Kofax RPA Tips & Tricks

Kofax Robotic Process Automation (RPA), also known as Kapow, is an easy-to-use platform that allows you to quickly set up software robots to replace manual tasks, decisions, and activities. In this webinar, we will share some tips, tricks, and common uses for Kofax Kapow software robots, including accessing business applications, web portals, and local files.

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Quinn Huntsman:

All right. Hello and thank you for joining another webinar Wednesday with RPI Consultants. This is our second of today’s double header. Today we’re going to be talking about some tips and tricks with Kofax’s RPA product, which stands for Robotic Process Automation and formerly known as Kapow.

Before we get started here, we’re going to go ahead and introduce ourselves. My name is Quinn Huntsman. I’m a business analyst here on the Content and Process Automation team in Kansas City, Missouri. I have a background in web development as well as Perceptive Content administration and troubleshooting.

I’ve been a part of implementation projects, upgrades and enhancements, so lots of background there. As well as I am a certified Kofax technical solution specialist for Kofax’s Robotic Process Automation product that we’ll be talking about today.

Geoff L.:

My name is Geoff Lilienfeld. I’m one of the partners at RPI and I manage our content and process automation practice. I’ve a little over a decade of experience with imaging solutions, integrating those solutions with financial systems and ERPs as well as designing and developing process automation solutions.

Prior to being in the IT space I was a management consultant. Kind of come from an entrepreneurial background. My fun fact here is I bought and resold 14,000 iPhones in 2008.

Quinn Huntsman: That is a fun fact indeed. What we have on the agenda today, we’re going to get into a little bit about RPI Consultants, tell you who we are. And then we’ll get right to the bulk of the presentation, discuss some tips and tricks we’ve learned with working with Kofax RPA.

At the end we’ll open it up to you all for questions and summary and then at the very end we’ll discuss some exciting upcoming events we have regarding RPA, so stick around for that. About RPI Consultants, we are a full-service professional provider for the industry’s leading enterprise content management and automation software, including Infor Lawson, Kofax products such as RPA that we’re going to discuss today.

And then the Hyland Software suite such as Perceptive Content or Brainware. We have over a hundred full time resources including technical and solution architects as well as project managers who are ready to add value to your business every step of the way. We are based in Baltimore, Maryland, but we do have offices in Tampa, Florida as well as Kansas City, Missouri where I am presenting to you from today.

Some of our technical services include strategy and architecture as well as new installations, upgrades and migrations as well as process analysis, systems design and implementation, managed services, staff augmentation and projects and change management. We can go ahead and start with the bulk of the presentation here and share with you some of our RPA tips and tricks we’ve learned along the way. Without further ado, let’s get right to it.

Geoff L.:

And definitely, please feel free to ask questions too as as we go.

Quinn Huntsman:

Absolutely. You can do that in the GoToMeeting panel and our moderator Michael Hopkins here will kind of feed those questions to us. The first thing we want to share with you, it’s the first place you start with your RPA project, which is designing your robot. A few principles or tips here on designing your robot.

The very first thing you’re going to want to do is step through that process as an end user. That’ll really help you understand what it’s going to look like as far as the robot because truly what RPA does is [inaudible] end-user steps and process.

It will look very similar to that as far as the workflow. Another point here is to keep in mind that you can kind of chain your robots together. It’s a really good idea to build or design one robot with the idea of having one robot execute one task in mind to really keep things organized and clean.

A few other points here that you can identify when you’re designing your robot or identifying variables, things that you need to store, whether that’s usernames and passwords for a login screen or really anything to that effect. Also, it’s important to identify points in the process that absolutely do require a user input or intervention of any time.

For instance, we have a vendor due diligence verification robot that we built that we accept the input for a vendor name, so it’s pretty crucial there. And then the last thing as far as designing your robot is to start to think about how you want to schedule this robot.

Does this robot need to run every morning at 6:00 AM? At night? Is there an event that needs to occur before I want this robot to run? Those are all points you can bring into consideration when you’re talking about how often do you want this robot to execute.

Geoff L.:

And going back to Quinn’s point on the one robot per task, one of the cool things about the way that Kofax RPA or Kapow is licensed is that it isn’t actually based on how many robots you build. It’s licensed based on how many robots are running in the back concurrently.

