What is our primary use case?
We're mainly focused on finance for the time being so we've used UiPath for invoice processing and e-billing reconciliation. It makes sure that all of our converting information matches within our client databases. We've done a couple of solutions that track budget spend for certain clients, making sure that if the budget overruns or comes close to overrunning, then someone gets notified. If we get a new client or if a new legal case is opened, automation can make sure that all that information is then uploaded into our database.
We've done a couple of smaller automations for the legal teams. These have been fairly basic ones though. There were a couple that download files from an email for them, and then rename them with the correct naming conventions, and saves them into correct drives.
Another use case is to remove outdated users or information from our databases in line with the GDPR system.
How has it helped my organization?
In a general sense, UiPath has helped with data lineage, understanding where a process starts, who it rests with, and where it ends. It has made the process that we have automated a little bit more clear of which parts of the process are necessary, which are the parts that hold up the whole process, and which are the ones that are needlessly complicated.
For starters, it just helps give a bit more of an understanding of our processes once they're automated. Secondly, it's changed the way that we approach problems. We're tied into contracts that we might necessarily not want to be, but because we rely on the solution, we don't have a choice. Whereas, because UiPath is so versatile, we can use that to fill in gaps to take over processes, which otherwise in the past, we thought that only one specific tool could do for us. Now, we feel like we'd be less reliant on these specific tools to do a specific job.
Third, a lot of teams are starting to understand that things can be automated. Whether it's in finance, HR, or even the legal teams, we started speaking to all the different teams and now they're bringing work to us and they're getting an understanding of things that do need to be done by a person and which don't. People aren't just doing work for the sake of it now. If they think there isn't a point to something and it can be automated, they bring it to us and we automate it. So, it's changed the way that we look at processes and don't just hardheadedly get someone to do it for no reason.
It checks our invoice stage for one of the processes that we do for e-billing. Previously, there wasn't anyone to check the financial data that we have in our systems against our clients and our recipients, and making sure that it all matches up. That process wasn't done at all so a month or two months later, a client would come back to us and say, "Hang on, you billed a strong amount or you've put our billing address wrong" which is obviously a little embarrassing. These things went completely unobserved for months. The client had to chase us, complain, and tell us we needed to fix it. Whereas now, it's more of a proactive approach rather than waiting for clients to come to us and tell us that we've done something wrong. We actually have the automation that can check and then validate those mistakes before they're even a problem and before they're spotted by anyone.
We're still in the early stages but we are starting to reach the point where UiPath is speeding up the cost of our digital transformation.
The digital transformation has made a couple of the lawyers' jobs easier by getting rid of the admin staff. It's freed up time and it makes things easier for everyone.
UiPath has definitely reduced our processing times as well. It really depends on the process but it has sped up.
It has also decreased our error rates. At the moment we're looking to purchase an orchestration platform. At that point, we'll be able to collect more information about exact numbers and we'll actually have the analytics.
What is most valuable?
The ability to use APIs within UiPath is really helpful. The web scraping is really great. It's so easy to use, it's very intuitive, and it's usually pretty consistent. When web pages change you need to update it, but it makes it quick. If you need to do another quick process, it's really easy to get it quickly and set something up. I can just scrape data from a website and save it somewhere.
The ease of building automation depends. UiPath makes things that are fairly simple but looks a little bit tricky in another language really easy. But if you're trying to do something really complicated, then sometimes it can be a little bit more tricky. It depends, sometimes it's really simple for fairly basic automations, I think it's fantastic. But when you want to try and get into the nitty-gritty and try and write your own code and then stick in there, it can sometimes be a bit difficult to use.
What needs improvement?
The documentation can be a little bit lacking. I think they improved it a little bit last month. Last time I checked, it seemed like they spent a bit of time trying to improve it. Sometimes some of the processes are nicely documented. UiPath offers training, which they provide on their website. They teach you how to use it, but for some processes, it just seems like the documentation isn't really there. It makes it a little bit difficult when you're using a specific process from the first time.
If you're trying to invoke a method in UiPath, if you're trying to write a C# in there directly, or if you need to do something which can't really be done in UiPath, but it can be done in C# or Python or something else, sometimes it's not that intuitive. It can be a little bit more complicated than it needs to be. I think that integration with other languages could be a little bit better.
For how long have I used the solution?
