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Blog | Jul 25, 2023

What to Look for in Desktop Automation Tools

What to Look for in Desktop Automation Tools
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Embrace Efficiency and Boost Productivity with Desktop Automation Tools

Desktop automation is the catalyst for businesses striving for streamlined operations. By automating repetitive and time-consuming mundane tasks, organizations can boost productivity, reduce errors and achieve higher levels of efficiency. However, it’s critical these organizations implement desktop automation responsibly by prioritizing security, governance and compliance. In this blog, we’ll explore the concept of responsible desktop automation and its benefits to help you achieve a gold-standard automation program. We’ll also discuss practical use cases and how businesses can implement desktop automation responsibly.

What is Desktop Automation?

Desktop automation runs on employee desktop applications, empowering users by automating routine desktop tasks. It allows digital workers to support employees, increasing their productivity and alleviating errors by automating repetitive functions. This allows employees to refocus their efforts on higher-value tasks. SS&C | Blue Prism® Desktop is our comprehensive solution that delivers the enterprise-level application functionality for better controls, security, scalability and auditability required to automate the repetitive tasks that must run on employee desktop apps.

Try out the Desktop demo trial.

What is a desktop automation tool?

A desktop automation tool is an automation software that works on business processes and enables users to automate repetitive tasks and processes on their computer’s desktop environment without any coding for those less advanced users. Desktop automation tools are designed with custom controls to streamline workflows and reduce the need for manual intervention through task automation. These tools typically record and replay actions done from a user perspective to create scripts and schedule tasks to run at certain times or in response to specific triggers. 

What tools can be used to automate desktop applications?

A tech stack is the set of technologies used to develop an application and includes frameworks, front and back-end tools, APIs and databases. There are many popular tools for desktops and types of applications out there, and depending on your business needs, you may use some or most of these. 

  1. Attended automation involves a human somewhere in the process
  2. Unattended automation allows your RPA bots to act without requiring human intervention. 
  • Machine learning (ML) is an application of artificial intelligence (AI) that enables a computer, system or technology to learn and improve its performance by continuously incorporating new data and advanced features into an existing statistical model or developing new behaviors based on experience.
  • Intelligent automation (IA) is an automation platform that uses RPA and AI combined to deploy intelligent digital workers. Computer vision uses algorithms and machine learning principles for image recognition. 
  • Natural language processing (NLP) processes human verbal and written language, often used in chatbots and virtual agents to engage in conversation and answer queries. 
  • Intelligent document processing (IDP) converts unstructured or semi-structured data into structured, usable information using AI. 
  • Optical character recognition (OCR) enables written or typed data to be turned into digital text.

What to look for in a desktop automation tool

What capabilities should you look for in a desktop automation tool? You may want to determine a robotic operating model or framework to strategically plan how and where you want to automate.

Determine what priorities align with your business outcomes and find the desktop automation tool that will accomplish those goals, including your security and accessibility requirements. Ensure your desktop operating systems can support the tools and monitor and optimize your automation as it runs to ensure it continues to perform. Also, look for tools that require little or no coding skills for easier user accessibility. Most tools for desktop application automation will allow you to try out a trial version to ensure it suits your business needs.

As an example, you may not have the infrastructure on-premises to support your goals. That’s where cloud automation or a virtual machine, such as the Windows VM, where the software-defined computers exist as code, may be necessary.

Benefits of Desktop Automation

Strategic desktop automation brings numerous benefits to businesses, with quick implementation time and its capability to run on complex enterprise environments. Other desktop automation benefits include:

Enhanced security

Using individual users’ credentials and a centralized management tool, responsible desktop automation ensures that sensitive information and actions are protected. It minimizes the risk of unauthorized access and data breaches, providing a secure environment for automation.

Full governance and compliance

Responsible desktop automation allows for centralized development, ensuring consistent design, build, governance methodologies and validation of automated business processes. This centralized approach gives organizations better visibility and control over their automation initiatives, ensuring compliance with internal policies and external regulations.


Desktop automation provides comprehensive logging and auditing capabilities for regulated industries requiring official documentation of processes. All interactions and activities performed by digital workers and the desktop bots are centrally logged, allowing for detailed tracking and auditing. This audit trail ensures transparency and accountability, enabling organizations to meet regulatory requirements and address compliance-related concerns.

Data loss prevention

By centralizing automation processes, responsible desktop automation mitigates the risk of data loss or inconsistencies when automations run on individual desktops. All interactions and changes are logged, providing traceability and accountability for each session.