You can build as many different robots as you want to, as many different tasks as you want with just one concurrent license. And with that being said, it actually chose those robots. You could kick off 10 different robots and based on when those robots get kicked off, they’re actually going to queue up and then get executed once the license becomes available.

It’s pretty unique compared to a lot of the other players in the RPA space, most of which are licensing based on the actual robots that you build to perform a task.

Quinn Huntsman:

Kofax RPA, the licensing scheme certainly offers a lot more freedom than some of the other RPA products on the market. Moving on here, once you’ve designed your robot using the principles we listed, it’s time to get into building your robot. Now, a few first steps you want to do before you get into that, you always want to create your project directory.

Now, this is similar to visual studio, if you’ve ever worked in there, where at the top level you’ll have my project and then below that you can create sub-folders for things like database mapping, device mappings, which we’ll get into a little bit later, your robots themselves as well as snippets and types.

Types are sort of like variables that you bring into the scope of your robot. This allows you to organize your projects and the dependencies that come with those projects such as things like snippets and types. Another point here that is often handy is when you’re testing your robot and you get through a chunk of steps that you know works quite well and you’re comfortable with that.

If you’re trying to execute steps beyond that, it’s often handy to disable steps that you know work so that you don’t have to wait for those to process and be complete before you get to the point what you’re trying to see next. All you have to do to do that is right click the step and disable it.

Just don’t forget to enable it later on. I have definitely chased my tail trying to figure out what I did wrong when it was just a matter of the robot, the testing disabled. The final tip here on building your robots, and this is probably the most important one, is to use snippets. Snippets are definitely your friend.

You can think of them as reusable chunks of code. Say you have a web portal that you have three different end-user processes you’re trying to automate but each one of those processes starts with logging into the web portal. Now what you can do is let’s say logging in has three sub-steps of it, which would be open the website, enter the username, enter the password, and then [inaudible] login.

You can save that on what’s called a snippet, which is really quite easy to do from the design studio and then you can reuse that snippet in other robots. It saves you some time not having to rebuild the same steps over and over again.

Geoff L.:

And one of the cool things there too is that if a username changes or a password changes, you modify it in that snippet and then that new username or password gets modified throughout all of your robots.

With that being said, that’s always something that you want to keep in mind is that if you do have a snippet and you want to modify it for a single robot, you should copy the steps out of that snippet and then paste them into the robot before modifying or anything. Any change you make to that snippet will be a change across all robots if that snippets used it.

Quinn Huntsman:

Absolutely. All right, so we’ve covered designing and building at a high level. There’s certainly a lot more to that. Sort of an endless bucket of tricks there but you’ll kind of discover things as you get more comfortable in Design Studio. The next big tip for beginners certainly is that the product documentation for Kofax RPA is available directly through Design Studio, which I always thought was very cool.

At the top of your design studio window there’s just a toolbar and you can just click help and then the user’s guide and it’ll open up in a browser, the documentation that actually does come with your install provided by Kofax. One thing that’s super awesome about the documentation is that there are tutorials available.

This is tutorials from writing to an Excel sheet. There are really some very in-depth tutorials in there that you should definitely leverage. Overall this documentation is end-to-end so you’ll find information on how to you use Design Studio, really anything you can think of in there.

Management console which is the web-based application that you sort of use to administrate RPA and then the desktop automation service we’ll talk a little bit about it later and then Kapplets which is like a user-friendly interface to run robots. And of course, you can find more information and additional documentation at knowledge.kofax.com.

Geoff L.:

Kofax RPA is truly the only enterprise software I’ve ever seen that you can install and by performing the tutorials and utilizing the documentation that comes with the software, truly be up and running and start building robots. It’s very in depth. The tutorials are awesome.

Quinn Huntsman:

That means a lot coming from Geoff. He makes sure to go out and find new software every day. All right. Our next point here is when we discovered relatively early on regarding working with web portals and security as it relates to that. All websites on the internet are secured using some Transport Layer Security protocol or some certain kind of SSL protocol.

Sometimes you’ll get an error when you load a page that says SSL h