Let’s say you’ve been automating for a while and you want to do more—in fact, your business demands it. To that end, you’ve been designing, deploying, and maintaining automated processes to deliver services faster, with more power, to more users.
But not all your automations flow smoothly. Maintaining scripts, tending to brittle integrations, and herding multiple tools are still part of your daily work. Shouldn’t some things be easier by now? Things like designing workflows and handling errors. Integrating applications across your heterogeneous data center. And automating applications with difficult APIs.
Enterprise-scale orchestration can help you.
Orchestration Is the Heart of Enterprise Efficiency
Orchestration resides as a layer above automation. You can’t have orchestration without automation—you need both. Automation enables a single task to run on its own. Orchestration connects, coordinates, and runs automated tasks to integrate entire processes.
Along with automation, the critical need is to have more orchestration. An orchestrated system makes decisions, handles errors, and manipulates data. It provisions resources and responds to events. It knows how to run parallel processes and coordinate them across domains. It cuts out the manual work between each automation step and cuts across enterprise silos. And it connects entire IT ecosystems—error-free—without human intervention.
That means you can automate almost anything, reduce service delivery, and realize previously unattainable revenue growth.
What Do You Need Your Orchestrator to Do?
Let’s turn our attention to the tool or platform that helps you achieve orchestration—the orchestrator.
According to Gartner®, “Service orchestration and automation platforms (SOAPs) enable infrastructure and operations (I&O) leaders to design and implement business services through a combination of workflow orchestration, workload automation, and resource provisioning across an organization’s hybrid digital infrastructure. SOAPs provide a unified administration console and an orchestration engine to manage data pipelines and event-driven application workflows.”*
*Gartner, “Market Guide for Service Orchestration and Automation Platforms”, Chris Saunderson, Manjunath Bhat, Daniel Betts, Hassan Ennaciri, August 10, 2021.
Here at Micro Focus, we think an orchestrator should have these five must-haves:
- Graphical interface for low-code/no-code authoring.
- Advanced logic for superior orchestration control.
- Vendor-agnostic platform for seamless cross-domain orchestration.
- Extensible API-rich platform for invoking your orchestration from anywhere.
- Scalable architecture for running large-scale processes across multiple sites.
The Benefits of Low-Code/No-Code Automation
Using drag-and-drop, wire-and-click, and plug-and-play techniques, low-code/no-code platforms allow non-developers to start designing their own digital workflows. Users can select ready-made operations from a content library, drop it into a design canvas, and connect them to other operations—no programming required. These platforms may also come with content wizards to generate integration (API) content in a few easy clicks.
When companies adopt low-code/no-code automation, two things happen: Freed-up IT teams start focusing on large-scale enterprise processes they didn’t previously have time for. And empowered non-developers can start designing their own smaller scale automations. Low-code/no-code platforms reduce reliance on scripting, help overcome developer shortages, and make work easier. In terms of productivity, everyone wins.
Where Does RPA Fit In?
Robotic process automation (RPA) is a type of low-code/no-code automation. Writing code for complex interfaces takes time. RPA takes a simpler path to get things done.
RPA extends an orchestrator’s reach to automate processes that couldn’t be automated before—namely, screen-based human actions. Think about RPA as one more capability that helps the orchestrator cut manual work between automation steps to make touchless automation possible.
An orchestrator with RPA capabilities often includes a design studio—ideally, a single visual interface—where you can record screen actions, parametrize input variables, and design end-to-end workflows by combining screen recordings (the UI automation) with IT operation steps.
Add RPA to your workflows when:
- You don’t have an easy way to integrate with applications that lack or have difficult APIs. Even if an application is API-enabled, the API may take a long time to understand or may require domain expertise. But with RPA, you can record screen actions and then easily insert those recordings into workflows.
- You want to automate processes without changing existing systems and applications.
- You want to automate quickly.