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par Richard Schoen - HelpSystems • 05 Nov 2018
Many enterprises have repeated processes that involve interacting with a web browser, like scraping data from a website or entering information into an online form. There are a variety of tools and scripts that can accomplish browser automation, but if your business processes involve repeated website interaction, you need a reliable, scalable, solution—business process automation (BPA) software.
The first impulse for IT professionals looking to automate website tasks is often custom scripting. This is risky. Custom scripts are error prone and there’s no support number to call if they fail. One expert leaving the company or a core Windows version or technology change can leave everyone else completely in the dark about how your website automation works.
Furthermore, for a growing business, scripting isn’t a scalable or affordable solution. Every new task requires additional time and resources to automate, and it can only be done by expensive technical experts. Better to use a platform with solid support resources and an interface that’s intuitive for systems administrators and accountants alike.
A business process automation platform gives both IT professionals and business users a simple way to automate almost any business process. So what makes BPA a better solution than other website interaction automation tools? For one thing, website interaction isn’t the only process your company should streamline. An initial investment in BPA software will also solve the other challenges you may face, like time-consuming report compilation or a high volume of file transfers, with no extra cost. And as your business grows and you add more IT processes, those can also be quickly automated with the same software.
Read on to learn about how Automate, the business process automation platform from HelpSystems, makes automating browser tasks easy.
Automating website interaction is a common Automate use case. A business needs to grab data from or enter data onto a website, and the requirements might have several steps. For example, they need to log in and download files, grab information like stock ticker symbols or other data from a screen capture, and enter it into Excel or a database. Or they need to enter an order, access a medical record, or onboard a new user. All of these interactions with a website or multiple websites can be automated with the Automate business process automation platform.
So how do you get started using Automate for automating web browser actions? The first step to automating any website interaction is to document the manual steps that the user usually takes in a step-by-step bullet list. This allows your automation experts or our automation services team to quantify the time-intensive actions that the person is currently doing. Once the user steps have been broken down on paper, the work of automating the website interaction task can begin.
As task development progresses you may want to add steps to the task to validate that you received all the correct data from the website, or that a file downloaded correctly. For example, a file might be given a unique name when it’s downloaded, and then the Automate task can run a file existence check or even scan the data in the file after it’s been downloaded to ensure the data is correct. Website interactivity tasks might include interactions with databases to insert and update records, with Excel files to enter or process data, or using any of the 600+ available task activities in Automate.