All recorded keystrokes and mouse activity can be saved to disk as a macro (script) for later use, bound to a hotkey, extended with custom commands or even compiled to an EXE file (a standalone Windows application). This macro recording program will save you a lot of time on repetitive tasks. You can use the Macro Recorder to automate ANY activity in ANY windows application, record on-screen tutorials.

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This doesn’t replace the face-to-face communication that’s a necessary part of software development. Instead, it enhances that aspect by providing another channel through which to communicate. Think of it this way – email didn’t replace the telephone; it was just an additional tool that could be used to communicate. The same holds true with tools like TestComplete by SmartBear – they’re not replacements for face-to-face communication as much as they’re ways to improve communication.

When it comes to business process automation efforts, our experts from around the web give several recommendations for how to get started. Some say that the projects are only successful if you initially approach them from the position of the desired outcome. Others recommend automating first, then figuring out the processes. Some claim that a full map and model of your processes are required prior to any automation. Experts also extol the virtue of having your business leaders on board, even as part of the team. Finally, they emphasize that you should improve all your processes (not just the automated ones) to maximize usefulness. In other words, garbage in, garbage out.

About a year later, someone calling himself or herself Etherable posted a query to Workplace on Stack Exchange, one of the web’s most important forums for programmers: “Is it unethical for me to not tell my employer I’ve automated my job?” The conflicted coder described accepting a programming gig that had turned out to be “glorified data entry”—and, six months ago, writing scripts that put the entire job on autopilot. After that, “what used to take the last guy like a month, now takes maybe 10 minutes.” The job was full-time, with benefits, and allowed Etherable to work from home. The program produced near-perfect results; for all management knew, its employee simply did flawless work.
A business process management system is quite different from BPA. However, it is possible to build automation on the back of a BPM implementation. The actual tools to achieve this vary, from writing custom application code to using specialist BPA tools. The advantages and disadvantages of this approach are inextricably linked – the BPM implementation provides an architecture for all processes in the business to be mapped, but this in itself delays the automation of individual processes and so benefits may be lost in the meantime.