Automation Academy

How to get value from Control Tower in RPA Express

18.07.2019
4 min read
Control Tower in RPA Express

If you have had a chance to work with RPA Express, you probably already have a good understanding of how to use WorkFusion Studio. However, the software has another very important component which may be overlooked, but which could be instrumental in scaling your automation as you become more skilled: Control Tower.

In this article, we have gathered several tips to help you learn how to use Control Tower to make your automation much more effective.

Sample Business Processes 

One of the main purposes of Control Tower is to design and orchestrate business processes. 

When downloading RPA Express Trial, you’ll get a set of sample business processes available in Control Tower. Not only do they help you quickly get started with the product and get to know its basic capabilities, but they also can be included in your future automation workflows.

Some sample processes are:

  • Check Criminal Records: Looks for criminal records using personal information and saves results in HTML format
  • Accounts Payable: Collects invoices from a web application, processes them with OCR, and then sends the result to a person to extract the required information
  • License Verification: Looks for licenses online and retrieves the related information

Start working in Control Tower by running these and other sample business processes, and you will find it much easier to understand the basic structure and logic of automated flows, as well as bot and manual tasks — which we’ll cover in the next section.

Bot Tasks and Manual Tasks

Control Tower provides an opportunity to combine the work of robots and humans in one seamless process by creating separate bot and manual tasks and uniting them into business processes based on your needs.

While bot tasks are performed by software robots, manual tasks are done by people and can be used for several purposes. 

Manual tasks are commonly used by SMEs (Subject Matter Experts) to validate Bot automation results. In such cases, your business process should be able to fully automate your personal or team routine work using bot tasks. The last step in the business process will be a manual task, where a human will validate the resulting data.

Example: A bot is scraping data from some scruffy business cards. In your opinion, some of them might contain errors after automation. In this case, you can design the business process to send the output data to a manual task for review. The manual task will signal the SME to step in and confirm or decline the data.

Another way to use manual tasks is attended automation. This is used when you need some human input in the middle of your automation. In terms of the business process structure, it means you’ll have bot tasks at the beginning and the end of the business process and a manual task in the middle.

Example: A bot is working with a desktop application you use daily. It inserts or extracts the required information. However, at some point, only a human can fill in data in a mandatory field or press a particular button. This is where a manual task can help. Once the SME inserts the data or presses the button, the bot continues with the automation. 

You can also use manual tasks for error handling. In this case, a human steps in to help the bot continue automation.

Example: A bot is scraping information from a website. At some point, the bot runs into an error, as it is unable to find the data using the rules as defined. The solution for this error can be to send a note to a human through a manual task to validate the website content and provide the correct data.

Perhaps you have already tried sample business processes and learned how manual tasks are used. Remember you can easily re-use previously created tasks as many times as you need in multiple business processes.

Decision Rules

RPA bots that do not have AI functionality cannot make decisions. However, you can provide several workflows of the same process using special decision rules in Control Tower. 

Decision rules are used to define different variants of a business process flow, depending on certain data values used in the process.

Example: A bot gathers contact information from some websites and renews it in the company’s databases. It pings the website, and, if the website status is valid, it grabs the data and renews the contact information. Otherwise, it does nothing.

Diagram below illustrates how this decision rule works:

How Decision Rule works

Schedules

When you have created multiple business processes in Control Tower, you can organize them in a schedule, so they all run automatically and require no actions from you.

Example: You need some reports to be created on Mondays. Put your business process on a schedule and you’ll get a fresh report every Monday without the fear you might forget about it or be late.

Using schedules gives better visibility of what business processes are executed and when.

To learn more about additional practical skills, check out Automation Academy’s free course: “Mastering the Business Process with RPA Express.”