Automation Anywhere (AA) Review

Bot deployment is easy but exported bots packages are not updated


What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case is for building Solutions involving RPA bots. We have implemented two standalone infrastructures each with A2019.16 Control rooms. 

Multiple Developers are working using the tools and commands in A2019 to create bots that will be deployed for clients to address their business requirements.

The infrastructure is running on the private cloud . 

The control room is running on the latest Windows server and the latest Windows SQL server is running the control room database.

Developers use VMware Virtual desktops to execute their bots. Chrome and IE browsers used by the developers.

How has it helped my organization?

Clients approach us to implement Automation Anywhere for three main reasons:

1: FTE reduction
2: Improving AHT 
3: Quick implementation and getting started on their RPA journey.

We have seen AA bringing immense value to the clients once operational. Bot deployment is easy and controlling Access is easy with RBAC with the recent additions. User groups and user management is on par with tools like Blue Prism & UiPath.

From a development perspective, the web-based approach is easy to deploy. The downside is that it is difficult to troubleshoot as logging on to the clients has been reduced.

It's comparatively easy to find developers who are accustomed to working with AA compared to other RPA tools.  

What is most valuable?

A2019 Control room

1: Single installer for all components and it installs all pre-requisites- Makes life easier as only admin access is required from the IT team to complete the installation
2:RBAC - Each component access can be controlled via Custom roles. I have created roles for developers, schedulers, admin, testers are all in a single control room.
3: Inbuilt credential vault with encryption is easy to implement and manage.
4:Recently included features of adding Security groups from the Active Directory is a lifesaver for the Control room administrator. Users are managed at the AD level with no overhead tasks of CR admin managing users.

A2019 Bot Agent

1: Easily installed but requires admin rights. 
2: It can be installed on a server now as the option to add multiple users is enabled in bot agent installer files

What needs improvement?

Verbose logging of bot compiling and deployment from the control room. Events occurring during compiling, pre-processing the bots should be logged in the control room or bot launcher logs.

Exported bots packages are not updated. Each package must be validated independently upon being exported from one control room to another.

Moving away from Client-server architecture to web-based deployment compromised developer experience of app reliability offered by 11.3.X flavors.

Desktop app experience >>> Web experience. Developers are not pleased. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using A2019 for 4 months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stick to long term releases.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Easily scalable on-premises.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer support is excellent and have helped on multiple occasions.Raising a ticket through through partner/support portal is very easy. Frontline engineers are quick to respond and access the issue mentioned in the ticket.

In my experience , most of the cases are resolved by frontline team and rarely get to involve their escalation team. Case resolution time differ vastly based on the complexity of the issue being reported and availability of the support engineer. 

Getting quick support/response is difficult and most of the calls are pre-scheduled. Categorizing a support ticket is crucial to get right resources for the issue. You will not like a platform engineer supporting a bot development issue and vice versa.

Enhancement requests via support requests are time consuming and might not see daylight till next minor/major upgrade.  

knowledge base articles available for troubleshooting known issues can be improved. Articles are not sorted properly and finding the correct KB for a known issue takes lot of time and effort.

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

UiPath, we switched due to organizational use.

How was the initial setup?

Simple installation.

What about the implementation team?

In-house.

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

Setup: A2019 is very easy. A single installer does it all.

Cost: Cheaper compared to Blue Prism and UiPath Orchestrator.

Licensing: Floating licensing 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated Blue Prism but it had a high cost.

What other advice do I have?

Too frequent updates and major changes in each update is frustrating.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises

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

Other

Which version of this solution are you currently using?

A2019.16
**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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