Pros and Cons of PowerShell Automation

In a 2009 TechNet Magazine, Microsoft wrote: "Suffice it to say, mastering Windows PowerShell is one of the most important skills a Windows system administrator will need in the coming years."

Almost a decade later, PowerShell remains a vital tool in a system administrator's toolbox.

Introduced in 2006, PowerShell is an object-oriented shell and scripting language for Microsoft Windows, integrated into the .NET framework. It's versatile, powerful, and like any automation solution, can save you a lot of time if you've been manually performing your work. However, the automation landscape is rapidly changing, and many organizations are now moving to software robots and other robotic automation solutions that enable automated workflows across all systems and applications.

Should you replace your PowerShell scripts with Robotic Process Automation (RPA) software? Read on to find out.

PRO: PowerShell is Everywhere

PowerShell includes over 130 standard command-line tools for functions and enables system administrators to perform tasks on both local and remote systems. It's now installed standard on every version of Windows starting from Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1. Essentially, any IT professional working with Windows Servers needs to be familiar with PowerShell. Luckily, due to its widespread use, PowerShell support and resources are easy to find.

PowerShell can also be used on other systems—since 2016, it's cross-platform and open source.

PRO: It's Easy to Stick with What You Know

Perhaps you've been using PowerShell for years, or maybe you have a team of scripting specialists. We understand—you're busy, and it takes time to learn a new automation solution. Robotic Process Automation is still considered a newcomer to the field, and even with a user-friendly RPA solution, it takes some time to get accustomed.

However, you should bear in mind that 53 percent of Global 2000 companies plan to make significant RPA investments in 2018.

CON: Not Everyone Can Handle PowerShell

Even if you want to continue using PowerShell to meet your Microsoft automation needs, you should ask yourself what happens if you need to expand your team. If your organization depends on PowerShell, you are practically forced to hire employees with PowerShell expertise. If you only have one scripting specialist and they resign, will you have someone who can manage your current PowerShell automation?

Robotic Process Automation is designed for business users. While your RPA platform will still be able to run scripts when necessary or desired, Joe from Accounting can also navigate a streamlined, automated workflow. Team members without scripting expertise won't waste time dealing with the simplest tasks.

CON: Adding Enterprise Functions is Not Practical

Audit logs, error handling, event-based triggers, security measures—these can be accomplished with PowerShell scripts, but in reality, they usually aren't. It takes a lot of time and many scripts to create the robust collection of features you get with Robotic Process Automation right out of the box.

If your team is chronically short on time (and let's face it, who isn't these days?), Robotic Process Automation is a better way to ensure your automation is enterprise-class.

BONUS: You Can Use PowerShell AND an RPA Solution

Good news! You don't have to choose between Robotic Process Automation and scripting. RPA software can run your existing PowerShell scripts and seamlessly integrate them into your automated workflows across your entire enterprise.

Want to learn more about the capabilities of Robotic Process Automation and how this software can also be combined with PowerShell? Please contact us!