Enterprise A2019.09: Microsoft Integration, Copy Bot, and More
Automation Anywhere Enterprise A2019 brings a ton of innovation to the Robotic Process Automation (RPA) development space, and not just in advanced features. One of the foundational innovations in Enterprise A2019, from a process perspective, is the implementation of continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) for the development lifecycle.
CI/CD is a philosophy, as well as a culture, in which a set of operating principles and best practices enables development and testing teams to deliver code updates more frequently and reliably. This requires a higher level of discipline and collaboration by the teams but, ultimately, leads to an even higher-quality product.
As part of our CI/CD culture adoption, we’ve created a release cadence for Enterprise A2019, whereby new features are developed, tested, and introduced every month. Let’s take a quick tour of the latest features in Enterprise A2019.09.
New Microsoft Office enhancements
The Enterprise A2019 platform provides scores of built-in commands for Microsoft productivity products, such as Excel. These commands make building Office-based bots a simple point-and-click action. Enterprise A2019.09 adds to the growing list of commands with new packages and actions for both desktop-based Microsoft Office and cloud-based Office 365.
Office 365 suite actions
Many organizations are using Office 365. For these customers, Enterprise A2019.09 adds Office 365 commands with the Office 365 package, which facilitates automations within Office 365 and related applications. Enterprise A2019.09 provides three Office 365 packages:
- Office 365 Excel (40+ commands)
- Office 365 OneDrive (10+ commands)
- Office 365 Calendar (eight commands)
Note: Microsoft Graph APIs are leveraged to integrate Office 365 with Enterprise A2019. This enables efficient, accurate transfer of data both internal and external to Office 365.
New Microsoft Excel actions
Excel continues to be one of the most highly automated apps for enterprise customers and, over the years, the Enterprise platform has added a huge number of built-in Excel commands. Enterprise A2019 has more than 50 of these, and we continue to add to the list. Here are a few of the latest Excel actions in Enterprise A2019.09:
- Get row — retrieve the row number of an active or specific cell
- Get column — retrieve the column of an active or specific cell
- Get cell address — retrieve the address of the active cell
EWS support for email package
Exchange Web Services (EWS) provides administrators the flexibility to store, retrieve, move, and modify email and related data for a single user, a group of users, or an entire Exchange Server organization on an Exchange Server.
Enterprise A2019.09 now supports EWS in the email package and provides an option (in addition to existing options: Outlook, email server) to access a mailbox configured on an Exchange Server. All email functions (e.g., forward, reply, send, read, etc.) will work seamlessly via the EWS option for the following server versions:
- Exchange Server 2007 SP1
- Exchange Server 2010
- Exchange Server 2010 SP1
- Exchange Server 2010 SP2
Linux support for the Enterprise A2019 Control Room
Linux is one of the most widely installed operating systems for web servers, according to W3Techs. The reasons for its popularity are well-known: administration cost benefits, operating system ecosystem benefits, flexibility, and more.
Enterprise A2019.09 builds on that installment base by including Linux support for the Control Room, which provides additional options for IT admins who prefer Linux as their operating system. Linux support is achieved via the CentOS 7.x-based Control Room installer.
From a functionality standpoint, the Linux-based Control Room has the same exact look and feel as the Windows-based Control Room. From a system admin perspective, the Linux Control Room installer works the same as the Windows-based installer, wherein the user accepts the license agreement, configures the IP cluster (optional), installs the certificate (self-signed/external), and provides database details, etc.
Copy Bot feature
Most of us like to use a “save as” or “save a copy” function for updating documents or spreadsheets. It saves the time of having to totally re-create an entire document by hand, for example. The Copy Bot feature works similarly, enabling a user to leverage an existing bot’s functions using the Copy Bot command (see Figure 1).
Copy Bot is easy to use and creates a true copy of the selected bot. The new bot includes all the commands from the original bot and retains all of the dependencies — including the metadata of dependent files without duplicating them. Copy Bot is especially useful when you want to reuse the structure of a complex bot or a bot with many steps.
Note: This feature is only available for bots in a private workspace.
Geo Presence expansion — Enterprise cloud
Automating processes in organizations sometimes spans geographical boundaries. Companies often have remote or branch offices in different countries with different languages, time zones, and cultures. To help facilitate automations for these circumstances, we’ve added the Geo Presence expansion feature to Enterprise A2019.
The Geo Presence feature is multitenant, secure, scalable, and cloud-native — so it dovetails perfectly with the cloud architecture of Enterprise A2019. The cloud-based Control Room securely communicates with users and Bot Runners over a customer network. And, naturally, the feature supports multiple points of presence across the globe (see Figure 2).
Updated bot agent wizard
As part of the CI/CD philosophy mentioned earlier, Enterprise A2019 is updated regularly. To make it easy to identify when a new version of the bot agent is available, Enterprise A2019 now features notifications. These notifications can be seen on the device icon in the top navigation bar (see Figure 3).
A click on the icon initiates the wizard, which takes you through the update process:
- You’ll get an upgrade option when a bot agent is already installed on the device.
- You’ll be notified when a plug-in is disabled or can’t communicate with the local agent (in the on-premises version).
Additional capabilities in if/while conditions
Enterprise A2019.09 now enables you to use if/while conditions based on comparisons of variable to variable, value to value, or variable to value for the following data types: string, number, and Boolean.
Here’s an example of how this feature could work using the value-to-value comparison: Let’s say company A merged with company B and, since they’re in similar industries, they have duplicate names in their mailing lists. The value-to-value comparison can be used to compare the two lists to create a third list, the duplicates list, which can then be used to clean up the lists — and avoid upset customers.
Support for nested expressions
In user-defined variables for advanced data types, such as record, list, dictionary, and data table, you can now express keys and index positions as variables.
When you select a variable to include in one of the above four data types in the bot, you have the flexibility to add keys and indexes as variables to create a nested expression rather than being forced to choose constants such as , , and so on for an index position, for instance.
The types of formats supported, with the ability to go up to 10 levels deep with expressions, include: