Automation Anywhere (AA) Review

Developer-friendly, easy to learn and use, with powerful features such as the MetaBot

What is our primary use case?

I use automation for finance. For example, SAP, Oracle, and other applications. In the past nine months, I have automated approximately thirty-five hundred hours. Next year we expect to reach at least eighty-five hundred hours.

How has it helped my organization?

All of my leaders are pushing us to use automation because they're thinking that other companies are ahead of us. I am looking forward to working on the IQ Bot to see how it might make my life easier.

Recently, the auditors were looking for a tool to assist them with checking incidents. For the American region, there were between twenty-seven and thirty thousand incidents, which as a human we cannot search manually. For each one, they have to check what the incident is, and verify whether they have the proper data. Because the audit was only going to run for one or two months, they wanted the results in ten days. I spent about one and a half days building a bot and started running it. The bot was moved to production, and within seven days, I was able to get all of the details in Excel format to them. They can filter it, see whatever fields are empty, and they can do the audit. They got one hundred percent sampling, which they were happy about. Our plan now is to sell the Bot to the project owners so that instead of having the auditor catch problems, they can run it every month and see what improvements they need and where it is lagging. The bot will educate the team.

What is most valuable?

The MetaBot is a very good feature that allows me to do things that were not available in earlier versions. I can now run multiple commands, instead of just one.

It is easy to develop using this solution, and it doesn't take much technical skill. It is very easy to integrate any of the macros or DB scripts. It is easy to find people who can work with this solution, unlike Blue Prism, where it is hard to get candidates.

What needs improvement?

I would like to have the MetaBot screen name title dynamic instead of static. This would allow us to use wild card entries and make our lives much easier. As it is now, we cannot automate using MetaBot because the screen name changes. The only way it can be done is to use multiple MetaBots.

We are having a problem when trying to automate the opening of very large Excel files. One example is our 70MB Excel file, which normally takes approximately twenty minutes to open. Automation Anywhere crashes before it opens, so we moved it to Instaknow-ACE, which is another RPA tool. It imports the Excel file, creates its own database, and then you perform whatever operation you want. After this, it generates the output result without crashing. If this were fixed in Automation Anywhere then it would be a large benefit because we are in a phase of moving away from smaller automation. We are doing a lot with bigger data, and most of it is still in Excel files instead of a database. It isn't the fault of Automation Anywhere because it is Excel that is crashing, but we need to have a feature where Automation Anywhere can import Excel files directly.

The stability of this solution needs to be improved.

The OCR capability needs to be improved to be made more accurate.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using this solution for more than five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Compared to earlier versions it's a lot more stable, but it still needs a lot of improvement in terms of the OCR. We are getting more OCR projects where we have to scan and get data from contracts and give it to the auditors, or other people. The data includes things like region and the product that was ordered. It is very difficult for me to scan because I can't tell customers that it isn't accurate. Sometimes, it will read the letter "I" as the number one, which is one of the issues we are facing. The upper management thinks that everything is ok, but as a developer, I know that there is a problem. If you were to come to me and ask for an OCR to be done, I could only guarantee you about eighty percent accuracy. If I tell the customer that there might be twenty percent errors, they may not be happy.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is very good. Compared to others, Automation Anywhere is on top.

We have more than eight hundred developers in our company, and most do not have a technical background.

How are customer service and technical support?

I do not deal with technical support directly. We have a COE who deal with technical support, and my team speaks with them. If there is a problem that they cannot fix then they go to Automation Anywhere.

What about the implementation team?

Our COE took care of the implementation of this solution.

What was our ROI?

What it takes a human ten hours to do, automation should complete it in one hour. In the past ten months, I have saved the work of two people. People are happy with the results.

What other advice do I have?

We are still in the procurement process for IQ Bot, but I am looking forward to seeing how it is going to help me.

My advice for anybody who is considering RPA is to use Automation Anywhere because it is easier. You can learn it, but if you go for other solutions then it will be more difficult. Not all of the people in our company are from a technical background. Many are BCOM graduates and analysts, but they are being trained in using this solution.

This is a good solution, but it still needs improvement and there is a long way to go. Artificial Intelligence still needs to be added.

If they allow the direct import of data from Excel, improve the OCR, and allow variables to be used in the MetaBot start screen, then this solution would be perfect.

I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.

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