The term ‘Web services’ has joined the other trendy buzzwords dominating the automation scene lately. Thanks to their versatility, web services are widely used in standard IT integrations and now they are finding their way into RPA.
It is a technique that was available in Blue Prism from the very beginning – I have been studying this topic since 2016. I remember offering this feature to our clients, educating them on the topic, explaining how to use it and what are the advantages of it, but in the last 5 years, the adoption among our clients was not very widespread.
Especially when customers are starting with RPA, they are hesitant to use such technologies. But as they are becoming more mature so their appetite for more elegant & effective solutions increases. During last year, we have seen a big change in the trend where there are many more applications which, apart from the GUI, offer the SOAP or REST API web services and companies that are running their RPA initiatives for years are starting to gauge the advantages and disadvantages of standard GUI-based automation methods versus utilizing web services.
Are you in a similar position? We have the knowledge, we have the experience, we have the course. We have it all and so can you!
We have been through this story with many clients and we have helped them to explore this modern and flexible way of automation.
The main differences between “traditional” automation techniques and web services could be summed up in this way:
- Forget about screen scraping and spying GUI elements. Using a web service allows you to talk to the system directly via API, which makes it completely independent with changes in the user interface and saves time while configuring your automations.
- Using this direct communication channel really speeds the processing up, because you no longer depend on the often-unpredictable interface responsiveness, testing whether write stages can be used or you are bound only to Global Send Keys action (you know what I am talking about, don’t you).
- On the other hand, bypassing all the visual elements is inherently connected to a potential risk of missing validations built in the user interface. Therefore, an increased attention must be paid to the quality and consistency of input data.
SOAP vs REST
Blue Prism can handle both SOAP and REST types of web services. SOAP web services are still widely used, but we see an increased usage of REST API web services as more and more modern apps which support REST API are implemented in companies’ software ecosystems (e.g., ServiceNow). At the same time, the mindset among our clients is changing and we see much bigger interest in the technology – and it does not matter if you want Blue Prism to consume external web services or provide an API by exposing processes and objects. This way, Blue Prism can help you to bridge the gap between your legacy and modern systems.
Our Real Life Experience
Below you can find several real-life examples of how web services can be used to automate manual processes with ease and open up new frontiers in your digitization initiative.
Ticketing Systems Integration
Many clients are using ServiceNow as their primary system for supporting tickets. We have been asked numerous times to connect Blue Prism and ServiceNow together to allow for seamless communication between humans and robots. Blue Prism itself can even create support tickets in case the platform experiences an issue, which gives IT departments a real-time feedback on the health of the infrastructure.
And because automating ServiceNow via the user interface is actually quite a challenging exercise, it is much better to utilize the capability of Blue Prism to call a 3rd party web service. Then the integration is done very easily, in much shorter time and in a much more reliable way.
Financial institutions like banks and insurance companies usually still actively use green-screen applications as their core system. It is not a problem to automate traditional mainframe clients with Blue Prism, but why not to take it to the next level?
You can have a modern web-based application that can be accessed from any device and any location with internet access. Such an application usually offers a user-friendly interface that is easy to navigate. You can also connect it to a web service – in this case an exposed Blue Prism process or object. This Blue Prism component can accept user data, securely perform some task/s in your legacy system and send information back to the user in real time!
Mobile Interface to Blue Prism
Another use case for Blue Prism automations exposed as web services is an application that provides real-time calculation of the pricing schedule for dealers. Anytime a customer asks the dealer about a monthly installment amount, the answer is not that straightforward – it depends on a number of conditions. But equipped with such an application, the dealer can enter all the parameters into the web form and the data is sent to the robot sitting in the leasing company data center. The result is posted back within several minutes, which can be used for building a stronger relationship with the customer.
Do you want to know more?
If you are interested in using web services with Blue Prism and do not know where to start or if you have already started but you are struggling to make it work, we are here to help!
- Do you have issues to automate your applications using GUI and you know there is an API available?
- Would you like to know the difference between SOAP and REST web services and how each of these types work with Blue Prism?
- Do you want your Blue Prism-web services setup to follow the best practice and optimize license consumption?
Then get in touch with us – sign up for our brand-new specialized training course or use our consulting services for an automation boost!