To learn more about Blockchain and RPA, please check out episode 6 of our Generation Digital Workforce podcast.
The simplest definition of blockchain is as a distributed ledger service. Made famous as the underlying platform for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, blockchain can also provide the foundation for smart contract solutions for, but not limited to; supply chain management, insurance contracts, IoT device registration and discovery. Every transaction that takes place within a blockchain service for entities that are registered to conduct transactions on the service. So, what's the relationship between blockchain and Connected-RPA? There are several challenges to overcome to implement and use blockchain; platform performance, deployment, entity registration, platform administration interaction with "Off-chain" external applications and services, and orchestration for off-chain transactions. Digital Workers can address each of these challenges.
Deployment of blockchain consistently and on demand by service subscribers can be difficult to administer. The workflow, along with credentials, configuration information and application dependencies, can be packaged in an encrypted file and deployed so that digital workers can execute that workflow in any environment where they permitted to run. Once the instance of the blockchain service is created the workflow which created it can be retired so that the credentials used to create it are not available for exploitation. Discreet administrative functions can be defined and carried out by separate workflows with different credentials with other digital workers, enforcing full segregation of duties.
Digital Workers can be trained to carry out tasks based on the transaction recorded in blockchain. For example, when there is a change in ownership of an asset digital workers can be trained to immediately carry out the business processes necessary to instantiate that change; sending notifications to interested parties, composing and distributing collateral documentation and generating reports required by corporate risk compliance and industry regulators. Digital Workers can share a work queue, so as the performance and scale of blockchain transactions increase, Digital resources can be added to fulfill business processes according to Service Level Agreements. In addition, any process that a Digital Worker carries out is secure, resilient, scalable, free from human error and is captured in an immutable log for reporting and analysis.
Blockchain is a distributed ledger, with no one participant owning its administration. Digital Workers can be trained to deploy instances and onboard entities for any participating organization. All administrative processes Digital Workers perform are transparent for IT and Corporate Risk oversight and audit. A related value proposition is to employ digital workers as verified entities which can perform specific transactions in the blockchain service, on behalf of other entities. This would reduce the risk surface area of the blockchain service while extending controlled functions to third parties that are not direct participants in the blockchain. An example of this scenario would be where a digital worker is the method for executing select Off-chain transactions. Ideally, your RPA platform will provide immutable logs of all tasks performed or attempted by each digital worker.
In summary, a connected-RPA Platform is unique in how it can securely perform function based on transactions processed in a blockchain. Digital Workers can provide a secure interface to external services, such as an off-chain transaction database. Digital workers can mitigate the need for creating third party accounts to a blockchain service, while offering a method for interaction with third party entities and services. Connected-RPA is not a requisite to implement and operate blockchain, but it can provide more scalable, reliable, secure use cases around it.