Automation Anywhere (AA) Review

Tremendously improved the efficiency and accuracy of processes

What is our primary use case?

The AA architecture was as suggested by the AA technical support team. We had one server dedicated each for the control room, bot creator, bot runner, and DB server. The servers were hosted on cloud services offered by Microsoft Azure.

Our primary use case included mostly the internal operations orchestrated by the IT team. It included processes like automation of AD ID creation, updating, and deletion.

Other services were offered to the Business and Finance groups, Human Resource department, and marketing department.

How has it helped my organization?

Automation Anywhere has played a pivotal role in expanding the current portfolio of the company by integrating with new Aae technologies like AI and ML and increasing the efficiency of the existing processes.

Some of the changes the organization has observed and appreciated the RPA services implemented by AA are listed below:

Regulatory and Compliance Standards: Prior installation of RPA services, there used to a lot of transcription errors through out the processes which proved quite fatal during periodic audits and in meeting compliance standards. Plus, detection and rectification of these errors was quite time and resource consuming.

Improved Efficiency: Post RPA services, the efficiency and accuracy of the processes have increased tremendously and now the employees can focus more on important research and analysis work.

Customer satisfaction: RPA has automated the repetitive and time consuming tasks which has eased off the pressure from the employees. Now the employees can concentrate on client specific requirements and in order increasing the client satisfaction by responding quickly in a periodic manner.  

What is most valuable?

Automation Anywhere is fairly easy to use and understand. It requires no prior coding experience. Personally, I started my RPA journey with AA learning about RPA as a technology and AA tool from Automation university and found it quite useful.

The bot store feature is quite useful since it provides pre-built bots for complex systems and it helps a lot when starting the RPA journey.

The AA commands provide a drag and drop option which is quite easy to use.

The Bot insight provides a lot of information ranging from bot deployment, success, and failures, and bot efficiency. This is quite informative and easy to understand which can be directly presented in front of business leaders too.

IQ Bot provides AI and cognitive capabilities that prove extremely useful in extracting texts from scanned images and unstructured invoices and documents.

What needs improvement?

Automation Anywhere provides more than 300 commands but it lacks in certain areas like Excel automation. For eg: there is no command to add, rename, or delete sheet. However, meta bots can be utilized for the same.

AA sometimes poses compatibility problems with new web browser versions like Chrome.

The AA control room is fairly difficult to understand and maintain initially.

Integration with new technologies and scripts like Python. However, I have heard that A2019 supports Python scripts.

The license prices vary drastically depending upon the partnership with the client.

Debugging of SQL queries is hard. The error description is not accurate. I have to initially test the queries on Access and then only I paste them on AA.  

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for more than two years now.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Automation is quite stable even with Citrix environments. However, it posed some problems when in the production phase. We encountered some random errors which used to come on a random basis.

AA was quite stable when used with Window applications and other applications like SAP, proprietary software, and databases.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution is quite scalable and best suited when used for processes involving a high volume of data.

The existing infrastructure can easily be migrated to the cloud and upgraded to a higher version too with minimal effort.

The configuration can easily be scaled up when being used in a cloud environment. A lot of bots can easily be run on the same bot runner server while being maintained by the control room.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support team was cooperative and quick to respond to any query. I am highly satisfied with the AA support team. 

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I started with AA v 10 and switched to v11 later on.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was provided with installation documentation which was detailed. It posed no problems and in case of queries the support team was there to help.

What about the implementation team?

I implemented it through a vendor team who were fairly new to both the RPA domain and AA tool. 

What was our ROI?

The ROI of AA is best when utilized for processes involving a high volume of data. 
It plays a pivotal role in cost saving by replacing the existing time and resource-consuming project with a fast and efficient RPA solution.

Since it can be utilized 24/7, the ROI is pretty high with minimal efforts and resources by using unattended automation.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Automation anywhere is best suited for processes that have high volume and are repetitive.
They offer good discounts when purchased in bulk or they provide extra bit runner runners with the existing prices. 

The setup cost basically depends on usage. They can be installed both on-premises or on the cloud depending upon the user's requirement.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Not specifically. We were already AA partners by the time I joined the practice.

What other advice do I have?

I have been using the IQ bot and the latest A2019 version and still exploring new features. I personally liked replacing the various recorder and object cloning command with a single recorder command.

The solution sometimes poses problems in the production phase.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Private Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Amazon Web Services (AWS)
**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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