Traditionally integrating with systems that don’t offer APIs or a shared storage mechanism (such as open tables) has been something of a headache often resulting in the ‘last mile’ of the integration process being manual. The manual steps often come because the cost of building and maintaining the means to integrate has not been cost effective or even an option (vendor has end of lifted a product, and not willing to add an integration mechanism).
The idea of ‘screen scraping’ isn’t new, but the cost of implementing such mechanisms has dropped and the new generation of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) tools such those provided by UiPath have made it significantly easier to integrate and automate UI driven processes. Whilst UI based integration isn’t recommended as a first option for integration, it shouldn’t be ruled out particularly as it gets easier and easier to generate and maintain the UI automation. There are several factors that need to be considered as to whether such an approach is appropriate, for example:
- the ability to run a robot to execute the UI interaction,
- the volume of data needing to be moved through the UI – you wont escape the latency issues that may exist with UI steps,
- is the UI being automated changing rapidly (is there enough cost benefit for automating)
Oracle have been working in partnership with one of the leading RPA product vendors – UiPath, which has resulted in an adaptor for Oracle Integration Cloud. The adaptor allows you to pass data to the UiPath Orchestrator component which will run the processes in an unattended mode. In the adaptor configuration you provide information about how many resources you want the Orchestrator to apply to the task, the queuing of the job and so on.
for more information on RPA and the adaptor the following links maybe of help:
- http://amysimpsongrange.com/tag/rpa/ – an introduction to RPA
- https://docs.oracle.com/en/cloud/paas/integration-cloud/uipath-rpa-adapter/using-uipath-robotic-process-automation-adapter-oracle-integration.pdf – documentation on the RPA adaptor
- http://niallcblogs.blogspot.com/2018/12/671-oic-1845-new-features-ui-path-rpa.html – Oracle PM introduction
Whilst Oracle’s roadmap in the RPA space is not entirely clear we have heard indications that Oracle are limiting themselves to just UiPath (this is what UiPath say about the partnership).
Regardless of the approach you’ll see that the adoption of RPA is important in Oracle’s vision, with their Agile Finance making a clear indication of its view (see the paper here).