Automation Anywhere (AA) Review

Automation Anywhere enables the development of software robots to automate manual, repetitive electronic tasks.

What is our primary use case?

We have used Automation Anywhere to develop different software bots. We currently use version 10.7 for Windows 10 and we are in process of migrating our version to 11.2. We have automated important processes like creation of purchase orders from attributes that are in a Sharepoint form, and upload of exchange rates in our ERP system from data that is available in websites (central banks). We look at automating processes that are manual, repetitive, and rules based.

How has it helped my organization?

AA has allowed the generation of gains in productivity by automating certain processes, moving the hours from FTEs to a software robot, thus creating a digital workforce. The employees who were working on those manual activities are now focusing their time in the critical analysis of their processes. Here a few examples:

  • Load of daily exchange rates - 840 hours/year saved
  • Creation of purchase orders in Oracle - 1056 hours/year saved
  • Processing of bank account statements - 600 hours/year saved

What is most valuable?

  • The user friendly interface enables a quick learning process by any developer, and the ability to interact with virtually any system.
  • MetaBots - This is an intelligent component/functionality that makes connection to websites or web forms a breeze. This functionality also works great with our corporate ERP system.
  • Technical support - Very quick, efficient, and acknowlegeable. They were able to address all our inquiries very satisfactorily.

What needs improvement?

  • Object cloning - This component seems to be unstable in version 10.7. We have run tests in version 11.2 and they seem to work much better there. During development/test cycles it is common to see object cloning components that were working previously stop full of a sudden. In these cases we usually migrate those components to MetaBots.
  • Schedule queue - Scheduling is allowed at intervals of 30 mins. Having this interval reduced to 15 mins would allow better control of taks that run more quickly. The ability to schedule bots to run in different time zones would also be a great addition.
  • Control Room - Enabling the ability to customize it would be a great addition. In version 10.7 we need to pay attention to the URL to differentiate between Dev, QA, and Prod. We could also use the function to create our own custom dashboards.
  • Give MetaBots the ability to work with objects in applications running on a terminal server. This functionality would be a great help to developers.

For how long have I used the solution?

Less than one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution in general is very stable, we haven't found any problem with bots deployed to the production server. As far as development goes, object cloning is a component of the solution that seems to be unstable, as it apparently stops working for no reason. Once deployed to production, everything is very smooth.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is associated to the number of bot runners purchased. More bot runners can be purchased at any time depending on how the demand grows, and AA offers the ability to process bots in a platform called bot farm.

How are customer service and technical support?

AA Technical support has been contacted for different reasons, including validation of bot developments. In all scenarios, support was very responsive, efficient, and acknowledgeable, resolving all issues very quickly. Support is available 24x7 with tickets being raised either by their own ticket system or by direct calls. The customer service manager engages with the SPA in the company via phone call every quarter, to check on the customer satisfaction.

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

We previously used the product AutoMate. That product had issues working with Java forms, which were extensively used by our ERP solution.

How was the initial setup?

The basic setup was straightforward. Deployment took two months. Our implementation strategy consisted of three servers, one for Dev, one for QA, and one Prod, as well as five bot runners: one for Dev, one for QA, and three for Prod. Finally, we have one administrator and one backup. AA provided the needed support to get the solution up and running quickly and smoothly.

What about the implementation team?

Our company has a long-term partnership with TCS. We are currently using their consulting support, which has been good. TCS is able to engage with top professionals in the market.

What was our ROI?

We started utilization of the tool with a target of generating productivity, specifically by saving 10,000 hours between August and December 2018, regardless of the number of bots deployed.

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

Automation Anywhere is costlier than the general competition. I believe that it is consistent with their market share and with the benefits AA has to offer.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

What other advice do I have?

Automation Anywhere is a great platform. It is the tool that allowed us to bring back to life former plans to create our digital workforce. One suggestion is to go with the most recent release, both for the app and Control Room. Versions after 10.7 are the ones with enhanced functionalities.

We purchased ten developer licenses, all of which are in use now. The developers are responsible for deployment and maintenance along with two administrators. We have a target to be met and it requires extensive use of the product. This target will certainly be increased in 2019.

Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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