Automation Anywhere (AA) Review

Bot Insight analytics was a key factor in our decision to go with this solution

What is our primary use case?

We use it for automating manual processes that are done by people now, data-entry type tasks.

How has it helped my organization?

We're using it to process line items in invoices. We get the invoices via Excel and we have to validate the accuracy of the line item charges. We get them once every two weeks and there are about 30,000 to 40,000 line items, and each one has to be validated. With a person doing it, it would cost more money than it would save to catch the defects. But to have a bot do it is much better because a person can only sample a certain amount. Now, we can have the bot check all of them.

What is most valuable?

There are a lot of valuable features. It's a very complex piece of software. One of the most valuable features is the different possibilities it gives you to manipulate the interface screens that you're working with. It's helpful to have a certain solution already baked into the environment. 

You really need a four-hour conversation about specific features because there are a million moving parts inside of the software. It's not that one feature is so helpful, and that I decided to purchase it over something else because of that.

What needs improvement?

Having some more pre-mapping and pre-setup analysis of what you're going to be doing with it would be helpful.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using Automation Anywhere for five months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is good. The only issues we've had with the product have been responded to pretty quickly. We've also had some infrastructure issues on our side. But on the Automation Anywhere side, it's been pretty good.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

So far, it's scalable.

We have four developers doing the developing in Automation Anywhere. We set it up so that things are triggered automatically by somebody putting a file in a folder. Right now, we have seven bots in production for seven departments.

The four developers handle deployment and maintenance of the solution.

We're looking to increase usage of the solution. We're doing a workshop in a few weeks to bring a lot of our managers in to get them thinking about things that exist in their areas that can be automated.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support, so far, has been pretty good. We haven't had any major issues and the ones we did have were answered pretty quickly.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

This is a brand-new implementation. We didn't have a previous solution.

How was the initial setup?

The setup was a pretty complex undertaking. We're a global company. We have our virtual IT management done in Switzerland, while our hardware is in New Jersey. So to get the different stakeholders of Automation Anywhere within our company working together to iron out the Control Room stuff and the virtual side of things, as well as the on-prem software side of things - to have it all connecting properly - was a pretty complex implementation.

The setup of just the developer environment and the actual Bot Runners took about three weeks. As far as building the bots goes, we haven't scaled as far as we can, yet.

We didn't really have a deployment strategy, per se. We just followed the action items that we were given to do by Automation Anywhere. We're still working on how to implement it across our organization. We have Automation Anywhere coming in with some Professional Services people in a few weeks. We still have to work on getting things moving with the managers, teaching them what are good processes to automate, etc.

What about the implementation team?

We deployed ourselves. We own a technology company, so we had that benefit.

What was our ROI?

So far, we haven't seen return on investment, but I think we're getting there.

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

Yearly, our licensing costs are about $90,000 to $100,000. There will be additional licensing costs when we add more Bot Runners to our infrastructure.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated UiPath. We went with Automation Anywhere primarily because of the bot analytics, called Bot Insight. The analytics capability was a big one. UiPath didn't have the kind of functionality we were looking for in analytics.

What other advice do I have?

Definitely do a very thorough infrastructure assessment first and make sure you're all set up there. Do some testing of the solution on any proprietary software that only exists inside of your company. Have a good understanding of what you're looking to automate. Don't just take a manager's word for it, but really look at it yourself to make sure that the process doesn't have any decisions that have to be made by a person or that there aren't some small things there that might stop you from automating.

I would rate Automation Anywhere at eight out of ten. It would have been good if they had helped us be a little bit more realistic about feasibility. If they had asked us for some examples of processes that we're looking at automating and had pre-tested some of those, it would have been helpful. The expectations of what we thought was possible, versus what appears to be possible, were a little bit off. They should investigate, early on, exactly what you're trying to do to make sure it's a good fit and set expectations.

Which version of this solution are you currently using?

**Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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