Param Kahlon is chief product officer at UiPath.
In October last year (at FORWARD III), we unveiled our vision for a true end-to-end platform delivering across all phases of the automation lifecycle.
We delivered the 2019 Long Term Support (LTS) release as the first milestone toward that vision with solutions underpinning each area.
Later that same month, Gartner coined the term hyperautomation to describe how the combination of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), process mining, decision management, and more can be used together in an end-to-end automation solution. It aligns with how we see the future of automation and the end-to-end vision we had been working toward. Hyperautomation was the number one trend on Gartner’s list of Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 20201.
The UiPath 2020 Fast Track release (20.4 for short) we are announcing today is built for hyperautomation and adds exciting new capabilities across every stage of the automation lifecycle. There are literally hundreds of new features and I’ll walk through the automation lifecycle to share some of the most critical ones with you in this blog. You can always dig into further details on everything else in our support documents.
There are also multiple other blogs today that will take you deeper into the details of this release so look out for the links as you read through this article.
All right, fasten your seatbelts and let’s jump in…
Let’s start with UiPath Automation Hub. We think of this as the ‘operating system’ for the Center of Excellence (CoE) to effectively manage the automation lifecycle with instant visibility, transparency, and control. UiPath Automation Hub now offers branding options, new dashboards, and saved views. This means your team can truly make Automation Hub your own.
We’re also pleased to announce that Automation Hub is Veracode and ISO27001-certified.
Finally, 20.4 introduces a new way to speed up your automation development through a UiPath Task Capture and Automation Hub integration. Now, you can launch Task Capture directly from Automation Hub when you want a quick way to create a process definition document (PDD) and send it from Task Capture to Automation Hub.
UiPath Process Mining (formerly ProcessGold) turns data from your line of business applications into intuitive visualizations, giving you data-driven insights to continuously optimize interactions between software robots, people, and systems and accelerate automation.
Process Mining joined the product family in October 2019 through an acquisition. Since then, we have been hard at work on integrating it deeply into the UiPath Platform, aligning our product development, and delivering new capabilities.
The 20.4 release includes an improved Process Compare dashboard that now includes comparisons over two periods. This makes it possible to compare changes in a process over time, for instance, to see the impact that implementing a new automation might have had. Process Mining has also been updated with UiPath branding including logos and colors.
We have also improved localization and added out-of-the-box language support for Japanese. Developers can now add new translations for other languages as desired.
UiPath Task Mining is a completely new product in the Discover phase in 20.4. Task Mining leverages a low-touch way to discover employee workflows by setting up centralized process capture from the admin portal and securely capturing real employee data with no interruption to their activities. The turnkey solution uses AI to get scientific process maps, a true pulse on repetitive tasks, and provides machine learning (ML)-discovered automation suggestions. Task Mining captures only whitelisted applications and anonymizes and aggregates individual data. Data upload and transfer is encrypted and secured. Get the benefits of full integration with the entire end-to-end UiPath Enterprise RPA Platform with one-click exports into UiPath Studio and complete impact assessment after deployment with UiPath Insights.
There is a lot of excitement around this product among the early customers that have been testing it as part of our Insider Preview program. Here’s what early tester had to say:
"There’s huge excitement to roll out UiPath Task Mining from our business analysts and product owners, who have poured countless hours into identifying automation opportunities with a very manual and time-consuming process of in-person interviews, shadowing, and process mapping. We’re looking to utilize Task Mining to completely revolutionize our discovery processes, allowing us to find automation opportunities we didn’t know existed as well as give us a more holistic and non-biased view of common tasks performed by entire teams that will significantly benefit from automation."
- Automation Portfolio Director at a Fortune 5 company
UiPath Studio has always been about empowering the developer and delivering the best environment to build automations. This release is a special one for Studio. It is evolving from a single offering to a family of products. UiPath Studio now offers a dedicated experience based on the user's level of expertise. We like to say that there is an edition of Studio for everyone.
There are a ton of new features across the family from a new UI Automation approach to robust governance. I talked about these, along with the Studio family approach, in detail a few weeks back.
I do want to reiterate UiPath Studio Pro as the new home for our highest-end developer capabilities. In the initial release, we have started with testing capabilities, comprised of Application Testing and RPA Testing, including Mobile Automation to cover all the testing needs within your company. Studio Pro is also a key component of a larger UiPath Test Suite that lets you design and map test cases and their execution results to requirements (e.g. epics, user stories) and defects in Jira to deeply integrate testing. This is a major new area for the platform and one that will enable you to deliver a higher quality automation program.
Another new product in the 20.4 release is UiPath Document Understanding which combines RPA and AI to help you extract and interpret data from different documents and ensure end-to-end document processing. UiPath Document Understanding works with a wide range of documents including:
- Structured forms like passports or timesheets
- Semi-structured documents like invoices, receipts, and purchase orders
- Unstructured documents like emails or contracts
It is also able to recognize different objects like tables, handwriting, signatures, and checkboxes in addition to being able to deal with various file formats.
Available directly from UiPath Studio, Document Understanding provides drag-and-drop elements designed for intelligent document processing. Leveraging a combination of approaches including templates and ML models, you can automate complex document-intensive processes. This ensures the most rapid and accurate results even if the location of data fields changes or documents are scanned at an angle. Integrated in the UiPath Platform, Document Understanding can work with any tasks involving documents, thus saving a lot of time and money spent on manual document processing.
