, you're typically all-in from the very beginning and little effort is needed to maintain after implementation. For your digital workforce, you have to consider whether using full-time, part-time or temporary digital workers is needed and ongoing maintenance and operations can be an unwelcome surprise.

There is a growing trend for businesses to look for 3rd parties for help when it comes to delivering and maintaining RPA. Some have managed to achieve a successful start but then struggle to scale up, others have simply struggled to get going when adopting a go-it-alone approach.

New terminology is appearing to describe the new business models: "Robots as a Service," "RPA as a Service," "Centre of excellence as a service." They are all describing roughly the same thing, an option to outsource the development and support of your robots to another company.

Robots as a Service (RaaS) provides a new option to consider; moving the responsibility for Design, Development and Support entirely to a third party.

The immediate advantage of this model is the reduced start-up costs, but more significant is the skills needed for ongoing maintenance and support, a crucial component that is often overlooked when preparing the business case and embarking on the initial pilot.

Another way to look at RaaS is as a fully managed RPA service. Pricing is flexible to meet client needs and can range from a price per minute, to a profit-sharing arrangement, or even a more traditional flat rate model.

Cloud computing and RPA have converged, providing new alternatives to deliver your RPA program.

Advances in operating models is just one topic on our Business Side of RPA online training running this month. May is a busy month for us with technical training, online and classroom, running for all three of main product areas: UiPathAutomation Anywhereand Blue PrismCheck out our home page for details.

-Rob King, The RPA Academy

Low-Code: Collaborator or Challenger for the RPA Crown?

Low-Code: Collaborator or Challenger for the RPA Crown?

Last week was the Largest ever low-code conference ever globally, hosted by Mendix in Rotterdam, it boasted around 5000 visitors across 2 days.  So what is low-code, what has it got to do with RPA, and should I care?

Low-code is an approach to development that uses visual modelling and configuration instead of traditional programming to create applications.  Many RPA tools are referred to as low-code, as are many of the ecosystem products such as Appian or TrustPortal because they follow this same principle.

Reinforcing the similarities even further, the target users for these products are often the business and not IT.  Mendix refers to this audience as Citizen Developers, and similarly to RPA benefit from business experience above a technical background.  

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The Low-Code and RPA markets are similarly buoyant with predictions that low-code alone will reach $21 Billion market size within the next 3 years.  It seems surprising that there hasn't been more recognition of these similarities sooner.

Low-code and RPA also provide high levels of integration between separate applications so you can understand at first why there may be an assumption that they do the same thing.  But, the devil is in the detail and it is at this point Low-Code Application Development Platforms (to use the full title) and Robotic Process Automation diverge and become powerful in their chosen areas of operation.

Low-Code delivers fully developed applications across a variety of platforms, include the ability to build entire databases, and have strong change management, version control and application deployment capabilities as a core component.  Building entirely new applications at 10-times the speed of traditional programming tools is the wheel-house of low-code development.

In contrast, RPA mimics human interactions to provide a digital-human layer (rather than application layer), is focused predominantly on windows and browser-based applications, uses the data only from underlying applications, and orchestrates the actions of your team of digital workers.

While the development approach and target audience have many similarities, there are many benefits from having both low-code and RPA at your disposal to deliver a comprehensive programme of digital transformation.  Utilizing each tool for its own strength will open up new opportunities to develop integrated solutions.

The RPA Academy is here to keep you informed in the rapidly developing ecosystem.  We are continuing to develop new insights and opportunities to further your knowledge.  Contact our team to learn more, check out our newly updated blogs and videos sections on the website or browse our catalogue of training options.

Rob 

When you need some information, what do you do?

When you need some information, what do you do? For most people, the answer to this question is “Google it,” our new fountain of wisdom for everything from David Bowie trivia to the meaning of life.

There are 1.15 billion answers to the meaning of life, I’m glad we’ve sorted that one out.

When google works, it works great, and it should always be our first port of call, but when it doesn’t work, it includes lots of superfluous information that is not needed.

This is a signal to noise ratio: it’s difficult to hear the valuable signal because of the level of noise. This problem translates directly into our own RPA world, where there is a mountain of materials, but the quality varies greatly. At the RPA Academy, we curate well-researched knowledge to share with our members on the entire RPA ecosystem.

One size never fits all, and our flexible ‘learning path’ approach allows you to target the knowledge needed at the point of need for you and your team. The RPA Academy team have launched an innovative new brand called The Beacons, providing ongoing training for all your team. Our online subscription service starts from just $349 per month, contact our team to learn more.

4 Blue Prism Development Best Practices

1. Single Launch and Login Page

It is a common practice to create a single Launch and Login page.

However, these should be 2 different pages.

This gives us flexibility to recover when the Launch of an application fails.

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We generally retry Launch failures and never retry Login failures since a bot will never mistype the

credential unless it has wrong ones saved.

2. Not using Attach Action

Beginners tend to ignore the use of attach actions. One needs to call attach pages across the object

pages as soon as the start stage to help seamless switching between multiple applications running at the same time.

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3. Hard Coding timeouts

Newbies tend to hard code timeout stages of wait.

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Instead you need to use global data items which help you change the timeouts easily. Changing the

time outs on a single page would affect rest of the pages!!!

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Building all the logic on main page

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Break logic into multiple pages which help everyone one the team to understand the code and fix bugs in case of your unavailability.

4. Building huge objects

People tend to build huge objects. However, there are a lot of benefits when you break object into

smaller ones.

4.1 Multiple developers can work simultaneously.

4.2 Fewer items would break when changes are made.

4.3 Consumption of lower memory.

Good Naming convention: APP NAME + SCREEN NAME

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