RPA Technical Insights, Part 6: Understanding the Learning Curve

David BrainBlog

This is part 6 of a 22 part blog series by the leading experts at Symphony Ventures. It addresses how to choose the right RPA tools for your business needs. Drawing from our global team’s extensive knowledge in automation consulting, implementation, and managed services across a range of diverse industries, we’ve drilled into the technical criteria to consider when selecting which RPA software best enables your company’s digital operation strategy.

Read part 5, Why Visual and Interface Design Matter in RPA Development

Like any complex application, RPA tools take time and resources to master. So, it is crucial to select a tool that will not restrict adoption with strict skill prerequisites. In this blog, we will explain how a low knowledge requirement to configure and run processes within a tool can reduce the friction of the training process. In fact, RPA software that is simple to learn will not only save time and cost in training, but will also benefit scalability within your organization.

Process Design Interface

One aspect that heavily impacts the ease of learning RPA is how the processes are configured. The most important part of creating and deploying an efficient automation is visualizing and understanding the flow of the process inside and out. Visual flow, in the form of a flow chart with drag and drop components, can alleviate the need for keeping a mental chart of programming nodes. Instead, enabling user to produce diagrams that represent loops, decision points, and actions. This makes the automation easily readable from the start, quicker to learn and easier to collaborate with. Symphony has found that RPA software with effective visuals are favored by teams for because they are more accessible and organized.

Hiding the Code

Speaking of programming knowledge, RPA is just a series of interactive scripts at the code level. What makes a big difference among RPA tools is the ability to put most of the complicated code under the working level of the software. In fact, certain RPA tools are designed to be used without any previous coding knowledge. When the code is tucked away well, you will mostly see user-friendly elements like buttons and labels. In cases when programming is needed, manual coding functionalities are always present.

How Far Can You Get Without Code?

A true indicator of codeless input implementation is if a highly complex automation can be created without the need to insert code. More usable and accessible RPA tools will be able to create powerful automation processes without complex expressions of code. A feature that makes this possible is the utilization of low-level activities which serve as the building blocks for the rest of the automation components. These can essentially mask the tiniest fragments of code as workflow components. Another helpful feature is automatic expression-completion, allowing users to have a lower threshold of coding knowledge to effectively create processes. In practice, each of these contributes to a simpler user interface and streamlined work.

Easy Debugging

Another usability factor that differentiates RPA tools is the helpfulness of debugging information. While it is mainly tied into the software architecture, the ability to present relevant descriptions and to alert the user to them at corresponding sections of the automation can save RPA teams a lot of time fixing mistakes. Well-presented debugging information directs users to what needs to be inspected more effectively, greatly reducing frustration and making it easier to get quick feedback and learn. To RPA beginners, it can be immensely helpful to have access to well-formed debugging details.

Aim for a Smooth Learning Curve

A good portion of RPA user experience is predicated on having a low knowledge requirement. Workflow diagrams that illustrate every action can make your automation accessible to any business or IT personnel. Additionally, not everyone who uses RPA has to have programming experience. After all, the learning strain for code can be reduced by finding RPA tools that limit coding requirements, as well as those that provide easy debugging functionalities.

If you are planning on training an RPA team of your own, these are the RPA features to look for. If you seek guidance on training methods, or want to boost your training capabilities, Symphony can help. We provide expert training assistance from our RPA consultants that can get your RPA team off the ground and running. Check out our RPA Selection Tool to get our advice on what tool will fit your business needs.

Be sure not to miss part 7 of RPA Technical Insights, where we dive into the importance of solution design methodologies.