Automation Anywhere (AA) Review

It Automates The Simple, Mundane Tasks That People Hate To Do


What is our primary use case?

Right now, we have about 15 to 18 use cases, from finance to project management assistance and business operations.

How has it helped my organization?

We are in the journey of fully embracing digital transformation, but still far from goal.

Even though we are saving some work hours, we face a new problem that is sort of a backwards problem: Now, we have the risk a person who used to do the job in eight hours taking six hours to produce the same amount of output, instead of producing more or working on new tasks.

What is most valuable?

It automates the simple, mundane tasks that people hate to do. This is pretty much the same with other RPA software. One differentiation point that we assumed against other competitive products was the ease of implementation, which we haven’t really validated. We have seen other tools, but we did not do any heavy investigation into what the reality was. So far, we are happy, or at least okay, with the way things work.

What needs improvement?

In terms of features to add, they seem to have good grip on the future to come, for example, they already have incorporated cognitive technology called IQ Bot which translates semi-structured data into structured data.  We have not tried it yet though.Working with this vendor can sometimes be challenging because their service quality on simple business operations like invoicing could be bad. I have received wrong invoices several times. Maybe this is a problem only with their new branch offices.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We’re having a problem with the maintenance. Failure reasons may vary, but a typical one is the timing difference of interacting systems. Sometimes, the interacting systems don’t respond fast enough to what the robot expects. If something is not good, it fails. We had to go through a large optimization phase where we had to find the right timing of how long the robot should wait. If you ask a person from Automation Anywhere, probably the right way to cope with this is to wait for a window to transition before moving on to next step, which you don’t want to do for every single step because that would put additional coding on our software. Therefore, that is a difficulty that we are having. When I discussed it with an Automation Anywhere representative, he said it is quite unusual having to spend so many resources on maintenance and troubleshooting. His recommendation was that they could do a code review for us, which is nice and hopefully it works. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We are just in the path. This year, we are trying to do ten times more than last year. We are trying to do about 100 automated processes this year. I have confidence that the solution is able to cater our needs.

How is customer service and technical support?

We just started using their technical support. Up until now, we were working only through our IT partner. The technical support that we have received so far has been accurate and fast.

How was the initial setup?

We were not involved, so I’m not sure. I heard that it was fairly easy. 

We are right in the process of it. We are leaving it to the external IT partner who we used because they are the ones who programmed the previous bots. They would do the best job for migration.  

What was our ROI?

It is negative right now. What we are expecting, for one bot creation, is a six-month turnaround for getting ROI, but that is only the developer man-hour versus actual time saved. If we include all the licenses and launch activities that we have done, we are far from getting a ROI. It will probably take another one to two.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Before we did the actual implementation, we ran some PoCs with a consulting firm and they recommended Automation Anywhere, which matches our business model and the way we wanted to progress. 

What other advice do I have?

It is not so much about the tool. It’s probably not even about the company, Automation Anywhere. It’s more of the internal issues that a colleague would encounter. There is only so little that can be solved by RPA. The real solution is in the BPR and other transformations that they need to go through. If they are expecting this to be a silver bullet for something, it’s not. They need to go through the due diligence of automating the right processes right.

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