Automation Anywhere (AA) Review

It allows my clients to scale their businesses quickly, but the interface is not intuitive for business users


What is our primary use case?

The primary use case is to automate business processes for a manufacturing company.

How has it helped my organization?

My clients have seen tremendous value when it comes to automating business processes. The robust nature of the application allows them to scale their business processes pretty quickly. They receive the benefits in around a quick 12-week period.

What is most valuable?

The reporting capabilities are pretty nice. 

The Excel component is valuable, when compared to other tools in the market.

What needs improvement?

From an ease of use point of view, on a scale of one to ten with ten being really easy, I would rate the tool a six. The interface is not intuitive for business users who are used to seeing the process on a flow chart, like a Visio workflow diagram. This may be because of the nature of the way the interface is structured and the way the functions are built in list type of format. I feel like there is a bit of a learning curve for anyone who is new to the program. As with everything, it takes time and you start to get better at it. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

From pilot to production, we scaled our last bot in about nine weeks. It was a very interesting process because the building deployment can be done pretty quickly, but if you don't narrow down the scope early, you can face a lot of challenges. I don't think this necessarily has to do with the platform. It is more about understanding and narrowing down your scope from the beginning. It's okay to add more functionality later, but that adds delay to your overall timeline. However, being that it's very easy to configure the bot and add components to it, this is one of the benefits of building with Automation Anywhere. You can make changes pretty quickly.

With everything, you will have to be careful and not get caught up always making changes. You have to really narrow the scope down quickly and build it in very small components. Don't build everything end-to-end. Break down your processes, as much as possible, and deploy as little functionality as possible. This makes it way more easy to manage. It is also a much better way to build a bot.

How are customer service and technical support?

I did attempt to reach out to customer support a few times. I didn't really get any response. 

I would rate them a five out of ten. There is room for improvement.

How was the initial setup?

It does take a lot of space to install. However, you are installing a very powerful application which has very powerful components in it.

What other advice do I have?

Pay attention to what you're doing, and the following:

  1. Capabilities that you have in-house.
  2. Support down the line. 
  3. Handing over your solutions to someone else to pick up. 

You want to have this type of mindset. 

With any tools, you have to ensure you have the right capabilities in-house to be able to help build out and manage any solutions in the future, along with managing your army of bots in deployment. 

It is a good, powerful application. It can fit pretty much any use case, but that is one component to it. The other component is do you have the right in-house skills to help you manage the Automation Anywhere bots?

I took the RPA Advanced course for developers (entry-level) in Automation Anywhere University. I took it a while ago, and I don't know if it's changed now, but it was very informative, detailed, and intuitive. I came from automation tools, so it was a bit easier for me to pick up on the information because of my background. The course was pretty informational. I felt comfortable building an application, building a bot, and putting it into production after the course.

Building a bot can be pretty quick. If you understand what the problem is that the bot is trying to solve, then you can get it done pretty quickly since the process is easy and straightforward. However, if you are coming from other tools or are not an experienced developer, you might face a bit of a challenge in the beginning. Everything will eventually come pretty quickly, as you can build a bot in an hour, or even less than that.

I'm learning how to use the IQ Bot, which is a pretty good component of the application. I can see how it would be a really powerful feature for some of my clients.

I haven't used the Citrix feature yet.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
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