We have been using UiPath permanently for around eight months, but we've been using it in-house for about a year before that.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
UiPath itself is very stable because it interacts with so many different applications. I noticed in the past, at times, when using it with browsers, for example, using it with Google Chrome or Firefox, occasionally Chrome or Firefox will update and UiPath can take sometimes a week or two to update with it. For that week, you're able to use any solution that involves Google Chrome or Firefox, because it's waiting for that update. I've seen that happen with a couple of different applications, not as much recently. UiPath itself is very stable because it can interact with anything. If anything is updated and UiPath doesn't have time to update drivers to match that, sometimes you can get left a little bit stuck.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
It's not really easy when you're using orchestrator to scale up and create a server, add a new bot, get a new license, and get it running.
At the moment, it's just me using UiPath. I'm a developer and the architect for the solution as well. But we're planning to expand the team next year.
We have a couple of processes that are running constantly, so I think we're using it as much as we can, and as much as our licenses allow. We're at a point now where we need an orchestrator to keep track and run everything at the same time. We're in the process now of purchasing that. I'll see where we're moving to, to expand quite far beyond that after we've got it. We're just at the point of ramping up.
How are customer service and technical support?
I've sent a couple of requests to support when we needed licenses and when we changed to a different computer or a different user, and they got back to us really quickly and solved it within a day or so. I've been pretty happy with UiPath so far. I think every time I've sent a request to them, it's been resolved pretty quickly, and even if they couldn't resolve it super quick, the response times are usually within 24 hours or so, which is really good. I can't remember a time where we've been stuck in the dark with them.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
I've used Automation Anywhere, but I haven't really used it within my work.
How was the initial setup?
The initial setup was pretty straightforward. I implemented UiPath for a couple of years before I came to my current company. It was quite easy, but even the first time it's always been quite easy and quite simple to implement.
The initial setup only took a couple of days to get it all installed properly and cleared with IT. In terms of getting the first process up and running, it took about a week or two because we already had a couple of processes that were available. That's just a case of tweaking them, making sure they're all okay, and then just getting them set up and getting more packaged up.
Our initial strategy was mainly to focus on finance and to try and reduce the outsourced headcount with a couple of the finance teams. We outsource a lot of our work to a couple of other companies and we want to reduce the cost of that, so I automate it in-house. Our other strategy was to try and free up as much time for our lawyers as possible to make sure they weren't bogged down with work. It gives them more time to focus on the clients and work up better relationships with them.
What was our ROI?
We're still looking at the process that we've automated and seeing how much time and money we're saving with this crisis, but we don't have that information at the moment.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
The pricing is pretty fair. Sometimes the pricing can be a little bit strange. There are different prices if it's for a specific user, a specific PC or if it's an attended bot or unattended bot. The price can be quite different, but I think when you talk to UiPath or when you look at the pricing sheets, there's not always a justification of why a certain license is more expensive than another.
Licenses are more expensive than another but I wonder why there's such a big difference, why attended is four times more expensive, and that sort of thing. In terms of the orchestrator, I think it was a bit too much. It used to cost about 20,000 pounds a year. Now, they are ramping up costs. If you get an orchestrator but with just a few blocks, it's cheaper and then you can add up more parts to the orchestrator. So the cost goes up, which I think is better.
What other advice do I have?
Definitely to try and get as many teams involved as possible to open up the conversation about RPA within the business. It works best when you've got lots of teams who have an understanding of RPA and how it works. They can come to you with their potential projects and you can filter through them and see which ones are going to be the most helpful.
It's hard if no one else in the business really knows RPA or how it works, or if there's a bit of a wall there. It's important to introduce RPA to as many different teams as possible and to encourage people to get involved, think about the processes that they do in it, and try to identify what can be helpful.
It's important to keep RPA close to the applications and the IT teams because if you're using RPA or UiPath you're going to need to be able to be speaking to your team who need permissions or admin privileges, or you need apps to be updated. It's important if you're going to put it in, have it as close to apps and development as possible.
It's a case of understanding that it's not a case of trying to get everything automated that you possibly can. The goal shouldn't just be to automate everything. If you've got a process and you can do 99% of it automated but you can't automate the last 1%, you can but it's going to be really fairly inefficient. Understand that it's fine for a process to have some bits that are automated, some of which are done by a person. The hybrid workforce, rather than going into the strategy of just automating everything is ideal. I've learned that trying to find that balance and getting that communication between the two is good.
I would rate UiPath a nine out of ten.
Which deployment model are you using for this solution?
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