User Provisioning Process Automation for a Nationally-Recognized Real Estate Leader
User Provisioning Automation Through RPA
Our client, a nationally recognized real estate leader, owns, manages, acquires, develops and redevelops strategically located neighborhood and community shopping centers.
Our client’s national footprint encompasses major metropolitan areas in the United States, allowing them to effectively manage assets through regionally-located offices. With a focus on “real estate for everyday retail”, they stay at the forefront of changing demographics to offer communities optimal products and services.
INDUSTRY: Real Estate
Within our client’s IT department, the amount of time it takes to provision new hires (while varying slightly by location) takes about an hour with multiple parties working in tandem to push certain permissions immediately. For one user provisioning from end-to-end however, this process could easily take 3-5 days.
Smartbridge was assigned to automate the provisioning of new hires for the entire company. The end-goal driving the objective was to learn new and innovative ways to incorporate all applications required to complete the provisioning of new hires. While this would not be a major time saver for our client in the grand scheme of things, they ultimately wanted to further understand the capabilities of UiPath robotic process automation (RPA), and how to automate end-to-end processes that involved numerous applications.
Challenges and Limitations
While UiPath is a powerful automation tool, some tasks involved were specific to our client’s unique needs, and therefore didn’t require some of the platform’s common features. In addition to this hurdle, there were many challenges and limitations that we encountered throughout the life of this project:
Email Scripts: We encountered situations where the format of email did not display properly using basic HTML scripting. The scripting for the email templates were pretty straightforward, but the modification and testing to make them display correctly was time consuming.
Locating Azure Licenses: Though this was a minor obstacle, it was a milestone for our team nonetheless. Because information was not given before development, our team had to research, test and troubleshoot to find the proper license IDs to use.
JD Edwards Single Sign On: The problem here was a very specific permissions requirement needed in order for this process to work. Due to this permission requirement being so specific, it was hard to pin down and took a few days before we could get the script to work as it should upon execution.
Exchange Mailbox Creation Activity: The activity does what is says and creates a mailbox within Exchange. However, for this process, the location of the mailbox was needed in two places, which unfortunately we were unable to implement. This is the reason why we ultimately chose Microsoft PowerShell to accomplish the mailbox creation task. Before settling on the PowerShell method however, we explored creating mailboxes using the UiPath ‘Exchange Server’ activity.
The Smartbridge Solution and Methodology
Effective communication with all parties involved was crucial to produce an efficient automation. Through consistent communication with our client, we were able to guide them through every step of the process, as well as every milestone of the implementation. Here were the tools used to drive the user provisioning process implementation and their purpose:
Active Directory: Used to duplicate user checks, update properties and force password resets
JD Edwards EnterpriseOne Orchestrator: Used for Orchestration development and APIs
PowerShell: For both mailbox account creation and Active Directory account creation
UiPath: For the RPA-driven development and process manager
Hubble: For assigning specific user roles
Azure Active Directory: For assigning and removing licenses
Google Chrome: Browser used for scanning and TAP
Command Prompt: For assigning user rights and JD Edwards SSO execution
Microsoft Excel: Used for configuring each file, input form, scanner form, output form and error log
Since UiPath was the RPA tool used to automate the user provisioning process from end-to-end, we had to be selective about the packages and versions implemented in the process. Here are the specific UiPath packages our team used, and the purpose they served:
UiPath.UIAutomation: To simulate human interaction, such as performing mouse and keyboard commands or typing and extracting text.
UiPath.Web: Used to perform SOAP or HTTP requests to any web APIs
UiPath.Excel: Used to manipulate excel spreadsheets
UiPath.ActiveDirectoryDomainServices: Used to access the Active Directory properties
UiPath.AzureActiveDirectory: Used to access Azure Active Directory properties via API
UiPath System: Used to manipulate data tables by adding or extracting information
UiPath.Mail: For sending emails in the process
Success Through an Automated Provisioning Process
By automating the end-to-end user provisioning process, our client was able to experience the scaled capabilities of RPA, and how it can interact with other applications to streamline even the most dynamic processes.
While the bot we designed was originally purposed to process only 10 or so users per year, our client processed nearly that many within the first month after implementation. Today, our client is experiencing a redesigned and expedited user provisioning process through RPA, that includes new hire onboarding requests, and saves their departments hours of mundane work.
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