Automation Anywhere (AA) Review

Process recording saves implementation time, and the scheduler lets us automate outside of business hours

What is our primary use case?

We use this solution for updating manual tasks such as downloading, processing, and uploading.

An example of this is manual posting, where the customer is asking for money to be posted. For example, let's say that some extra money is posted by mistake. That has to be reconciled and be pushed back to the actual owner.

Another example is bank transfer, where the customer is requesting money to be transferred from one bank to our bank. We generally interact with the customer and the bank, and there are several transactions that need to be completed. We now have this as a Complete Conditional Automation, where depending on the status, one of several sub-processes will be triggered and completed.

How has it helped my organization?

This solution has helped us in several ways, the first of which is scheduling processes.

There are many processes that need to be run during office hours, which is fine, but there are many that can be run outside of office hours. By taking care of these processes outside of office hours, it improves our efficiency. Also, if the bot were only being used for eight hours out of a possible twenty-four hours then the cost-per-hour is higher.

The recording feature accelerates the timeline of your implementation. It means that it takes you less time with lesser investment. The resource cost becomes less and brings your break-even point closer.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the recording feature. If you compare to a solution like Blue Prism, in that case, you need to build everything from scratch. Here, you record everything and then it is easy for you to build the automation. There is a skeleton in place, and you just have to build from there.

The scheduler is a really helpful feature for us because there was a time when people used to do attended automation, and they needed to run the software. This lets us schedule it to run at any time.

What needs improvement?

I would like to leverage the AI component without the requirement to know a coding language, such as Python.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This solution is pretty stable. We only had issues with the previous version.  We don't have any malfunctions so far, although, with the older version, we faced some object de-capturing issues. We had captured where it was supposed to hit, and it was hitting elsewhere. With the new version, so far so good.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Considering the automation that we have done, we have not been required to scale.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support for this solution is excellent. They organize video chats and were able to guide us initially when it was installed. They gave good training to people and helped with some development activities. They are also fast in responding to issues.

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

We have used Blue Prism and there are some differences between the two solutions. The first is that Automation Anywhere provides you free training, and Blue Prism does not. You have to take the time to attend class, and you have to pay for the software to do some hands-on. Even then, you don't know if you will get the latest version. On the other hand, with Automation Anywhere, you have the Community Edition. This is good enough for a beginner to learn on.

The recording feature in Automation Anywhere helps a lot because you don't have to build everything from scratch, brick-by-brick.

Finally, Automation Anywhere is evolving faster than Blue Prism.

How was the initial setup?

I was not there when the solution was initially set up, but I assisted with the upgrade.

There was a misunderstanding between the infrastructure team, our team, and the Automation Anywhere team, which was a major issue. It was unclear how the servers were going to be set up and who was going to install. Nobody knew what the requirements were, and as a result, things took longer than they should have.

What other advice do I have?

We recently upgraded versions from 10.5 to 11.3.2, and the newer version is better. The major issue we used to face is an auto-login failure. It caused a lot of havoc with the customers because some process that had to run in the morning before we came into the office had not run. However, with this new version, that problem has been solved. There were also a few applications that were not previously compatible, and we were told that they would be with this new version. So far, the ones we have checked are now compatible. 

One example of these is Phoebus. There are some legacy banking applications that we are moving to Phoebus, so this has to be compatible because our future automation depends on that.

I am looking forward to using the AI in this new version. I want to see how user-friendly it is, without much knowledge of Python or another coding language. I saw a video and it seems to have become very user-friendly, with a step-by-step guide. I want to see how easy it is to leverage that power without needing to know how to code.

For anybody who is researching RPA solutions, I would definitely tell them to go with the top players in the market. These are UiPath, Blue Prism, and Automation Anywhere. Then, you do your cost analysis and figure out who is giving you the best price. Then you analyze the service to figure out who is providing the best service. Finally, you can compare.

I recommend Automation Anywhere considering my experience with their service. Once you buy the product, the product may be good. But, if the service is not good then you may suffer. If you have a problem and you do not have service for three days, then how much business have you lost in that time? So, service matters a lot after you purchase the product. That is how you choose the solution, rather than by cost alone.

In our experience, Automation Anywhere is great, but I am expecting more in the AI and with the IQ Bot.

I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.

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