In version 19.10, we introduced zero-touch provisioning for attended robots and processes to UiPath Orchestrator. In this release, we further increase UiPath Orchestrator scalability by adding zero-touch provisioning for unattended robots and processes, so you can now manage your entire robot and process infrastructure from within modern folders—optionally with active directory (AD) integration. This simplifies enterprise-scale deployment and removes the need to manage software robots in two different ways. In 20.4, you can:
- 1. Create a user with an unattended robot
- 2. Create a machine template
- 3. Associate those to a folder
- 4. Execute them on any machine
We’ve also introduced a new option unique to unattended robots where you can choose to run multiple jobs in a single Microsoft Windows session (using different user credentials)—a new, easy way to scale the return on your hardware investments.
You’ll also find some other great new UiPath Orchestrator features that have been requested:
- Job Prioritization
- Storage Buckets that developers can use to store binary large objects (BLOBs) at a folder level
- New compare capabilities in the Package Explorer that show the changes between versions of a package
Finally, we’ve added support in Orchestrator for personal folders, which enable Studio and StudioX users to publish their automation packages to themselves, have a process automatically created, and have the process appear in their own robot tray (broader library and deployment permissions are still respected for any publication or distribution beyond the user themselves). In addition to the plumbing to make this work, the Orchestrator user interface (UI) adds the ability to turn personal folders on overall and choose whether to automatically provision a personal folder to a user.
Back in January, we released the first version of UiPath AI Fabric, which allows you to apply AI to your RPA workflows in minutes. In this release, AI Fabric has been enhanced to include Model Retraining that allows exceptions and corrections to make the models better over time. This means the more you use AI Fabric the harder it can work for you and your robots will learn from their mistakes and become better at their job over time2.
We are also delivering several pre-trained Starter Models for common use cases. These allow you to easily get started with UiPath AI Fabric and automate more from day one. For example, our Language Identification model allows customer service teams to automate routing of tickets to specific departments. Our Sentiment Analysis model allows customer service teams to prioritize tickets that need urgent attention based on customer feedback.
This release includes the first delivery of AI Fabric on-premises. It initially supports UiPath first-party models such as those used by UiPath Document Understanding. It will be enhanced over the months ahead to achieve parity with AI Fabric in the UiPath Automation Cloud. This will include support for capabilities such as custom model deployment, single click scalability, and high availability deployments options.
While the automation industry began with unattended scenarios running in the back office, we have always believed in also empowering all employees with the power of attended automation and their very own software robots. This is a big focus of this release and worthy of its own detailed web page:
We have also focused on expanding our native integrations to enable easier and more efficient automation across the applications you use every day. Today, UiPath offers more than 100 integrations with third-party technologies, built directly by UiPath or our community of over 300 technology partners. We continue to invest in our robust native integrations, which are built and supported by UiPath in close collaboration with technology providers.
This release, we have added new native integrations with ServiceNow, NetSuite, Oracle, Workday, and Box. We’ve also integrated with additional Amazon Web Services (AWS) offerings, such as Amazon Textract, as well as additional Microsoft services, such as Microsoft Form Recognizer and Microsoft Dynamics.
The Engage phase of the automation lifecycle is all about software robots and people collaborating smoothly to get work done together.
Sometimes a robot works alongside you helping you get you work done. We call that attended automation and we are enhancing our robots with a new and improved attended experience called the UiPath Assistant.
The modern and easy-to-use interface makes it easier to set preferred processes, install, run, and pause, or even set reminders for when a process needs to start.
Sometimes a robot works in the back-office processing (we call this unattended automation). Occasionally, that robot needs help. A person may need to validate or approve its work, or to answer a question the robot has not seen before. That’s where UiPath Action Center comes. UiPath Action Center provides a place for unattended robots to get help when they need it. A place for people to engage in unattended processes when they are needed. A place that keeps the work flowing.
In this release, we have built a completely new experience for the Action Center that will come to our Cloud users first. It looks like this:
We also added important new capabilities to UiPath Action Center including support for easy integration with business process management (BPM) systems.
Back in January, we released the first version of UiPath Insights delivering powerful, embedded analytics that measure, report, and align RPA operations with strategic business outcomes.
Here’s what one partner on a recent deployment had to say:
"We piloted UiPath Insights for a key financial services customer which was struggling to define and develop reporting tools required to gauge the business outcome and progress. UiPath Insights offered our customer the capability to slice and dice the data and generate KPIs with actionable metrics. The out-of-box dashboards surface execution metrics to increase ROI which was necessary at the start. The notification mechanism to trigger alerts with defined threshold enabled follow up actions, a feature that reduced the burden and time savings on automation controller which requires monitoring of jobs and take actions on robot errors."
- Gunjan Sharma, Intelligent Automation Lead, Slalom
In this release, we have enabled the ability to track and measure all robot types including their accuracy, availability, and capacity. Users can now gain seamless visibility into business outcomes with custom-defined metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs). There’s also simpler support for organizational-wide decision making with shareable dashboards, forecasting, ML-based anomaly detection embedded directly within UiPath Orchestrator.
Additionally, Insights’ growing out-of-the-box dashboard library now includes Processes, Queues, Robots, Licensing, and Business ROI, extensible to include Long Running Workflows through the UiPath Marketplace.
As you can see, the UiPath Enterprise RPA Platform offers a tremendous set of new capabilities and is truly built for hyperautomation.
We are excited to deliver this innovation to you and thankful for your input as we built it. We are thrilled that you have chosen us as your automation partner. We are humbled to help you move your organizations and people forward in times of rapid change.
Thanks for reading.
2 Will be available in UiPath Automation Cloud 6/1
Chief Product Officer (CPO), UiPath