Automation Anywhere (AA) Review

While the installation and setup are quite simple, it's not so easy to see the roadmap to RPA success


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What is our primary use case?

My primary use case with my current customer is automating various business processes used by a large financial institution.

What is most valuable?

Automation Anywhere is not necessarily a new technology, but what it does is it enables people who have a non-technical background to take advantage of the value of automated tools. When you look at businesses in the past, you had to have a really high level of programming skills to be able to even think about automating things. But with Automation Anywhere, you can actually teach somebody how to automate a business case in one day. So, to see people with no interest in coding get excited about automating things, that's huge. For a tool that can be fun to use and make people's job better on day one, that is the most valuable feature.

My impression of the Bot Store is good. It is a really smart offering. A lot of the time customers need the same things, and there's not necessarily a lot of logic in reinventing the wheel. When you take the Bot Store, you allow people to share knowledge, you allow best practices to be immediately adopted by users, and you can share good knowledge, saving a lot of time for customers. It's a really good thing.

What needs improvement?

A useful feature of Automation Anywhere, which is on the way, is the ability to use inline code for both Python and VBScript. The reason that this is so useful is a lot of the time people who are doing RPA are people with technical backgrounds who have been developers. Although, Automation Anywhere is very powerful, sometimes what you need to do is a very specific task which is accomplished more efficiently with code. So, I'm really excited that this feature is coming soon.

Another feature that would be cool to see in Automation Anywhere is more use of artificial intelligence. Right now, RPA is basically limited to a bot which is simply following the instructions that it was given. However, what would be really useful is if a bot was able to more flexibly respond to issues. For example, sometimes there are erroneous errors and pop ups. With good code, you can certainly build your bots to be able to handle that. However, it does take time and a bit of technical know-how to be able to do that. But because a lot of those technical challenges tend to be pretty similar, I would like to see Automation Anywhere include more robustness into the way that errors are handled.

The biggest area of improvement with Automation Anywhere is on the enablement side. A lot of the times, people have the capabilities with the tool, and it's all there, but it's not necessarily so easy to see that roadmap to RPA success. This is very new technology, and there's not a pre-walked path to success. It's unique to every organization, but there are certain commonalities. What Automation Anywhere could do to improve the solution is help customers understand what the tool is really capable of. Walk customers through what changes are needed both organizationally and in terms of infrastructure to really see success with RPA.

I've seen customers who have the licenses. They have the know-how. They have all the pieces from Automation Anywhere to achieve success. But, where they fell short was there maybe wasn't necessarily commitment from the right stakeholders within the organization or maybe there were other forces which were holding things back. What they needed was vision for it:

  • How can they operate efficiently? 
  • How should it work? 
  • How should it look? 
  • What roles are needed? 

These are the areas where I've seen customers struggle, and somewhere where Automation Anywhere could really improve.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

One of the best things about the stability of Automation Anywhere is that when you have an automation, even if the product changes, there are so many tools built into Automation Anywhere that allow you to take those little problems and spot an issue immediately. You can see the health of your bots at all times. The dashboards and analytics provided by Automation Anywhere allow you to have an overall picture of exactly what's happening with your bots. Even if something changes, because things will always break, when that happens you're able to spot it immediately. You know exactly what happened and can have it changed that day, and it's back in functional production. If you weren't able to spot those problems so easily, you wouldn't be able to scale. However, because of the tools provided in the Control Room and other features with the analytics that Automation Anywhere has, it is very easy to scale automation using Automation Anywhere.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I have a very positive impression of the scalability of Automation Anywhere. The Control Room enables you to take an automation that was built once and have it be deployed in a very effective way.

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

Customers who I've worked with in the past have told me that they chose Automation Anywhere because of the Bot Games. The great thing about Bot Games is it gives people a chance to really experience RPA. It's one thing to hear about what the tools are capable of, but when you actually get there on the ground and you see what these things can do, that's how you get customer buy-in. That is how you get the people on top and the people on the bottom all to agree that this is a product that we can really use and can add value to our organization today.

How was the initial setup?

The installation and setup of Automation Anywhere are quite simple. Most of the time that I've worked with customers setting up Automation Anywhere, it's gone off without a hitch. It's pretty much as simple as once your infrastructure is in place, you install the client and Control Room, then you can be ready to go building users and getting your automation started very quickly.

What other advice do I have?

On a scale of one to ten, I would rate Automation Anywhere a seven.

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