Kryon RPA Review

Helps us find and prioritize processes that are ripe for automation, while .NET plugins make it scalable


What is our primary use case?

We only use unattended bots right now. We build processes to help business departments in our company to improve processes through automation of pretty easily "bot-able" ideas.

How has it helped my organization?

We have a bot that creates a proposal using a request-for-proposal template that people fill out. We then create the proposal, based on that information, on our internal site. Another one is where we mail out payroll files that come in by reading a portion of the file to get payroll dates and the like. Those are two of our really big ones. The payroll bot saved 15,000 hours last year. For the other one, while I don't have specific metrics on total time saved, it went from a 30-minute, manual prep process to an eight-minute bot process.

It has helped us to find and prioritize processes that are ripe for automation, when we go searching for ideas. We just haven't been able to reach every department in our company yet because we're a big company and there's only so much time.

Our business users love it. Those 15,000 hours saved are a fantastic result and we're at a 99 percent success rate. Our bots very rarely fail, and if they do, most of the time it's because something is wrong with one of the websites that we are using and an unexpected error pops up. But they are loving it.

Finally, it has helped to reduce employee errors.

What is most valuable?

We do have bots where we use .NET plugins to make some of them faster, but other than those, I have built most of the bots that we have. Even though I'm in IT, I'm a business analyst. As a business user, it's so easy to use. With the recording of the processes, we didn't need to hire a specific developer. We do have one now because there was only one of me, but we are able to build most of our processes without having to develop the actual development skillset. It's nice to have that skillset here, because we can scale by using .NET, but the simplicity is the biggest win.

What needs improvement?

At first, we had problems with the object detection but in this latest release it has been better, and I think it keeps getting better. They also came and trained us a little bit so that helped.

There are some known defects that are on our list for the next release, but that happens. It's technology. They're aware of them and they're working on them.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using Kryon in January of 2017.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability has been great. We've had one incident in a year-and-a-half, where we were down for about four or five hours. It affected everybody, not just our company. As far as I know there was a hotfix that they had to put out. But in all that time there has only been that one day.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability has been good because of the .NET aspect. If it wasn't for that, they wouldn't scale.

For example, we had one bot that we built which needed to run every day to download documents off a website. It had to go download a lot, sometimes up to 500 documents a day. It never finished because the website wasn't stable enough to run for hours and hours. The bot would end up failing because it took hours. Now, we download one document now from the website and use .NET to split out the PDF files for each separate document that we need. Instead of downloading one at a time on the website, we use .NET to download one, and separate all 300 of them. If we didn't have .NET they wouldn't be able to scale.

With that capability I don't see any limitation to that scalability. .NET has been a lifesaver.

We had another one that we had to change recently because it took the bot six to eight minutes to do the whole process the way the business users were doing it. We needed to do 900 in a day. Even running it on two different servers, it wasn't going to get everything done in the time that we needed it done. Instead of throwing it away saying, "Sorry, we can't use it," we changed the process for the business users and said, "Hey, can we do it this way?" and used .NET. There is a little more front-end work that the users have to do if there are errors, but not very often. Most of the time it goes through. With .NET, it does the process in 30 seconds.

We use the. NET plugin everywhere that we can because it makes things faster.

How are customer service and technical support?

Their tech support is pretty good. The people I've worked with have been good. The time zone issue sometimes was difficult at first, but they've fixed that with a USA support team now. It's gotten much better.

In terms of customer service, everyone that I've worked with is great. Ryan is our guy and he's very good. Whenever we've had to escalate things — we've had some issues with bugs and things that we weren't expecting — he has done all of the escalations for us. 

They came out here and gave us a four-day-long training but it just wasn't going to work for us to go to them in September or October when they were going to have more training. So instead of us going, they offered to come to our office and have a mini-training session with just us. That was awesome. That was part of their standard service.

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

We did not have a prior solution.

How was the initial setup?

I was not included in our initial setup. That was done before I was brought onto the team. But I am familiar with upgrades. 

The first upgrade that we did was not fun at all. It took seven or eight hours. The second time, when we upgraded to the 19.1 version, it was an hour-and-a-half, both because we got better and because they provided better documentation. We also got a QA environment, which we didn't have before. When we installed our QA environment, I don't think it even took half a day.

