Automation Anywhere (AA) Review

Attended automation can help people organically build automation


What is our primary use case?

We are a biotech company. We make medicines to cure cancers. 

We use Automation Anywhere for intelligence automation or robotic process automation. So, we use it finance, accounting, and supply chain. We are actual using it across multiple functions in the company.

We have automated a number of processes in accounting and finance: month-end close, eliminating profits, reconciliation, some in HR, some in operations, inventory to sell, and various other finance and account processes.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature for Automation Anywhere is that it enables developers to build bots and feel like they can contribute.

I love the Bot Store. I encourage a lot of my staff to use it, because it changes the game and the time that it takes to build automation. It has a lot of reusable things that you can use off the bat.

My impressions of the front office attended automation are that it really changes the game from automation which doesn't have high value. It can actually help people organically build automation. It helps change the game for more wide spread use.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see a lot around API integration going forward, like the ability for other systems to talk to the AI better by opening it up. I would like to see more chatbots or anything in the journey of making it truly immersive for human workers working with these bots.

There are a couple things that have room for improvement: Its openness and more APIs should be exposed to allow people to integrate. How do you make it easier to integrate back with this technology?

I would like it to do more predict, which means if I have a thousand bots in product, how do I check which of the bots may be at risk of failing? This would really help in supporting the bots when scaling the programs.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have had the solution for quite some time.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The more later versions that you implement, the better that they get. Any enterprise software has its gaps, but it is how quickly it is being addressed. In the latest versions, it has become much better compared to what was there in the past. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have them implemented in a cloud-based environment. Cloud by itself allows you to scale. As long as the software works there, it allows you to really scale.

To scale from pilots to the current number of bots that we are using, it took three to six months. That was the time frame. We started pilots on some functions, and learning from our pilots was key.

How are customer service and technical support?

There is definitely some room for improvement there. It is sort of a hit and miss with their support engineers, you have some really good ones and some that aren't. Consistency is the key. There is room to get consistent. I am giving them the feedback, because as you get more customers, support becomes the linchpin where you can either drive a customer away or get them to use the product more.

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

For the last year, we were really focused around using it for the right purposes and processes. We have had fragmented solutions, then we decided to pick one player. We already had the tool (Automation Anywhere). It was more about doubling down on our investment on one product, then really getting good at using it. 

How was the initial setup?

We have had the solution for a long time. As you go to cloud-based solutions, there are some nuances, which is less about the initial setup and more about when you have a version that you need to migrate or update. This is an area where we have faced some hiccups, but we were able to get around them.

What about the implementation team?

We used a combination of an integrator and consultant for the deployment. We have used many different companies who are premium partners with Automation Anywhere, and we are also focused on building a COE internally, so we can do some of it ourselves. 

What was our ROI?

We measure ROI by a number of factors: 

  • Hard savings from cost dollars
  • Looking at the NPV over number of years.
  • Labor
  • What control or compliance things that we could be saving.
  • Productivity
  • Employee satisfaction. 

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

Roughly, as of today, it is around $250,000 annually.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We had literally everything under the sun, like WorkFusion and UiPath. It was more about focusing on Automation Anywhere, and only if we hit a roadblock that the solution could not solve, then we should look at the other tools.

What other advice do I have?

I would say that they are a nine out of ten. Because if they are a ten, then they sit back and relax. To get a ten, there are some small tweaks to be done. I think the company is going in the right direction. It just needs more focused attention in certain small gaps, then they will get there.

The ease of use is its key novel feature. It is much better than earlier versions. I have actually trained people in finance who have not written a piece of code in their lives. They are able to pick it up. There is a learning curve, some it takes them some time, but it is definitely easy for them to use. I have a couple of folks who have not done automation before, and now they are able to go back to their jobs where we used to build automation for functions. They can now understand what we built for them and actually contribute to a certain extent for it.

Get started with the tool. Think of the structure because using the technology is not the problem, it is more on the governance and how to use it. How can you maximize your benefits that you are receiving? It is about getting your hands dirty and trying it on small PoCs. That is how we started; we started on small PoCs. That's the key.

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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