Using UiPath, we are able to design a Robotic Process Automation (RPA) in a user-friendly way through flow charts, sequences, and diagrams. By mimicking human behaviors, UiPath becomes a robotic friend that assists us in finishing tedious and cumbersome work. In this blog series, I will cover RPA, UiPath, and how important they are to Oracle Enterprise Performance Management (EPM), specifically in the budgeting, forecasting and planning arenas. In this post, I discuss a few use cases for how RPA augments EPM planning processes.
Automation in Enterprise Planning and Budgeting
Automation is not a brand-new topic. In order to automate certain activities, such as loading data, running rules, processing backups, etc., batch scripts and task schedulers are heavily used for the on-premises Oracle Hyperion Planning, Oracle Essbase, and Oracle Hyperion Financial Management (HFM) solutions. For the Oracle EPM cloud solutions, Oracle EPM Cloud allows EPM Automate to handle automation activities. However, batch scripts are still necessary to provide automation.
Meanwhile, for other iterative processes such as stress testing, Fiddler is often used to track and record the users’ activities, and then uses other scripts to loop through the activities and process stress testing. There are other automation tools and options, but I won’t discuss them in more detail at this time.
As you can see, most of the automation tools require a certain level of coding knowledge and may not be user-friendly from a maintenance perspective. That is one of the reasons why I’m discussing an RPA platform, UiPath Studio, as an alternative.
UiPath Studio is a user-friendly and powerful automation platform, designed for business users. UiPath provides two types of studios, Enterprise RPA Platform and Community Edition. The Community Edition is free and fully featured. To get the Community Edition, simply go to the UiPath website and download the solution.
UiPath Studio provides a visual editor and a rich pre-built, drag-and-drop templates library. Start with creating a project, and then add a sequence or flowchart to start the automation process.
I review some UiPath use cases for Oracle EPM Planning Cloud (formerly known as Oracle Enterprise Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service or EPBCS) in the following sections. One thing I would like to point out is that UiPath, as an RPA platform, does not have limitations on using any applications or platforms. It will track and mimic the user’s activities and then assist you accordingly.
Oracle Hyperion Planning + UiPath
I will start with a simple and straightforward example to demonstrate the UiPath solution potential. Then, I’ll show a more complex example.
First, I used UiPath to open a browser and to log into the application. UiPath works by recording and making screenshots, so that it will be able to replicate your activities later. On top of that, you can always use variables to store the credential information.
Use UiPath to open the application and go to the task list to perform planning and budgeting activities.
Once the logic has been set, simply click “Run” to trigger the automation. This opens the browser and automatically types in the credentials. Then, open the application, select the specific task, and open a form.
UiPath can do a lot more than this.
Oracle EPM Planning Cloud + UiPath
As I mentioned, UiPath is not limited to a specific EPM platform. It is fully available for the Oracle EPM Cloud Suite.
Think about this scenario: The Budget Office and the FP&A team are processing a detailed, tactical, bottom-up plan using the Oracle EPM Planning Cloud solution. In the meantime, long-range target planning is underway using Oracle EPM Strategic Modeling.
Pushing data between these two models is necessary. Since the budget planners may update the bottom-up planning details constantly during the budget season, data needs to be pushed to, and pulled from, the strategic model regularly.
In this example, a Groovy business rule entitled “Admin_Planning_to_SM” is triggered to push data from the budget model to the strategic model. A prompt window appears with this rule to select cost centers. UiPath will select the cost centers for users based on the user’s variables.
Like the previous UiPath automation sequence, setting up the login process is the first step. Then, run the Groovy business rule and type in the cost center from the prompt window. All the text information can be managed through variables and variable files.
Run the UiPath sequence or flowchart. It will check the rule name, then type in the cost center and run the rule.
Looking into the Future
From an RPA perspective, UiPath has a lot of potential. For example, UiPath can log into the planning system, run and download reports, send the reports to users’ emails, etc. This will come in handy when your planners log into the system and spend time manually running and downloading a report every month. The bottom line is that by using your imagination and thinking through a proper design, UiPath will make your life easier. Then, you will be able to use the time saved to do more productive and meaningful activities.
Additional blog posts on RPA and UiPath concepts to follow; please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or need further help!