IBM Robotic Process Automation (RPA) Review

Once you have automated a business process it offers a readily available workflow


What is our primary use case?

It's used at a high level by about 100 users. A few of them are customer agents and a few of them are in the operations team. Currently, the product is deployed on a container-based platform, called Cloud Pak. We have created containers for our solutions for Automation on the OpenShift cluster.

How has it helped my organization?

If you have a business process, and once you have automated that process, you have a readily available workflow in place. We are using it after a sale is done, the next step is that the RPA calculates the offer and offers it to the customer. We have implemented this in sales.

What is most valuable?

Number one, you can record your actions, number two, you can orchestrate between the human task and bots. The biggest benefit is that you can orchestrate between the human tasks, system tasks, and the bots. That is what the complete IBM portfolio can provide. No other solution I have seen can provide this level of flexibility. In addition to that, we have the IBM Business Analytics insight as well, which is like real-time dashboards. 

What needs improvement?

The way the robots are being used actually. We need to design the robot to instantiate it based on some event or human intervention. If that can also be automated, that would be good. That would be an additional workflow completed. The next step after that would be to use the RPA service. Some things which require human intervention can also be automated using some decision management, based on rules. If there's a framework which does all of this part, that would be good I think. RPA should be configured as a part of business process management and built-in.  For the user, it shouldn't matter if he is using RPA or he's using none of the automation. It should be seamless from their viewpoint. So they would just use drag and drop, choose the features they wanted, and that would be it. RPA and BPM in one solution and RPA encapsulated inside BPM. This RPA should be under the umbrella of BPM. This is what the future should be. 

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using IBM Robotic Process Automation (RPA) for less than one year. I'm the analyst for this project. My responsibility is to design the system, but I am not the developer for the project. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

For now, it is stable because the best thing we have is the scalability as part of our cloud-native application. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The size of a container is quite small. I think it's only a single MB, so not big. Initially, we started from 20 containers and it grew to around 50 containers or maybe more, depending on the configuration. I think we now have approximately 50 to 100. The assumption is that each container will run a separate process.

How are customer service and technical support?

We have raised some support tickets, but not very often. We have trained staff also, and therefore we have several teams which could potentially deal with support.

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

One is the IBM RPA. as a company, we are using UiPath as well. But IMB RPA is the one which my team is using as part of this Cloud Pak for Automation.

How was the initial setup?

I think it's complex, and not straightforward.

What about the implementation team?

Now that it is based in the cloud, it is an easier process and minimises the time for deployment. We are using the OpenShift OCP platform to achieve this. It's like a gateway for the infrastructure team which manages the servers and the cloud server. IT operations take care of the operational activities, and the Gateway infrastructure team does the deployment. IT operations provide support, so we are using three to four resources. 

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

IBM licensing is annual and based on Virtual Processor Cores (VPC). This provides flexibility as part of the containerization environment. The licenses can be allocated across multiple products. So for example, if you have IBM BAW, Business Automation Workflow,  ODM, Operational Decision Management, and IBM Datacap, or whatever product you are using, you can allocate the licenses to your needs. This provides licensing flexibility, as opposed to single licenses for standalone products. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We considered Automation Anywhere and UiPath. However, IBM RPA i's a part of one bundle. The Business Automation Workflow can directly integrate with the IBM RPA. The business becomes more robust. Your platform gives you more flexibility to integrate with multiple different types of tasks. 

What other advice do I have?

Based on what you want to do, you can automate your processes in the organization. You need to have a roadmap as part of digital transformation and application modernization. I would give this solution 8 out of 10.  

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Private Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

IBM

Which version of this solution are you currently using?

19.0.0.1.
**Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: partner
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