Updated: Aug 13, 2020
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After a hectic few days, you have completed the process development and post that the solution is released for testing and finally your process has signed off and given a GO for production deployment. Now you are planning for production deployment, if you think this is the ideal stage for creating a GO live checklist then probably you are wrong in RPA world. Based on my acquaintance with RPA deployment I believe RPA checklist should be prepared right down from the development. This is because comparing with the other conventional application deployments RPA process deployment significantly depends on the target environment. Any minor change in the deployment environment will cause major surprises during the first process run. In this article, I would like to share few of the points where we might need to keep an eye prior the process deployment.
1. Make a note of the operating system of the Development/Testing/Deployment Environments. Each operating system of Windows has its own specific features. Based on, one of my experience, the OS of development environment was desktop and the production environment was server. So few of the features that worked in desktop didn't worked well in the server due the presence of additional security layer. Always servers runs on top end security so it restricts most of the activities. For example, any scripts in your process which runs well in desktop might get blocked in servers. IE will run in enhanced security unless its turned off.
2. Check if scripting works, some of the Jscripts, MACROS, Active X will get blocked in servers, Because of this few of the web applications will not work as expected in the production environment. So note down if the application uses any scripts and makes sure those are enabled in the IE/Chrome settings before the deployment. if your process runs well in desktop OS it doesn't guarantee that it would produce a similar result in server unless the settings are mutual.
3. Have an eye on screen elements selector, considering an automation in a web application, the selectors of Development version might be different than the production version. So if you use any static selectors then it might cause a problem in the production version. Always its advisable to note down the web application version of all environments prior your development to make sure the element IDs/Tags/Names are same. Post deployment of the process if you get a chance to validate your screen element in the production version then you should do it for sure to have a smooth first run.
4. Update the date format/time format, in most of the process we might use date functions such as Date difference, Add date, Subtract date or some custom functions and etc. As a developer we would have designed those functions in a developer machine very likely we forget to check the format of the production machine which will yield wrong results. So either develop the solution based on production date format or modify the format during the deployment
5. Get the relevant access, often in production environment there wont be any ready made access. If you have a file move or delete function, make sure you get access of all those source and target folders. Also prior to the deployment, get all the application access and see of you were able to navigate to all the pages of the system and have read/write access as like the development version. Your production credential access should be the mirror of the development version.
6. Finally checklist, considering all the above points prepare an early checklist along with the other process specific parameters such as required Files, Folders structures, DB configuration tables, required scripts and etc.
Hope the above points helps to successfully deploy your RPA process to your production environment.