Frequently asked questions
Blue Prism Interact launch
Interact is a collaboration platform designed for enterprises – and the humans who work there – making them available to do other things.
Interact allows Blue Prism processes to be extended into the front office and for work to be more easily collaborated on between the digital and human workforce.
Everything you need to know is in our Getting started page.
We announced the availability of Interact to select customers and partners on September 21st 2020.
Yes, Interact exists within two other forms. The September 21st 2020 announcement introduced an on-premises, standalone version of Interact that was previously only available as a standalone product via cloud delivery. The new product gives users additional flexibility to deploy and use Interact however and wherever they want, including:
- On-premises/behind your firewall (new) – it can also be used in whichever cloud you choose.
- As a SaaS-delivered standalone product.
- As part of the full Blue Prism Cloud SaaS/managed services platform.
Please click on the chart below for a summary of product differences.
The majority of our customers’ use cases are ideal for using both humans and digital workers, with digital colleagues augmenting human tasks. Interact makes those points of interaction smoother by providing a common standard interface for humans and digital workers to collaborate.
Your business will be able quickly and seamlessly build bridges across collaboration points so that:
- Humans can pass work to digital workers to subsequently perform in the back office.
- Humans can trigger interactive collaboration with their digital worker colleagues.
- Businesses can also use Interact to validate business exceptions to drive higher ROI. Digital workers can also request approvals and raise exceptions with employees, if needed.
Bottom line: Interact makes your digital workers accessible across the enterprise for front-, middle-, or back-office needs/use cases.
Blue Prism Interact is currently available to customers who have premium support, or for a licensing fee. Contact your Blue Prism sales rep for details and to request access to this phase 1 product availability.
Interact is available to all Blue Prism customers with paid for support and who have a license commitment of 10 or more digital workers.
Yes, Interact does require a license. License keys are made available as part of the initial availability process.
The term “human-in-the-loop” has its origins in the simulation and supervised machine learning world – where a model is optimized, corrected or trained via the injection of a “human-in-the-loop.” (Decipher IDP’s verification stage is a good example of this scenario.) As Interact is often being used to manage exceptions – and exception handling could theoretically be used to further optimize the process – it’s okay to use this term in that context, alongside the broader “human-to-digital-worker-collaboration” terminology.
Robotic Desktop Automation (RDA) and Interact are different technologies. In RDA scenarios, the bots typically run on local workstations; use the same front-office programs as human employees/share the same login; and take actions on the local machine. They also respond exclusively to user prompts or to human-triggered events.
Interact, on the other hand, is a secure, web-based way to communicate with digital colleagues to initiate, verify, receive, and authorize varied work related to business processes. It’s a portal where users can select from a series of pre-built forms to capture data and then send it to your Blue Prism digital workforce to execute an automated business process against.
There’s also a unique interface for every business user that is based on a role, group, or customer classification, as well as user-based access controls. Interact offers a more secure level of attended automation for those organizations that require those capabilities – plus the ability to scale as needed. It’s for this reason that the combination of Blue Prism and Interact represent great collaborative possibilities – and chief among them is enterprise scalability.
In the initial release of Interact, only human users can initiate a workflow. After that initiation, work can be passed back and forth between the human and the digital worker. However, digital worker-initiated workflows are planned as part of the Interact roadmap. Please refer to the roadmap on the customer portal for more information.
Interact supports Blue Prism 6.4.0 or later.
Please refer to the infrastructure and installation materials for full details on supported SQL versions.
Interact has no soft-limits with regards to use. This includes the number of forms or processes Interact supports. The total number of supported concurrent users will be dependent on the supporting infrastructure, which is reflected in the infrastructure and installation materials. See the Interact Infrastructure Overview for details.
Interact users can select one of the following languages for the Interact user interface: English, French, German, Chinese,
The Interact product is generally deployed to support internal and external end user scenarios and as such, have a different user base to the other Blue Prism products within the portfolio.
There are no additional direct license costs for using Interact, however, there will be additional infrastructure to support the product.
Yes, Interact does have dependency on other software for its operation. This information is referenced in the infrastructure and installation materials. See installation preparation for details.
Interact adopts a no-code approach for form design and can be administered by your business users with limited training. Those who are familiar with Blue Prism will be well equipped to administering Interact. For the end users, Interact simplifies the user experience and can be delivered with no product-specific training.
Yes, Interact has a number of integration points, both in the way submissions are pushed to the digital workforce but also how digital workers can communicate back through Interact via a Visual Business Object to support real-time collaboration.
Service Assist is a specific solution designed and built specifically for high volume contact centers. Interact is a native capability from Blue Prism to address a broad range of front office and human / digital worker collaboration use cases.
ALM and Interact can be purchased and deployed separately. If only purchasing and deploying Interact however, the installer will add in the Processes feature of ALM to allow Interact forms to be associated to a business process. All other ALM features are only available through the purchase of the software.
Access to an Interact Form is controlled through the Blue Prism Hub User, Roles and Registration function. This function is available to administrators of Hub and is invoked from the settings cog.
First a user has to be assigned an Interact role for that user to be able to see or invoke Interact.
