O'Reilly logo
live online training icon Live Online training

Robotic Process Automation: The Promise, the Patterns, and the Pitfalls

Best practices for bringing RPA into your organization

Michael Ogrinz
John Checco

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Robotic Desktop Automation (RDA) are hot topics in IT right now. The latest stage in the evolution of Business Process Automation, RPA tools provide the ability to create “artificial workers” to handle repetitive or mundane tasks, which can in turn lead to dramatic cost savings. Other potential benefits include:

  • Easy-of-use, allowing normally non-technical end-users to create their own automations.
  • Allowing developers to “crack-open” previously closed environments and impose their own custom APIs.
  • Machine Learning capabilities that allow tools to go beyond simply user mimicry.

However, there are also drawbacks and “gotchas”. “Fragile” automations can lead to production failures. Unmonitored usage can have undesirable, out-of-control side effects. And lack of oversight and control can create brittle interdependencies that stifle innovation and create governance challenges.

What you'll learn-and how you can apply it

  • “How we got here”: A brief history of the evolution of the space.
  • Common patterns and scenarios where RPA is most useful.
  • Challenges and Guidelines for RPA/RDA Governance
  • The RPA “Anti-patterns”
  • An overview of two (or 3, time-permitting) leading RPA products to highlight the differences in functionality, usability, and infrastructure requirements

This training course is for you because...

  • Your organization is interested in adopting RPA tools, and you want to separate the hype from the facts.
  • You want to understand the various ways RPA technology can be applied to save time and money.
  • You are already using RPA products internally, and need to make sure they are effectively governed to avoid negative consequences.
  • You want to hear seasoned RPA practitioners give practical answers to pointed questions.


This course will assume some basic familiarity with software development practices, including the concepts of testing, reliability, and scalability.

Recommended Follow-up

About your instructor

  • Michael Ogrinz leads a Research and Innovation team at one of the world’s largest financial institutions. He first became involved with RPA technology in 2008, and went on to author “Mashup Patterns” - the groundbreaking book on the topic - for Addison Wesley in 2009. He has written and presented numerous talks on the topic. In his personal life, Michael builds robots (the “other” kind), restores classic pinball and arcade machines, and is a competitive inventor (and winner of Season 2 of the Qualcomm Invent-off series)

  • John C. Checco is President Emeritus for the New York Metro InfraGard Members Alliance as well as an Information Security professional providing subject matter expertise across various industries.

    John has been an active contributor to the Strategic Advisory & Content Committee of the WSTA (Wall Street Technology Association) since 1997, member of InfraGard's NY Metro Chapter since 2003, member in several other security organizations (ASIS, ISSA and OWASP), and was co-founder and chair for the NY Metro Joint Cyber Security Conference & Workshop series since 2014.

    John holds a professional certificate from Stanford University in Strategic Decision and Risk Management, a variety of information security certifications (CCISO, CCSK, CISSP and CSSLP), and a dual BS/MBA degree from Pace University. He is well published and has presented in the field of information security. Among his many achievements are patents in Unified Messaging, Keystroke & Gesture Biometrics, Blockchain Security, and IoT Security. John is a part-time NY State Fire Instructor, a volunteer firefighter with special teams training in vehicular extrication and dive/ice rescue, an amateur novelist, and routinely donates blood in several adult hockey leagues.


The timeframes are only estimates and may vary according to how the class is progressing

Segment 1: A Brief History of Robotics Length (10 min)

  • Where it all began
  • The modern robotics era (circa 2007-2015)
  • What new tools bring to the table

Break + Q&A (5 min)

Segment 2: The Patterns & Anti-Patterns Length (50 min)

  • A subset of Patterns for deploying RPA into your org to create value
  • RPA use cases that undermine success

Break + Q&A (5 min)

Segment 3: Governance and Controls Length (40 min)

  • How to manage RPA technology in your organization

Break + Q&A (15 min)

Segment 4: Governance and Controls Length (40 min)

  • How to manage RPA technology in your organization

Break + Q&A (15 min)

Segment 5: Demos Length (40 min)

  • 2 (3, time permitting) demonstrations of leading RPA tools and capabilities

Segment 5: The Future of RPA (15 min)

Wrap up + final Q&A (10 min)