Robotic Process Automation

Robotic process automation (RPA) is a technology that mimics the way humans interact with software to perform high-volume, repeatable tasks. RPA technology creates software programs or bots that can log into applications, enter data, calculate and complete tasks, and copy data between applications or workflow as required.

Organisations are leveraging RPA to enable their staff to focus on more meaningful work. A typical business process in a large organisation may involve a number of different software systems, where information from one system needs to be entered into one or more other systems. Making changes to those systems might require significant IT budget and time, and in some cases (e.g., legacy systems) may not even be possible. Rather than have human workers copy-pasting the information between systems, RPA bots can be created for this purpose. On the other hand, changes in the user interface may cause the bot to break. RPA can be a great tactical solution, and perhaps partnered with IT small change programs for a strategic solution. See a real-life example of how RPA was used to be able to process thousands of Swiss government COVID 19 loans in just a matter of weeks, avoiding the need to recruit a sizeable human taskforce.

In this track, participants will become familiar with two different mainstream RPA solutions: Microsoft Power Automate for Desktop and Automation Anywhere. You will work through a series of practical exercises using both of these. During the office hours, participants can bring up any questions they have on topics covered in the self learn courses, or other general RPA-related questions.

Throughout this track you will be running your bots in what is known as attended mode. In this mode you can watch the bot performing the various actions on your screen. Using your mouse or keyboard whilst the bot is running may interfere with it. There are other ways to run a bot in a work setting so that it will allow you to use your machine normally. An example could be to run the bot on another machine and to monitor it via a remote desktop connection. Or alternatively to run your bot in unattended mode, where it is launched and runs automatically at a pre-configured time(s).

By the end of this track, you should have a good understanding of what RPA is, and in which situations you might be able to apply it.


For this track, you will need to install Power Automate for Desktop and Automation Anywhere Community Edition on your machine. Both of these run on Windows-only. If you are using a Mac then options could be to install Windows on a separate partition using e.g., Boot Camp, or to set up a Windows Virtual Machine using software such as for example VirtualBox.

Practitioners need a Microsoft Account to sign in to Microsoft Learn. Please share the link to your Microsoft Learn transcript with your learning facilitators at the start of Week 1 so they can see how well you are progressing and recommend additional content if you complete all the recommended content early. To share your transcript, click on your profile, select Profile, select Transcript in the left hand menu, then use the Share Link option. Ensure you are signed in to Microsoft Learn before working through the content so that your progress is recorded.


Week 1

This week you will learn about Microsoft’s Power Automate for Desktop RPA solution. With many organisations around the world using Microsoft’s software solutions, you could find yourself in a work setting where Power Automate and/or Power Automate for Desktop are your company’s default RPA solution.

Learning path Duration (HH:mm) Software required
Get started with Power Automate for desktop 01:22 Power Automate for desktop; Excel
Work with Power Automate for desktop 03:57 Power Automate for desktop; Excel; Web browser
Work with different technologies in Power Automate for desktop 04:33 Power Automate for desktop; Excel; Web browser; Contoso Invoicing; Microsoft Exchange mailbox
Implement advanced logic in Power Automate for desktop 02:20 Power Automate for desktop; Excel
Build expertise with Power Automate for desktop 02:36 Power Automate for desktop; Power Automate license (trial); Microsoft work or school account; Windows computer; Web browser (Edge); An environment with a Dataverse database
Robotic Process Automation - Online Workshop 05:22 Power Automate for desktop; Contoso Invoicing; Microsoft Power Apps Developer Plan; Microsoft 365 (Excel; Exchange mailbox; MS Teams)

Week 2

This week you will learn about Automation Anywhere’s RPA solution, using the free Community Edition to build your own bots. Automation Anywhere along with Blue Prism and UiPath are alternative RPA vendors used by many organisations around the world.

Self learn: Automation Anywhere Bot Developer (Automation 360) Learning Path

Self learn: Business Analyst (Automation 360)

Note that whilst you can watch all of the video content, certain features being shown in the videos are only available in the Enterprise Edition e.g., AARI. Where the features being shown are available in the free Community Edition that you will install on your machine, you should try them out for yourself (pausing the video as necessary whilst you do so). Although there are only 13 hours of videos in total, you will easily spend 20+ hours if you try the exercises on your machine, and you will learn much more this way.

Week 3

Project: Complete the following task first using Power Automate for Desktop, then using Automation Anywhere Community Edition. This will allow you to compare and contrast the two solutions whilst automating a realistic worklike task.

Brief: CashRich Holdings AG decided to use spare cash to invest in some equities as well as crypto. As their resident RPA developer, they have tasked you with writing a bot that will provide them, whenever they request it, an email that tells them the current value of their portfolio in CHF as well as their % profit/loss, with an attached Excel spreadsheet showing the breakdown per asset (current value and % profit/loss). You will send the email to yourself for testing that your bot works as expected.

The portfolio consists of:

Asset Number of shares/tokens Cost price per unit (CHF)
PTON 1000 43
UBS 500 13.4
BTC 50 33000
ETH 210 3121

You should find the current price of PTON and UBS shares using the Nasdaq website, and then covert the USD amount into CHF amount using the latest currency conversion rates on the X-Rates website. You should find the current value in CHF of the above crypto holdings in BTC and ETH using the Coinbase website. The value of the portfolio is the sum of the values of the individual assets.

Think about sensible names for the Excel file and for the column headers, and implement appropriate error handling. As well as appropriate text for the email body to give the required information.

Additional projects(optional): Work through the following Power Automate for Desktop projects to complete this week’s learning

Week 4

The week 4 of the Data Track is in general shorter and left free for the final presentation and any catch up that may be required.