Next a role is created that lists the Forms and the users that can access them. Only after this can a user use Interact and see the allocated Forms.
Interact allows the file formats to be specified through the Form Designer interface by the administrative user. This provides complete flexibility whilst enforcing any restrictions the business may want to impose.
Once a connection has been made between Hub and the Blue Prism database, within “Database Connections’, the user will be able to ‘Refresh’ the connection to allow any newly created Queues to be available for selection in the Interact Form ‘ Edit Basic Information’ screen.
No, usernames are not case sensitive.
You are able to set default value for an Interact for which appear when a user creates a new submission. Please note that this information is not dynamic and is instead explicitly defined at the point of form creation.
Yes, if a user has privileges for both the administration of Interact forms and accessing Interact as an end user then they will be able to navigate to different personas without needing to log in.
The installation guide refers to the permissions required over an existing or new Blue Prism environment.
A user must have access to the Interact plugin in order to save and publish an Interact form. In addition, the form must not be ‘locked’ by another user.
Interact is accessed via a browser for both administrative as well as end user activities. The no-code form designer interface.
Google Chrome (version 86 and above), and the latest version of Microsoft Edge is supported as it is Chromium based.
Versions and licenses
Upgrading Hub and Interact is a simple process that uses a dedicated upgrade tool; the Blue Prism Interact and Hub Upgrader. The upgrader can only be used to upgrade version 4.0 of Hub and Interact to 4.1. For further details, see Upgrade Hub and Interact 4.0 to version 4.1.
It is possible to see the expiry date of a license through the plugin store within Hub. In additional, notifications will present Hub users when their licenses are within 30 days of expiry.
The versions of the products available to you are visible in both the footer of the applications as well as within the ‘Plugin Store’ for those users with appropriate privileges.
Installation, upgrade, and uninstall
Yes – this version of Interact makes use of a few additional components. As with our core Blue Prism product, Interact requires a database server – we use SQL Server for this. Users also need web server to serve the web-based components of Interact – we use Microsoft IIS. Finally, we also use RabbitMQ – an open source message broker – for inter-process communication (see this link for technical details).
Each of these software requirements may also have their own prerequisites. For example, RabbitMQ requires the runtime for the Erlang programming languages; please refer to the RabbitMQ documentation on Windows installs for more detail.
Blue Prism is only able to support customers who are using software that their own organization also supports. Starting in October 2020, only the 3.8.x versions of RabbitMQ will be supported, so we will not be able to support older versions. Given that out-of-support versions will not see security updates, we encourage customers with older versions to upgrade.
It’s also important to note that Interact cannot currently be installed on a single desktop and that VMs are required to install the server-side requirements.
No, the uninstallation of both Hub and Interact will not remove the associated databases.
Interact is a separate installation alongside the digital workers within Blue Prism and as such an Interact upgrade will not directly impact the digital workers. However, as Blue Prism digital workers leverage Interact as part of any automated process, consideration should be given towards how any Interact downtime will affect the supporting automations.
Full details on the hardware requirements and configuration can be found in the infrastructure and installation materials. See the infrastructure overview for further details.
Hub is the framework (or infrastructural product) that sits underneath Interact and the core infrastructure upon which Interact is built. Interact consists of two key components: the web-based portal used to submit requests and a plugin within Hub the framework called Forms. See below for an overview of how they work together:
No, the released products do not support Docker or other containerization frameworks.
A deployment of Interact is accompanied with a Visual Business Object for use with Interact. This allows for submissions to be updated by a digital worker as part of an automated process. Interact when communicating back to a digital worker will load Items into a Blue Prism work queue.
The infrastructure and installation materials highlight the configuration of a file server. It is here where attachments submitted through Interact are stored.
When a user submits a Form for processing it is passed to the parser for adding into a Blue Prism work queue. The item is added into the work queue with the Submission ID from Interact so that it knows from where it originated. The item can be retrieved from the work queue using the Get Next Item action from the Work Queue object.
If a user wanted to update the status of a field or update the submission within Interact a web service is called via a Blue Prism object. The actions within this business object uses the retrieved Submission ID to ensure that it is updating the required submission.
A full list of capabilities relating to the Interact Web API service and business object can be found in the associated user guide.
The standard documentation for Interact within the infrastructure and installation materials highlights how to deploy a distributed configuration of Interact. See the online help for details.
Please refer to the infrastructure and installation guides for details on the product architectures. Note, from the initial GA, the documentation supports the deployment of an enterprise distributed setup however single server or load-balanced setups require support from the professional services teams.
Roadmaps and future functionality
Blue Prism provides an ideation portal which is accessible through the Blue Prism Portal. New ideas as well as the rating of existing ideas can be accessed from here.
Exposing the on-premises version of Interact to external (public-facing) users is technically possible and currently occurs within the full Blue Prism Cloud platform. However, there are several considerations and architecture adaptations specific to the Interact on-premises product that organizations would need to make, including:
- First, any customer organization will need to follow their corporate guidelines for securing the web server that provides the web capability for Interact.
- The organization hosting Interact will also need to create an Interact account for the external user with appropriate permissions.
We’re currently working with field teams to understand what additional requirements might be needed to enable this out of the box in future versions of Interact on-premises.