Automation Anywhere (AA) Review

Designed for business users to utilize with a drag and drop functionality

What is our primary use case?

Right now, we have two business units which use it for automation, mostly for:

  • Back office
  • Shared services automation
  • Accounts payable
  • Accounts receivable
  • Most finance functions.

How has it helped my organization?

We have two different business units which have already begun their journey. One has been doing it for two years, and another one for one year. We have another two business units which will be beginning their journeys this Summer. Certainly, the value of it has been proven already in the business units which have already started their journeys. They have seen the value in terms of automating some of their redundant, important processes. This has allowed some of their users to move onto more value-added activities.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is that it is intuitive. It is designed so business users can use it with a drag and drop functionality to develop automation of business processes. Since they are the experts on business processes, there are probably the best ones to create the automation.

What needs improvement?

They designed the bot creation process where we can drag and drop and all of the commands are available to us on the left side of the screen, but in some ways, it can be overwhelming. There is a lot at a developer's fingertips to do their development process.

I would like the ability to extract the code. You can go line by line, then open up each line of code and dig into the details, but it would be nice to extract all of the lines of code and all of the details into a document so we could read through everything. Right now, there is no way to really consume all of the code at once, except line by line, which can be fairly time consuming if we don't really know what we are looking for.

As we deploy more solutions and take advantage of some of the features, like the Credential Vault, where we are introducing new administrative processes, we continue to have to go in and change passwords on a monthly basis. Tools that would make these administrative tasks more streamlined is an area where Automation Anywhere could really add value.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I love the new features that they're offering and the direction that they're going. We've tried to deploy some of them. Sometimes, we're running into some bugs in different things, so they haven't worked out all of the kinks yet. Hopefully, they can get some of these things resolved and continue introducing new features like they have been.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Our first business unit who started their journey two years ago went from one bot initially to about 55 over a two-year period. Typically, they were averaging a new bot about every two to three weeks. That was with a team of five to six people sort of dedicated to the process. We have had consistent growth with our numbers over that time.

How are customer service and technical support?

We have been pleased with the technical support. Their response times, capabilities, and patience when working with us, taking the time to understand the issues, and helping us to resolve them. This has improved over time. We are encouraging our users to use them as a resource when they do have questions or problems.

How was the initial setup?

I was involved in setting up our upgraded environment for the new version. The documentation that they provided us was very thorough. We chose to go back to our integrator (our consulting company) to help us build our new environment, just so we would have ready resources available if we ran into questions. However, in this situation, we were able, from start to finish, to build the new environment without many problems, by just following the documentation.

What about the implementation team?

We did initially use an integrator (consulting company) to do our training. That was a very important part of the process, and it helped us be successful.

What other advice do I have?

Automation Anywhere is a great tool. I have been in IT for 30 years, and am amazed at how far we have come with technology and tools to help us do our jobs. The ease of use and the power which the product offers you in a matter of minutes, if not just an hour, and what you can create with it.

It integrations really well with other applications, as long as you have access from the same computer which you're running the software on to your other systems. Then, it can interact with those other systems just as if you were any user who is on that same computer. From this aspect, it is more powerful than other tools which I am familiar with.

We are just starting to look into the solution's cognitive document processing by doing a proof of concept.

Early on, I did try a few of the Automation Anywhere University courses, mainly to get familiar with what was available, so I could guide others to the website for training. At this point, there hadn't been much there that I needed for myself. However, we have looked at the courses, and we are encouraging a lot of our business users to take advantage of the tools.

The important thing about any RPA tool is it has to be a collaborative effort between IT and the business. It needs to be driven by the business, or it won't be successful. An important overall goal or strategy to have as you start your journey: Have good buy-in and ownership from the business. They have to want to do this and take advantage of this new tool.

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