Scalability with Confidence

Desktop automation can easily scale to handle high volumes of repetitive tasks, ensuring consistent performance even with increasing workloads. From financial processes and report generation to HR and customer service, desktop automation offers numerous use cases that can enhance productivity, reduce errors and improve service quality.

By leveraging a single user’s credentials, centralized automation development and comprehensive logging and auditing mechanisms, businesses can ensure that sensitive information and actions are protected.

Desktop automation can be applied to a wide range of tasks and industries, including:

  • Data entry and workflow processing
  • Report generation and analysis
  • File and document management
  • Customer relationship management (CRM)
  • Email management and response handling
  • Financial and accounting processes
  • Inventory management and order processing
  • Human resources and employee onboarding
  • Compliance and auditing procedures

Desktop Automation Use Cases

A desktop automation solution with centralized controls and auditability empowers organizations to achieve mission success. Developing a desktop automation workflow in your organization has many uses. Below are specific examples of use cases.

So, you’re probably wondering: How do I automate my desktop applications?

Finance and accounting

Automating financial processes like invoice processing, expense management and accounts reconciliation can significantly improve accuracy and efficiency, ensuring compliance with financial regulations.

Data validation and cleansing

Desktop automation can perform checks on data integrity, verify data against predefined rules and identify and correct errors or inconsistencies. By automating these tasks, businesses can ensure data accuracy, improve data quality and minimize the risk of errors caused by manual data validation.

Compliance and regulation

Desktop automation can also streamline compliance-related tasks, such as generating regulatory reports and performing audit data validation, reducing non-compliance risk and saving time and effort spent on manual tasks such as report generation and data validation.

Connecting systems

By integrating disparate systems like CRM, ERP and billing software, businesses can enhance overall process efficiency, improve data accuracy and reduce duplication of effort.

Human resources

Desktop automation simplifies HR processes like employee onboarding, payroll automation and leave tracking, ensuring data privacy and security.

Customer service and support

Desktop automation can retrieve customer information from databases, generate personalized responses to customer inquiries, automate ticket routing and assignment, and perform automated follow-ups. This enables faster response times, improves customer satisfaction and allows support teams to focus on complex issues.

Desktop automation enables employees to actively participate in the automation process, providing input values and feedback as needed. By combining the capabilities of humans and digital workers, organizations can achieve greater efficiency, accuracy and flexibility in their operations.

Automation enables real-time collaboration between humans and digital workers, improving customer satisfaction and allowing support teams to focus on complex issues.

How Desktop Automation Works

Desktop automation tools use digital workers to automate tasks performed on a computer desktop.

Here is a general overview of how desktop automation works:

  1. User interface (UI) interaction: the software interacts with applications and systems through the UI elements to mimic the steps a human would take, including clicking buttons, entering data, selecting options from toggle menus, selecting edit buttons and navigating through screens. A graphical user interface (GUI) is a type of interface that allows users to interact with software through graphical elements such as icons, buttons, windows and menus, rather than through text-based commands. GUIs are designed to make computer interactions more intuitive and user-friendly, as they visually represent the available options and actions.
  2. Using software such as SS&C Blue Prism Capture has built-in features for task recording, Desktop processes can be designed to mimic how a user performs a task manually, including mouse and keyboard clicks and keystrokes, so the digital workers perform those tasks.
  3. Task execution: with the automation designed, the digital worker executes the task, interacting with target applications, retrieving data and so on.
  4. Data integration and manipulation: digital workers have continuous integration, where they can extract data from various sources and process it according to its defined rules.
  5. Exception handling: while executing tasks, digital workers may uncover exceptions or errors. They can be programmed to take appropriate actions, such as retrying the task or notifying a human-in-the-loop (HITL).
  6. Monitoring and reporting: most desktop automation software provides monitoring and reporting capabilities to track the progress of automated execution in action, monitor performance metrics and generate reports on completed tasks or exceptions – which can help with identifying bottlenecks.

Secure and Effective Desktop Automation

By implementing desktop automation responsibly, businesses can achieve higher productivity and quality assurance while maintaining security and governance.

As technology continues to evolve, embracing desktop automation will become increasingly crucial for staying competitive in the modern business landscape. So, why not seize the opportunity to automate and unlock your true potential?

See the SS&C | Blue Prism® Desktop automation trial demo to find out more.

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