RPA Resources, Guidance, & Documentation: Reflections from Collaborating with Microsoft

Microsoft’s RPA (Robotic Process Automation) solution will transform organizations, helping teams realize cost savings and increased productivity. And the beauty of Microsoft’s RPA capabilities is that they build atop an organization’s existing Azure infrastructure, tapping into native Microsoft cloud services – like Azure Active Directory, On-Demand Compute, Native Network Security Tools, and RBAC Access Control – rather than building these capabilities from scratch on another solution.

While automation has been around for decades, the Microsoft one cloud platform provides seamless, integrated process automation services. Microsoft automation capabilities can extend across all departments of large enterprise organizations, optimizing processes and significantly trimming costs.

Many years of Azure experience and award-winning Power Platform capabilities provided the AIS team the opportunity to collaborate with Microsoft on a whitepaper for enterprise deployment of RPA. We’re grateful for the opportunity to help create opinionated guidance and resources for organizations looking to enable and govern the rollout of Power Automate for RPA and other hyperautomation scenarios. Many talented SMEs across Microsoft and AIS partnered to deliver valuable guidance for you to accelerate your path to automation. In this blog, our team shares six key learnings and takeaways from the project.

What We Learned Helping Write the RPA Whitepaper

It’s hard to beat the opportunity to work with a product team. We’ve been a dedicated Microsoft partner for nearly as long as we’ve been a company. Throughout our partnership, we’ve been lucky enough to work closely with product engineering across various teams. It’s always enlightening and inspiring and gives both of our teams an opportunity to apply product vision to customer priorities.

Opinionated first, genericized later. New technology is released at a rapid clip. We know there’s a lot of noise. You need to get things done efficiently and the last thing you need is a case of analysis paralysis. Opinionated guidance will help you do that, giving you a leg up and a head start on the best approach. We’ve enabled cloud capabilities at some of the largest and most complex enterprises for over 13 years. We’ve infused those learnings and hardened processes into opinionated guidance by identifying what’s most effective. From identity and network operations to migration and modernization approaches, we arm delivery teams with constantly improving best practices and resources. Many organizations approaching RPA won’t be starting from ground zero in the cloud; the Microsoft RPA solution, with some help from other cloud resources (like our CDF), will allow you to leverage and build on your cloud investments.

Successful enterprise programs require insights from real-world, practical experience. The result of this whitepaper is an example of the powerful impact of talented product teams and veteran systems integrators coming together. We were able to bring learnings from building out enterprise-level Azure environments. Together with Microsoft, we shaped the vision for RPA technology into practical, hands-on resources for building and supporting hyperautomation. Insight from previous experience, enterprise technologies outside the Microsoft suite, and an understanding of customers’ business outcomes allowed us to inform the product and develop the resources to enable it. The combination of product team vision and insight and hands-on, experienced practitioners is a winning formula for developing valuable customer guidance.

Checklists are always helpful. Checklists drove the format of the whitepaper to help us make the content as actionable as possible. The goal of this whitepaper was to set forth a set of optimal milestones and share the thinking to help teams make progress faster. This approach was driven by Apostolis Papaioannou, Principal Program Manager at Microsoft. His vision was to create content that was consumable for such a vast topic, building on the foundation of the Holistic Enterprise Automation Techniques (HEAT). What you will find with this whitepaper is a thorough overview and actionable steps to get a workable environment up and going quickly. There’s a wealth of additional material and documentation available today with more coming soon.

Cross-cutting teams are the means to succeed. We brought in AIS Power Platform, Azure, M365, and other architects with varying skillsets to support the whitepaper creation, in addition to the Microsoft contributors, and the range of experience and perspectives made a big impact on the outcomes and guidance. This experience was yet another example of the success and trend towards cross-functional and cross-cloud collaboration, a concept and model the AIS team has adopted with much success.

Write a lot. Trim a lot more. Repeat. This was the flow of operations. We would quickly get up to 100 pages, then trim back a lot. This helped us get all the ideas and perspectives out there, before evaluating to focus on the right message and resources. In some cases, guidance can boil the ocean. Our goal was to vet the options and provide an opinionated best path forward to support organizations in focusing on the right things.

Get Started: Administering a Low-Code Intelligent Automation Platform for Your Organization

Are you considering RPA solutions for your organization? Check out the whitepaper, Enterprise Deployment for RPA and more in Power Automate, as well as other resources below. Please share a link with your partners and colleagues and let us know what you think. If you have any questions, please reach out to the AIS team.

Access the whitepaper: https://aka.ms/autocoeadminwhitepaper

Helpful Microsoft RPA Resources and Guidance Links

• Automation CoE Blueprint https://aka.ms/autocoeblueprint
• Automation CoE Strategy https://aka.ms/autocoestrategy
• HEAT https://aka.ms/rpapnp
• HEAT video series https://aka.ms/rpapnpvideo
• Whitepaper overview blog: https://powerautomate.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/administer-and-govern-a-low-code-intelligent-automation-platform-whitepaper-enterprise-deployment-for-rpa-and-more-in-power-automate/
• Automation Admin & Governance Whitepaper https://aka.ms/autocoeadminwhitepaper
• Manage Power Automate for Desktop on Windows https://aka.ms/padonwindowspnp
• Hyperautomation SAP Playbook (https://aka.ms/MicrosoftRPAPlaybookForSAPGUI) & video series (https://aka.ms/AutomateItSAPSeries)
• Automate It video series: https://aka.ms/AutomateIt
• RPA in a Day training: https://aka.ms/RPAinaDayPackage

Acknowledgments

Thank you to Apostolis Papaioannou, Kent Weare, Pranav Rastogi, Anitha Natarajan, Jonathan Eckman, Lav Gupta, Brent Wodicka, Vishwas Lele, Gautier Chastan, Kathy Osborne, Rakesh Krishnan, Amit Bhambri, Ashvini Sharma, and Jonathan Kendall for the partnership on this whitepaper.