Automation Anywhere (AA) Review

IQ Bot can process all scanned PDF documents and give the results in an Excel file

What is our primary use case?

We are currently using it for a lot of projects, like repetitive or manual tasks. We are building bots to free human beings from boring jobs/tasks. We are working daily on Automation Anywhere to automate our processes.

We are using it on-premise. We are not using cloud for deployment. As of now, we are running it on our client machines. We develop automation on our desktops, then deploy our automation on our physical desktop using Automation Anywhere.

How has it helped my organization?

We have automated web scripting, downloading documents from particular websites, scraping data from websites, and extracting the data from PDF files. We are also updating the application with some user inputs. E.g., if you have an Excel sheet to update into a particular application, we can use Automation Anywhere tool and automate the process.

We have built some Java applications in Automation Anywhere. I have also coded macros and Python scripts to include in our Automation Anywhere tool.

What is most valuable?

The Automation Anywhere tool is very handy to use since I have some programming background, like I previously worked on Java. It's very easy to use Automation Anywhere because there is not much of coding involved. We just need to drag and drop the commands, then we can do the job.

Automation Anywhere is good for integrating other programming languages and other tools. The ease of use is very good, as we can directly code other programming languages, like Java or JavaScript, into our application and get output.

I have done work using a VPN, connecting via a remote desktop. The good thing about Automation Anywhere is if a client works without Internet, e.g., if we deploy on a client mission and the network is off, then a bot will still run offline.

If we want to read a scanned PDF, we use IQ Bot. Using the cognitive detail of IQ Bot and some machine learning abilities, we can train the IQ Bot to process all scanned PDF documents and give the results in an Excel file. This is a very good feature introduced by Automation Anywhere. IQ Bot is doing well.

The Bot Store is like a marketplace for bot developers. We already have some utility bots that are simple bots from there. We can download the bots from the Bot Store and use them in our current process. That's very helpful for the bot developers, especially for beginners who have just started with Automation Anywhere developing bots. There are a lot of bots deployed in the Bot Store. If you find any interesting bots, we can also upload bots to the Bot Store, making them available for everyone to download and use.

What needs improvement?

With attended automation, we need human intervention to provide input for bots. We make sure files are presented in a particular folder to pick up those files and feed it to the bot. Attended automation sometimes might go into exceptions, thus we need to monitor it in-between, then check whether it is working properly. This way, we ensure the bot is working properly.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Automation Anywhere for one year.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Currently, I have developed between 20 to 25 bots. From when I started, we have deployed as a team between 30 to 40 bots. Their status is as fully running on our client machines.

How are customer service and technical support?

We collaborate as a team if any face roadblocks or issues, discussing among our colleagues. Then, we involve the Automation Anywhere support team. They are very good. We can raise a ticket and get knowledge from their team. They help us resolve any issues.

How was the initial setup?

The bot creation workflow is pretty simple. We check for feasibility, and if it is feasible, then we go about creating bots for the task. We have some measurements for ROI. We check the return on Investment to determine if it's feasible or not. We check the typical measurements, then go for Bot creation. After creating the bot, we don't have a production environment after creating the bot. We just deploy and run that bot.

If the process is huge and involves 10 to 20 steps, then it might take from creation to production three to four weeks of time. If it is a simple bot, it involves just launching a website and scraping data from the PDF, then putting it in Excel. For that type of bot, we can build it in one week and deploy it in seven to 10 days.

What was our ROI?

The return of investment on Automation Anywhere very good because I have automated some processes, like scraping the data from websites and updating some applications, and if we deployed full-time employees on these tasks, it would take more than a year and a half. However, if we automate the process and deploy a bot, it can be completed in just a month of time. The ROI is very good because the output is very accurate and the speed is very fast.

Our company is investing a lot of money in Automation Anywhere. They have saved money wherever humans are working. They invest a lot of money in FTEs and other logistics, so the money saving is very pretty good with Automation Anywhere. While I don't know the exact figure, the tool is saving us millions of dollars as well as saving about 40,000 hours in the last year. 

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

Currently, we are using attended automation. We do have unattended bots but are in the process of procuring some other licenses. In future, we will make a few bots unattended as well.

What other advice do I have?

I did the Advanced Certification on Automation Anywhere University. I have also done IQ Bot learning. I am currently doing a Masters Certification. The courses are very clear. Any user can understand the content. If you are a beginner, go with Automation Anywhere. If you have some basic programming knowledge, that is enough. You can easily learn Automation Anywhere. It is not a big deal, and you can learn with the certification.

If a person doesn't have a programming background or skills, they can use Automation Anywhere and build bots. It's not a big deal. It's easy for business users to use. You just need some basic programming skills, like Ethernet and loops. 

I heard from Automation Anywhere that version A2019 will be released in either November or December. It is completely cloud-based and contains two IDs. One ID is a flowchart diagram and another ID has some commands. Therefore, any business user who has some basic knowledge can develop bots as well.

Version A2019 will be adding a lot of new features.

I haven't had a chance to work on Citrix automation.

**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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