The Concept

 

AutoMate BPA Server is a unique platform that incorporates all phases of the automation life-cycle; including development, deployment, management and execution. You construct tasks, which are a series of steps that essentially perform the work on a particular system. You construct workflows to enable tasks to run in sequence across multiple clients. A key design principal is to obtain simplicity while maintaining power. This is revealed through the implementation of intuitive user interfaces designed to make it easier for users to find and use the full range of features while reducing the appearance of complexity for users so they can reduce the time and energy accomplishing their work.

Components

In a client server environment, AutoMate BPA Server logically separates high-level workflow design from the complexity of building detailed automation tasks and provides automated execution and centralized control over processes involving one machine or the entire enterprise. In order to perform such duties, AutoMate BPA Server is equipped with the following components.

Server

The server component of AutoMate BPA Server is the nerve center and repository of all information necessary for the management and control of automation. The server runs as a service and stores objects in XML format within an internal database, or optionally, in a connected database server such as Microsoft SQL Server. Server objects include workflows that contain reusable objects also stored in the repository. These objects include tasks (which are detailed instructions for automation processing), conditions (which enable workflow initiation and decision-making), and flow controls (which relate workflow objects and enable conditional branching) Agent. The Server Management Console is the interface used to manage all server related operations.

Agent

To enable multiple-machine automation, the server component connects with execution agents via TCP/IP. Agents can detect system, application and network events and conditions that can trigger workflows. Agents also can interpret AutoMate’s AML (AutoMate Markup Language) and execute detailed AutoMate tasks comprised of more than 300 different actions and activities.

Development and Management Client

The Development and Management Client component of AutoMate BPA Server provides all the tools for designing, developing, managing, and administering the server and execution agent components. The Development and Management Client consists of three graphical applications:

  1. Server Management Console (SMC) - The SMC provides the interface for centralized management and administration and allows you to graphically manage all elements of the AutoMate BPA Server including workflows, the Repository, users, and agents.

  2. WorkFlow Designer (WFD) - The WFD is the actual canvas for designing and creating automated business processes. It allows you to design, store, and organize workflows, which consists of tasks, events, conditions and flow control arrows.

  1. Task Builder - The Task Builder is used to visually assemble AutoMate actions into sequential task steps to be carried out, whether the task is triggered or run manually. This component is also highly graphical, and so is loaded only when designing tasks. Additionally, the Task Builder is fully equipped with a wide variety of debugging tools to easily examine and troubleshoot problem tasks, eventually ensuring maximum reliability when the task is put into production.

Architecture

Workflows

A workflow is a series of objects such as events, tasks and conditions that bind to flow control arrows in the order in which they must be performed. It may or may not contain a triggering condition which can trigger execution based on the occurrence of a particular condition. Workflows serve two very important functions. First, they visually represent business processes and information flows, which means that non-technical managers and IT professionals can jointly see, understand,  and even design their processes. Second, they contain all substantial information – the events and schedules that trigger automation, the tasks and machines that execute automation, and the conditions which control automation flow necessary for their operation and management.

Tasks

A task is composed of a series of steps based on actions/activities. Tasks can be designed to automate any of a very wide spectrum of business processes. An unlimited number of tasks may be created and organized on a single AutoMate BPA Server installation. A task can also include one or more events that causes it to run automatically.  

Actions

Actions and activities are the basic building blocks used to build the steps to be carried out when a task executes. Most actions contain sub-actions or activities and are categorized in a hierarchical format. AutoMate BPA Server has over 500 actions and activities from which to build tasks. These elements are assembled visually (without the use of code) via drag-and-drop in the Task Builder interface.

Events/Conditions

Events and conditions cause a workflow to start automatically upon the occurrence of an event or when a condition is met. For example, in the Schedule event, once a date, time or interval occurs, workflow execution starts. Conditions can also be used in the middle of a workflow as a wait or conditional object. For example, a workflow can pause execution at a specific point until a specific condition is met. It can also determine which path a workflow should take depending on whether a specific condition has occurred.