What is the Impact on RPA (Robotic Process Automation) as it Moves to the Cloud?
Technology is quickly moving to the cloud as are the applications that we use every day. RPA designers and architects need to ask, “how can we use robotic process automation (RPA) to interact with these cloud-based applications?”
I spoke with a client that began moving their spreadsheet work to the cloud to take advantage of Google Sheets. As I listened, they asked about how RPA can work with a cloud application such as Google Sheets.
I went back to the MagicLamp RPA lab and started to figure out a POT (Proof of Technology) solution to answer this question. I knew that typical RPA web interaction techniques would not work, as web applications are more complex from a user interface perspective than your typical HTM components.
After some trial and error, I produced a solution that works quite well. The concept is to treat your Google Sheet as if it were a Database.
Here are the steps that I took to use RPA with Google Sheets:
- Download a trial version of the ODBC Driver for Google Sheets by CData Software. This tool creates an ODBC Driver providing connectivity to your Google Sheet environment.
- Next, use that ODBC Driver in your IBM RPA Robot by using the ODBC Connection command.
- Once connected, you can then use the Run SQL Command or the Run SQL Reader command to retrieve your data from the Google Sheet.
- If you need to perform any Insert, Update or Delete tasks use the Run SQL Command to accomplish those efforts.
The only downside to this approach that I ran into during my testing was that the ODBC Driver will continue to read from the Google Sheet until it encounters a blank line. Other than that, this approach worked great.
This is one example of using RPA with a cloud application. The opportunities are endless, and we are in the initial stages of utilizing RPA in the Cloud. If you have questions as to how RPA can work for your environment, we would love to talk with you.