Automation Anywhere (AA) Review

It saves time for the people who operate it, but the setup process is not easy

What is our primary use case?

I have implemented it for multiple use cases. 

One of the use cases that it was implemented for is filling out timesheets from the managers. There are certain managers who have to allocate hours to multiple employees, around 40 to 45 employees. Each month, they decided how much time that they will allocate to each of resource. Using a robot, they can automatically fill in the timesheet on Zoho, which is the timesheet system that the company uses.

Another use case was that we used to have certain lists of vendors who billed every month. They had a specific format to their invoices. Using bots to read through those invoices, we were able to pick up relevant data and enter it into the finance systems.

How has it helped my organization?

It has improved the efficiency and reliability of the data in the systems. A user is always going to make errors. By adopting robots, we are able to have more accurate processes, plus time is saved.

What is most valuable?

It saves time for the people who operate it. This particular bot is an attended automation bot, and before running the bot, the manager tweaks some of the values which are important. Overall, this will save the managers time during their processes and create value.

It is not always required to have a technical background. It is not necessary to know programming languages. This makes it easier for a business user to create his own bots.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is pretty stable on a day-by-day basis. It is much better than when I started working on RPA solutions three years ago.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Manually, I have worked on adding/scaling bots, but I need to work on cloud availability, possibly discussing scaling with cloud providers, like AWS.

For different processes, the scaling time period is different. For some processes, we could develop bots in two weeks, then go to production with one or two bots. For other processes, it could take three months or more. It varies based on the process.

If you previously used a different solution, which one did you use and why did you switch?

We did not use another solution previously.

How was the initial setup?

The setup process is not easy compared to the competition, and this can be a barrier to entry.

What about the implementation team?

We implemented it ourselves.

What was our ROI?

The time savings depends on the process. By using a bot, we have saved 40 to 70 percent. If the process uses unattended automation, it saves a lot of time.

Currently, I don't think that we have saved money with this solution.

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

When I started working on it, it was difficult to obtain a trial version (barrier to entry). Now, they have a Community Edition, which may make it easy to get started.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We looked into UiPath, Blue Prism, and Automation Anywhere. Our client was interested in Automation Anywhere.

UiPath has an easier setup process.

What other advice do I have?

I recently took a look at the Bot Store, and it's a good initiative. I haven't started using it. I downloaded a couple of the bots, and hopefully soon, I will try to use some of them in a production environment.

The real beauty of robotic automation is when it is running from the back-end (unattended).

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