Automation Anywhere (AA) Review

We have seen the tangible benefits of taking monotonous work off people's plates, creating capacity, and cost reductions


What is our primary use case?

Today, we use Automation Anywhere to build out the capacity within our organization. We use it to help us figure out opportunities, then remove some of the busy/transactional work, which employees don't want to be doing.

How has it helped my organization?

From an organizational perspective, it has improved how we work and determine, "Is there a better way to do things?" and, "How can we challenge the status quo?" This builds a continuous improvement mindset throughout our organization. This is in addition to some of the tangible benefits of taking monotonous work off people's plates, creating capacity, and cost reductions.

What is most valuable?

Ease of use is a valuable feature.

The ability to scale is probably the number one reason that we chose Automation Anywhere. We are able to build automation fairly quickly, and they are fairly scalable. 

We can rinse and repeat a lots of swap-out pieces, as necessary.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Once we got the tool going and were fairly familiar with it, we were able to scale the solution. Our developers love it. It is fairly simple to use. Sometimes, we are able to even bring people on fairly quickly, like interns, and have them use the software. Then, we are able to see some real benefit out of it fairly quickly.

At pilot, we had around four bots. Today, we have 85 bots, and that is over 12 to 13 months.

How was the initial setup?

Every tool has challenges. With Automation Anywhere, it took us a bit of time to stand it up initially. We tried to do it in a virtual environment, which caused us a bit of headache. It could have been smoother in this aspect.

What about the implementation team?

Originally, when we started our process of standing up our center of excellence (CoE), we used ISG to help build the scale, increase the number of bots, and help deliver use cases for our work.

What was our ROI?

When we measure ROI, we look at four buckets:

  1. Capacity creation
  2. Cost avoidance
  3. Cost reduction
  4. Increased accuracy and reduction of errors. 

We have a calculator that we created. We have some inputs, then based on what we realize, we receive an output or number stating, "This is the benefit that the automation gave us."

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We looked at Blue Prism, UiPath, and Automation Anywhere. The reason that we chose Automation Anywhere was its ease-of-use and some of its market capabilities. We were also familiar with the tool from an outsource service provider.

What other advice do I have?

Give the tool a try. Get the business onboard. Build some quick, easy bots at first. Then, you will be able to see the capabilities of the tool quickly.

Our bot creation process is fairly robust. We have a centralized model with a good process from beginning to end, which involves engaging our business partners, documenting the as-is, looking at the future state, then coding the automation. We leverage Automation Anywhere, as a tool in our tool belt, and one that we've enjoyed adding because it increases our capability to change processes going forward.

Automation Anywhere integrates pretty well with the other applications that we use. We like to go the API route through Automation Anywhere, but we are always looking at customer web portals or the portals of our suppliers, as we have pretty good integration capabilities.

We are looking forward to using the bot monitoring capabilities in version 11.

We haven't used the cognitive document processing capabilities of Automation Anywhere.

I have not taken any Automation Anywhere University courses.

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