How do you RPA in defence?

Delivery of RPA solutions is defence is unique in its opportunities and challenges. The structure and inherent security requirement create an environment that is vastly different from a typical business unit.

Security Clearances 

Baseline is the lowest level of clearance required to work for defence this will give you access to the Protected Intranet and permission to view information that is classified up to Protected level, however; to access many of the systems and information required to develop an automation Business Units will require developers to hold a Negative Vetting level 1 (NV1) clearance. Once approved a clearance subject can hold NV1 for 10 years as long as they retain a sponsor requesting that level of clearance. NV1 is a passive clearance level and requires the subject to remain proactively engaged with their sponsor to ensure currency.

Applications

There are a number of SAP and ERP software tools that are unique to defence. Each of these requires access credentials that are predicated on completing pre-requisite training. Defence typically offers this training on its internal web-training platform at no cost if the business need can be provided.

Due to the secure nature of the Defence Intranet, applications within have to meet strict requirements to be integrated, this often means that functionality is removed to ensure the standard is met and sustained. It also often means that many COTs applications are outdated due to the complicated and expensive system integration process for example Defence uses exclusively Microsoft Office 2016 in its current environment as its office productivity tool.

Architecture

In order to maintain a vast, integrated and secure network Defence utilises a distributed network of virtual instances that constrain the capacity of bandwidth across the network. This infrastructure is maintained by a centralised organisation; Chief Information Operations Group (CIOG) that contracts projects and solutions for information technology. This is managed by Defence Protected SM System (DPSMS). To develop or sustain in the Protected environment an RPA team will require access to DPSMS. The process to achieve access can be found at the Defence RPA wiki on the protected network.

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