Automation Anywhere (AA) Review

Delivered results by creating personalized emails using a digital correspondence strategy


What is our primary use case?

We started with finance use cases. Some of our biggest success stories have been with collection correspondence strategy around AR and the cash application. We also focus a lot on the financial close process to the month-end processes. These are the biggest areas of focus. We are starting to look at AP in finance. Beyond finance, we're also trying to look at the sales processes. 

Finance was sort of a pilot. We are now looking at sales processes starting from the customer order handling to services, and how we can enrich the experience. Our goal is to enhance the customer experience.

We have a suite of technology products. Most of the time, there is communication between various products. We get a number of emails from our customers that we send out. E.g., our system is based on some criteria that sends emails out to customers. Therefore, there is a lot of user interface level interaction. However, we always look at the problem statement and work through that.

How has it helped my organization?

We are a B2B company. We have a lot of communication with our customers in terms of collection correspondence, such as payment reminders. We started with the problem: Should we be a company focused on heavily calling as all companies traditionally are? Or, change that using Automation Anywhere, but how do we communicate with customer using the tool as it is more interactive and individual-driven. We created personalized emails using a digital correspondence strategy. This is an areas where we have delivered results. 

What is most valuable?

It is easy to code. While you have developers, somebody with a development or workflow mindset can logically build a bot in Automation Anywhere by understanding how to put a process in a workflow. If you have that, then you can logically build a bot in Automation Anywhere. Even a non-IT or business user can just look at the bot language and understand what the bot is doing, and that's the easy part. This is an interesting part of the product that we are trying to capitalize on.

They consistently endeavor to improve the customer experience. Customer success is their motto. The organization clearly knows who they are and what they stand for. 

What needs improvement?

We are one of the smaller startups in the area so we experience a lot of issues. Most of the issues have been: 

  • How do you build up your platforms? 
  • Automation Anywhere is more geared toward how humans work, and a bot works differently.

These are the specific challenges that we have seen.

Some small issues:

  • A bot will be working and the the screen will lock out.
  • The app has a password change policy every few days.
  • One day, there will be a message box saying that the application is down or not available on a weekend. The instructions will say read the information and click, "Okay." But a bot doesn't understand the instructions because it is not the IQ system.

There are a lot of initiatives going on. E.g., there is one for the Excel part where they are building a plugin in Excel. Those type of plugins would help if they were built in various applications for integration across applications. I would like more plugins overall. It would be nice to have a plugin for all applications, like PowerPoint or any PDF to text converter, to make the tool easier to work with.

On the user side, we have seen issues with user training.

The product still requires programming knowledge. We would like it to become easy enough to use where anyone in the organization can utilize the tool and use the bots. The usability should be at the same level as a Microsoft Suite product. This is on Automation Anywhere's roadmap to evolve toward this.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is an evolving platform, but it's fairly stable.

They have frequent upgrades. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is dependent on the organization and customer size, but it's a stable platform.

We have not faced issues as we have scaled up.

How are customer service and technical support?

They have a good 24/7 support system. Even if there is an issue, we are able to solve it.

The ticketing system: You create a ticket and can get support 24/7. That's already a big thing for us. We have had good reviews on it.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was fairly straightforward. Automation Anywhere did a lot of hand-holding through it

What about the implementation team?

We used Automation Anywhere as our initial service provider.

What was our ROI?

Our return on investment has more been based on improving things which we could not do earlier. There were some aspects of processes which we had to outsource because we were not able to do these in-house. Our return on investment is based on bringing these outsourced services and processes back in-house. In addition, ROI is based on doing things to improve the customer experience.

We have also seen ROI based on employee experience. Quantification is not easy. We cannot quantify it, but we have millennials coming into the workforce who don't want to do "boring" activities. If you tell them that the organizations has a digital workforce concept, this is a driver for them to think that the organization is the way that it should be. This is bigger than dollars when quantifying value.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Automation Anywhere presented a pitch for the IT solutions that we have. 

We considered the top three vendors. We chose Automation Anywhere because of the customer engagement drives and their integrated services team. The other vendors didn't have this. Automation Anywhere's service team stands out.

If you're starting out and a smaller organization, their arrangement of products helps. Product-wise, there are some pluses and minus in everything

What other advice do I have?

Think of what is the best fit for your organization in terms of a technology platform. Also, have goals in mind, like improving the customer experience, not reducing the FTEs in your organization.

Going forward, there will be new releases on the cloud. 

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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