Automation Anywhere (AA) Review

Has a lot of out of box features when it comes to SAP, Excel, and others but you have to recode again and again

What is our primary use case?

I deployed this solution mostly in the finance and accounting space. We had two primary use cases. One was automating the procured invoice to pay process and the other was automating the order to cash cycle, OTC process.

How has it helped my organization?

It increased productivity. It raised the productivity percentage of individuals 20 to 35%. We also saw cost reduction.

What is most valuable?

Automation Anywhere was easier to learn for the developers. It has a lot of out of box features when it comes to SAP, Excel, and others. However, on the other hand, I did not like one feature which is a built-in linear code that is a straight line and it does not have the modular functionality of UiPath so the code becomes one long code and if you need to make changes you need to look through the entire code and make changes. After the code is returned, even if there are some changes in the process, the support cycle is really difficult because, with UiPath, it's modular in structure. For example, one variable changes so it's declared as a variable and you can just change it and the code automatically reflects the change. It creates a nightmare to maintain. That was the one key drawback from Automation Anywhere. The good thing about Automation Anywhere was learning the best practices of it and using the development framework was easier so getting developers who knew AA was relatively easier than getting developers who knew UiPath or Blue Prism.

What needs improvement?

We faced a big challenge when moving from AA9 to 10. That was a nightmare. The whole process took six months to one year because we had to do it for 12 to 15 clients in my organization and I was leading the Automation Anywhere deployment for 25 clients.

The biggest issue was that the new license required upgraded hardware infrastructure so we were getting all new tech stuff procured which meant that we were getting updated RAMs and things like that. Getting the licenses was easier but building the infrastructure which was required to support the new version was difficult.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Automation Anywhere is one of the least stable RPA tools out of the top five RPA solutions. A lot of times you need to rely on certain features that are really unstable. Three years back 90% of our projects were on AA. Two years back it became 70% with 20% being on Blue Prism and 10% UiPath. This year onwards it's around 50% on UiPath and 50% on Automation Anywhere. The reason why we have 50% on AA is because we have a developer strain on AA. The code is not stable. You have to recode again and again. Then when you do recode, changing the code is really tough.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is good. It's one of the better ones.

How are customer service and technical support?

We didn't face any issues from their technical support. They were responsive and helpful.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is more straightforward compared to other solutions like UiPath. Initially, it is relatively difficult. If you have a very simple straight linear process then Automation Anywhere is easy to implement and to deploy but as soon as you get into complexities or where you have more rules like finance or accounting where I deployed specifically at times, there are a lot of variances in the process. That's where Automation Anywhere actually becomes a headache to manage.

What was our ROI?

If you implement it right way the ROI can start within one year. It delivers quick benefits in terms of ROI.

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

It's cheaper than other similar solutions.

What other advice do I have?

I would rate this solution a six out of ten. 

I would advise two things to someone considering this solution. Go for it if you are positive it is very simple and you understand your processing end to end. It is a cheaper tool compared to others and the initial implementation is relatively easier. You will get results faster. Second, if your process has many variations, is complex, and you do not know a lot about your process, do not use Automation Anywhere, otherwise, you will run into trouble while going live and after support.

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