Guide to UiPath Mainframe Integration
Case Studies | How To | Mainframe RPA| by Jerry Rackley

HostBridge, in conjunction with Element Blue, has published the Guide to UiPathTM Mainframe Integration. This free resource is for UiPath users who use or plan to use RPA within an IBM Z System environment. We wrote this technical, “how-to” guide for RPA programmers, enterprise IT architects, and system administrators. The guide shares how to use RESTful HTTP services rather than default terminal sessions to enable RPA bot interaction with CICS applications. The RESTful services approach delivers significant performance and reliability improvements over default methods.

The need for this guide to UiPath mainframe integration came from customer experience. We performed an RPA assessment for a customer, discussed on this blog. The assessment showed RPA bots were using terminal emulation and screen scraping to interact with mainframe CICS applications. After creating RESTful services with the HostBridge JavaScript Engine (HB.js) in place of terminal sessions, tests were run again. The result was the reduction of time for the automation to run the transaction sequence from 58 seconds to one second. This exponential performance improvement from eliminating inefficient screen scraping is typical. Screen scraping is the default method of integration for RPA platforms. This fact led Element Blue and HostBridge see an opportunity for a joint practice to optimize mainframe automations.

Steven Gerhardt, CEO and managing partner of Element Blue, has extensive experience helping enterprises build automations. “In our experience, enterprises that implement RPA often deploy automations that interact with mainframe applications. As RPA activity to the mainframe scales, the cost and inefficiencies of screen scraping can increase exponentially. This guide will help any UiPath customer whose automation projects need to interface with mainframe applications.  HostBridge is the ideal partner for our joint mainframe RPA optimization practice; they pioneered the use of JavaScript on the mainframe to create APIs for legacy integration. The CICS integration expertise they bring to this partnership is invaluable.”

Starting Point: Mainframe RPA Assessment

The starting point for these optimization services is a mainframe RPA assessment that determines the extent and impact of RPA activity. Assessment findings help prioritize optimization efforts, which may include using the HostBridge JavaScript Engine to create RESTful services. UiPath automations can use these services to interact with mainframe applications via a simple HTTP request.

Use RESTful services instead of Terminal Sessions to include CICS applications in UiPath automations.

Element Blue provides the consulting expertise and services for implementing new UiPath automations, or optimizing existing ones. “Forming this joint practice with Element Blue brings all the services, technology, and expertise together to allow UiPath customers to quickly optimize their mainframe automations,” said Russ Teubner, CEO and co-founder of HostBridge Technology. “As one of the first five Certified UiPath Services Network partners in North America, Element Blue is uniquely equipped to help enterprises implement mainframe RPA in a performant and resilient manner. Together, we can ensure that UiPath customers receive all the benefits of RPA without imposing the screen-scraping tax on their mainframe resources.”

Using RESTful services over terminal sessions creates value for all stakeholders in the RPA ecosystem. Automations perform better and are less prone to failure due to upstream applications changes. Furthermore, IT groups experience less impact on the mainframe from RPA activity.

The Guide to UiPath Mainframe Integration is currently available as a free, downloadable eBook.

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