What is our primary use case?
We were using this solution for two main purposes. The first was to leverage the OCR capabilities, and the second was integration with Outlook to check email and retrieve attachments from email.
We were also looking at the workflow component, and how to orchestrate the bot and the process flow within Blue Prism.
This is all being done as a pilot project by one of our departments to assess the impact of implementing RPA.
How has it helped my organization?
An example of how this solution helped us is with our ticket creation process. When a client raises a ticket with us, we receive an attachment by email. We have to first read the content of the email and then the attachment. Next, we have to identify who the customer is, and based on that, we create a ticket and assign it to the appropriate team.
By using the automation in Blue Prism, we have reduced the manual activities of somebody reading those emails, figuring out whose account it is, deciding where it should go, and creating the ticket. All of these activities are automated.
What is most valuable?
The most valuable feature for us was the orchestration of the workflow. The way you design the flow and configure the activities for the bot is very useful if you are working with any of the BPM or local platforms. It made it very easy for the developers to work with assets.
What needs improvement?
I would like to see wider integration with other products. That way, while we work on other core systems like SAP or Salesforce, there are ready-made connectors that can get the data. It would make it easier for people to work with Blue Prism.
The next release would benefit from integration with artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies. For example, the OCR can populate fields in variables and proceed with a workflow. But adding intelligence to this, or integrating with a service such as AWS, would be useful.
For how long have I used the solution?
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
We did not find any issues with respect to stability or performance. We performed testing around the number of emails that were coming in and tried to see how fast the bot was able to process them. We also tried scheduling the bot to run at a specific time and checked to see if it was able to do so.
We did not perform extensive load testing efforts.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
An RPA scales as you add bots to your ecosystem.
We don't consider the number of users with respect to utilization. Rather, the solution is used by one of our departments. They have adopted RPA to handle one of its processes as a pilot project.
We have seen a lot of use cases, but it is still picking up. Not too many departments are coming up with RPA as a strategy, but I believe it will soon pick up.
How are customer service and technical support?
The only contact we had with technical support was during our initial setup. It was a minor issue that was solved pretty quickly.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
We did not use another RPA prior to this one.
How was the initial setup?
I do not want to call it complex, but it is not simple either. It is somewhere in between.
We set up our own sandbox environment to do the trial run and the POC. We did the initial setup, but we needed help from Blue Prism to some extent. I rate the complexity as medium-level because we needed help in setting up our infrastructure.
We had one developer involved, and there was a QA tester for the entire process. There was a back and forth mechanism between the developer and our tester. For deployment, there was an admin role who was taking care of our other system assets, such as the BPM and other platforms. The Blue Prism administration was taken over by the same person, so it does not require a specific admin.
What about the implementation team?
We handled the deployment ourselves and did not hire anybody from outside of the company.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
Other than your infrastructure, in terms of servers that you have to set up, I don't think that there are any costs in addition to the standard licensing fees.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
We did not do any formal evaluation of other products. We chose this solution because we are working with Appian BPM, and Blue Prism is a partner. This is what influenced us to look at this solution, and they work well hand in hand.
What other advice do I have?
We performed quite a few POCs to help understand the platform.
One of the most important things while working with RPA is choosing the right process, understanding the process, and ensuring that you pick the right process for RPA activities. That was the key to our success.
The process should not be too complex, and not be too simple. If it is too complex then it will take too much time to implement. At the same time, it should cater to your immediate needs so that you can demonstrate the tool's features to the leadership.
My advice is to do a pilot project before adopting any RPA platform. Try one or two key integrations, such as the Outlook and OCR integration that we have chosen.
Another important point is that there might be some fear in the team. Some people are concerned that bots are taking away jobs. It is important to ensure confidence in the team that the RPA will not replace humans. Rather, it will enhance their capabilities in terms of resources that are being used for mundane tasks. The message to take to the organization is that bots will handle the simple tasks, while humans can do more intelligent activities.
We have not fully explored the platform, but it is enough to capture our requirements.
I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.