Automation Anywhere (AA) Review

We have automated our critical functions, like supply chain management and purchase orders

What is our primary use case?

Most of our use cases are for primary supply chain management. We have a lot of business processes and back office automation that we do primarily for our product people and our finance team. Most of the work is automation done in supply chain management, product setup, and product administration. 

I have been using this solution for almost four years and one year at my current company.

How has it helped my organization?

We have automated our critical functions, like supply chain management and purchase orders. Overall, there's been a direct benefit from it so far. We just completed our Phase I project this year. We have staff who have been moved out of the mundane tasks and are now doing value-added activities. 

What is most valuable?

Object cloning is the primary way of capturing inputs from screen scraping or mimicking the user flow, and it is 70 percent of the work that we do using Automation Anywhere.

What needs improvement?

We have a few issues which have persisted. These end up restarting the machine. We are hoping in version 11.3 of Automation Anywhere, our compatibility and infrastructure issues will be resolved. 

For how long have I used the solution?

Three to five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

If you are using object cloning, it is stable. However, if you work with image recognition and custom objects, there are stability issues. 

We are on version 10.5.7. We have upgraded bits of it to 11.3, but it is still not operational on 11.3. We are currently working on migrating our infrastructure to version 11.3.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We are still small from a robotics implementation standpoint. We are just about 20 bots right now with no issues. If we scale up to 500 bots, I am not sure how the infrastructure and systems will behave, but I have had a good experience from a scalability standpoint on the tool so far.

I have a team of about 25 people with six people in support with the rest in development. At any given time, we have more than 50 people running Automation Anywhere.

How are customer service and technical support?

This particular ticket management system works well. It's a reliable. If we need to a raise ticket for any issue, there is an escalation mechanism. Though, I have not used it. I try to utilize our customer success manager to be able to right person from Automation Anywhere. My experience has been good, though not excellent, from a support standpoint.

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

We were not using a solution before Automation Anywhere.

How was the initial setup?

In version 11.3, the setup changed. So far, it has been simpler. Also, in version 11, they have changed the design into a Java Jetty architecture, which is more stable. However, we were not familiar with it, so we had some issues with it. Thankfully, Automation Anywhere diligently answered our calls and helped us through the installation. It wasn't easy to install on our own using the guide. We needed support from a technical entity from the support site to be able to do it.

It needs a lot of coordination between the DBAs, which is a separate team within our organization, the infrastructure team, our team, and the Automation Anywhere teams to execute the deployment. Getting them all together was a good three hours exercise just to install.

Two people from my team worked on the deployment, one of them being a DBA.

What about the implementation team?

I have a technical team of support members who know our internal infrastructure. We built it in-house and the support is not outsourced to any IT vendors. We take care of the infrastructure provisioning, support, etc. We do everything ourselves, along with the help of Automation Anywhere.

I have a deployed team of six people for maintenance. 

What was our ROI?

We have seen more efficient processing and less number of errors due to quality control.

Savings have not been able to catch it that much. I believe there is huge potential here. This year, we are focusing a lot on the indirect benefits of speeding up the process. For example, we want our key customers to benefit, or buyers and suppliers boost up their business to receive benefits indirectly by freeing up their time.

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

They give us a good deal on the licensing because we bundle and customize things. If you ask to get a bulk business deal, you will receive more benefit. If you take other products from the suite, like IQ Bot, you can also receive a deal on the licensing. 

We have also worked with them for so long now that we have developed a relationship.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

My current company looked at UiPath. We decided to go with Automation Anywhere vs UiPath, because of cost, reliability, and scalability.

We do look at companies like Microsoft Azure to do unstructured data processing for us.

What other advice do I have?

It is a good with a good support app, but I would like it to work 100 percent of the time.

We are looking to increase our usage in the future. First, we need to locate the opportunities to automate within our organization to automate which are good contenders for RPA engines. We are also trying to standardize our processes to push more processes into the automation pipeline, leading to expansion. We are getting Automation Anywhere to assist with this as part of our Phase II project, and increase our bot usage by the end of the year.

If you are implementing it, you should have a good business case. Know what you're using it for: Is it for your direct or indirect benefits and what is the business value that you're going to bring in on the tool. Providing the tools for your business are important before onboarding it. Once you have onboarded it, you will need a good, capable team in-house to be able to keep the infrastructure maintained. 

Start slow. Don't start with a huge approach, then you decide that you failed. Do some proof on concepts. Ensure there is work for your organization. Gain the trust of your stakeholders. Then, take baby steps to move forward.

**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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