Why You Need Version Control for Building Robots

Woman on Computer with Robot
April 02, 2019 | By Wendy St. Clair

Have you ever written a document, made some edits, and then renamed the new file to track your work? You likely started with “v1,” then v2, onto v3 or final, only to find yourself adding final2, final3 and even final_final to the mix.  If this is you, you’ll easily understand the need for Version Control Software (VCS). 

Software developers know this well since VCS is an essential part of every modern software project, and most developers won’t touch a project without it. VCS helps stop developers from stepping on each other’s toes and overwriting code that changes something somewhere else in the database and causes something to break. VCS forces users to check out files before modifying them, make their updates in a safe place, and then check them back in. The system flags any problems with the new code so you can stop issues before they go live. Got an error anyway? No problem. Revert to the last working version. With VCS, breaks are simpler to prevent, find and fix…fast.

In the world of robotic process automation (RPA) and intelligent automation (IA), finding a way to manage the “lifecycle” or versions of your robots is equally important, especially the more robots and processes you have.  Sure, you can manage a single robot’s actions yourself, but 15? Or 200? Not quite.

As you scale your RPA program up, you’ll quickly find you need a VCS structure to keep your robots in sync.  Without it, you’ll spend a large amount of time fixing robots that “broke” due to website changes, business application changes, password updates, security patches, or any software updates along the process route. And when one robot breaks? Your automation stops.

What Robot Builders Need is a Framework for Building, Testing and Sending to Production 

We just launched Kofax RPA 10.4,  featuring a true VCS to help companies easily manage thousands of robots, scale their RPA operations and reduce robot errors and downtime.  This new process for Lifecycle Robot Management lets users build and test robots in a sandbox environment before sending them to production. Our VCS is based on Git, the industry-standard source code management tool in most devops teams.

With Robotic Lifecycle Management, it’s now exponentially easier for humans to scale their Kofax RPA robot deployments and manage them.  Users can document and track robot changes, easily troubleshoot issues, and roll back to earlier versions should a conflict arise. Many things are supported by version control including robots, snippets, types, resources and schedules.   The result? True robot governance across the enterprise.

We are truly excited about this update and many of the other additions we are continuing to make with our RPA product as we move toward true cognitive RPA and Intelligent Automation. Learn more about these RPA capabilities here.

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