Part of the difficulty with the upgrades was that we didn't know any steps that we should have taken, because their documentation wasn't step-by-step. So we were on the phone with them, walking through the upgrade the first time. We missed steps because the documentation wasn't there. But the second time, the documentation was great. We knew exactly what to do. Our app engineer had all the setup stuff done before we had our meeting with Kryon, and we just walked through it. It was awesome.

There were two of us, from our organization, involved in the upgrades. Kryon had people on the phone but they weren't doing anything. They were just watching us.

In terms of maintaining the solution, there's one person who handles all the bot servers and there's one admin on Kryon but he's super-part-time. It takes maybe five percent of his time. I haven't had to talk to him for weeks. And there are two of us on the team who handle the support and the bot building. There are six departments that we have built bots for, and I don't know how many people are in those departments, but they don't handle anything with them. They don't have access to Kryon. We handle everything.

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

The OCR reader, to help read non-digital PDFs, has a separate charge. We don't have that plugin. The only other cost that I know was separate, at the time, is the Process Discovery. I don't know if that's included in a bundle now.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated Automation Anywhere and Blue Prism. I wasn't involved in all of that process, but the biggest thing in our decision to go with Kryon was that IT didn't need to own it. Although our IT has it right now, a process improvement team could have actual business users building processes. It can't just be them, because we have to have oversight with the .NET stuff. But with the easiness of it, we just had to go with Kryon.

What other advice do I have?

The biggest lesson we've learned through our time using it is the .NET component for scaling. One of our biggest lessons is to use that wherever possible because it makes things so much quicker. Also, if you look at some of our old bots that we built versus some of the bots we build today, it's crazy that we even knew what we were doing. The process flows and understanding what can and can't be bot-able, have gotten way better.

My advice would be to have a team. Make sure there's a developer so you can do plug-in things and make sure that you understand the setup and the admin tool. That was a huge lesson learned for us, going back. The way we did the setup was incorrect so we had to re-record all of our bots the first time, and that was a disaster. We didn't have it set up right because nobody told us how to do it. We didn't have that support at the front-end, for the setup pieces, for everything we were doing. 

And always have a QA environment first. We did not have a QA environment. When we first went live we didn't know it was an option, and I don't know if it was an option at the time. I imagine it's standard now. We have a QA environment now, but we don't have any data set up or any automation to set data up so we can't test bots in QA. We have to test them in production because we didn't go through that work. Testing was a mess. That's no longer true for our current bots, the ones we're building today, but it was a mess for all of our old production bots, anytime changes were needed. So always have a QA environment or a Dev environment.

It's been hard to get it off the ground. We have a really small team, so there are not very many examples. We have quite a few bots that have saved a lot of time, but I know that we could have way more. We just need a team, and I think we're going to get one, although not right this second. Kryon hasn't helped our workforce embrace the digital transformation of our organization because we only have that small team right now. People are seeing things and say, "Yeah, that's awesome," but we can only move so fast because we're so small. So people are not super-excited about it yet. They still need more exposure to it. We have about 15 bots in production right now, but it's pretty much focused on one section of our organization, and we're a huge organization. We have plans to increase our usage of the solution. There's a whole new process improvement team coming. Once we get out there more, I'm sure it will expand.

The Kryon Process Discovery is not included in our license right now. We just haven't done it yet. We've looked into it but we haven't done it yet because it's pretty complex. With the version that we saw originally — it might be different now — when it first came out, you needed special computers for it which we would have had to buy and deploy for the users who use the processes. It wasn't something that we were going to do at the time. It's not something that we have thrown off the table, but at the moment we're not using it.

Just learning what bots do, what RPA does, what I can and can't do, has been part of it. I can go to any business unit, now that I've built bots, and say, "Yeah, I can do that," or "That's not a good idea." I know exactly what I can and can't do in Kryon. I don't know if any other tool can do things better because I've never seen any other tool, but I know what I can and can't do in Kryon.

The original training that we got was a week long and we were trying to build bots in that same timeframe. So we didn't get a whole lot at that time. When we took their training classes online and had them come to us and train us in more in-depth, it helped a lot.

Everything that we do use, that we know how to use, works nicely. I love it but I'm not going to give it a ten out of ten because there are issues. I would go with an eight. They've gotten so much better at all their stuff. The tech support was part of our issues for a long time, but it has gotten a lot better. They're getting all the training classes online and they keep those pretty updated. They have a community now. They're learning and growing and they always ask us for feedback on every aspect. They put that in their backlog for future prioritization. They're listening to us.

**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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