What is our primary use case?
We are using the on-premises UiPath solution for both attended and unattended bots. At this time, we use unattended bots primarily to facilitate integration between applications, and we are not using the attended bot capabilities.
Generally speaking, we develop integrations for our core banking system, which was written in-house and running on a mainframe. It is a highly-developed system that we started using more than 30 years ago. When it was created, we didn't have the integration capabilities that exist in other applications or core systems, today. This means that in order to have external applications communicate with the core system, we need to develop integrations. Examples of this might be web services or other APIs, and that's why it takes time to do.
We have teams to do the integration, but considering that the core banking system is in Turkey and all of our teams are busy, we don't have enough resources to implement all of our integration projects. Now, for the past three years, we have been implementing bots to handle integration by moving data from the applications to the core system, and from the core system to the applications.
How has it helped my organization?
The biggest benefit for us is time savings in terms of developing satellite applications for the core banking system. We are developing the robotic API, and we are integrating our internal front-end applications with the core system.
Using this approach, we can easily get and set data from the core system, and we can see the results for each transition. We can learn about what happens in the core system with the help of the bots.
The amount of time that we save depends on the use case. For example, if we implement integration between core banking and the applications instead of native integration through development, it saves a lot of time. I prefer native integration versus using the bots but sometimes, you don't have this opportunity because it will take too long to put into production. Other times, you can't justify undergoing a large development process for just a small integration, so it's enough to solve the problem using the bots.
There is another use case where our operations teams perform repetitive tasks using the bots. For example, when performing the task manually, users have to take the data from one screen and enter it on another screen. We have never tried to calculate how much time we are saving in cases like this, although I'm sure that we are saving a lot of time.
People in the organization have been asking for more projects to be automated because it is easier for them. When their tasks are automated, they are more relaxed and can focus on other more important tasks, as opposed to the repetitive ones. Getting away from repetitive tasks puts you in a position where you can make more decisions and be part of the smart part of the business. This leaves the easier, repetitive tasks for the robots.
What is most valuable?
There are a lot of really useful features in UiPath including the Orchestrator and the Studio.
The Orchestrator is one of the main tools that I use because I like to help orchestrate the bots. It is the heart of the tool and it gives me a lot of flexibility to automate or manage bots that are in the field. The Orchestration Server is one of the most important features and when you perform a deep dive, you see that it has a lot of functionality. It's great.
The Orchestrator has other features such as computer vision, AI, and machine learning, and it complements the bots and the Studio.
UiPath integrates well with Elasticsearch, which is a great search engine. ElasticSearch is more capable than UiPath for searching logs. I'm filling the gap in log reporting using ElasticSearch, where I'm feeding the logs into it and then creating dashboards, or using the analytics parts of ElasticSearch and Kibana.
The UiPath Academy is a very valuable component of this solution. Many of our employees have used the courses. With it, a person who has a little bit of an analytical mindset can easily learn to do many things. If somebody is willing to develop themselves in RPA, the UiPath academy is more than enough to do so. They will understand the components that make up the ecosystem. The academy is very good, well constructed, and has a lot of labs and exercises to help one learn the system by themself without any help, and very easily.
What needs improvement?
The logging capability that comes with Orchestrator does not allow you to create smart reports. You have the logs from the bots and what's happening on the machines because you get all of this information from the logs. However, UiPath is more capable when it comes to collecting information about your processes, time saved, or process execution. They have some smart report dashboards.
The installation and initial setup is difficult for non-technical organizations.
For how long have I used the solution?
We have been using UiPath for more than three years.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
Stability is something that we should consider in two parts. The first concerns the bots and how they are running the tasks on the machines. This comes down to what kind of developers we have because if you are developing properly, and implementing all of the exceptional cases that may occur during the execution of the process, it's very good. I haven't had any issues in cases like this.
The second part is the Orchestrator, and I haven't had issues with this either. In the more than three years that we have been using this environment, including the time in production and our test environments, we have never had an issue.
We have had two or three incidents because we didn't have enough space left on the database storage, but that was not related to UiPath. Rather, it is related to the infrastructure. Another time, the SSL certification expired so we had to renew it. Otherwise, stability-wise, we haven't had any problems.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
Scalability is very good, although we have not reached a point where we needed to scale the infrastructure. The high availability and scalability are two of the main features in the UiPath environment but we have not needed to go in that direction yet. At this time, we only have five bots in the organization and that is enough.
We are not planning to increase the numbers at this point because the number of bots that we have can be managed on a single node. We don't have clusters or multiple bots because of the criticality of our processes, but these are things that you can add and set up to share the workloads. Although we don't use it, I think that it looks really promising.
In our team, we have a business analyst and developers. Some of the roles for the developers are varied. At most, we have three people on a project who are working with UiPath.
How are customer service and technical support?
The technical support for UiPath is good. When we first started contacting them between two and three years ago, the support for everybody was the same. However, they're now offering different tiers of support that require a different license and cost. There is one basic technical support, where all customers have the right to open tickets and try to solve the problems. Then, there are different support levels where you can pay extra and you can get more assistance for solving your problems.
Up to this point, all of the problems that I have had are mostly related to upgrades and installations, and they have only been from time to time. So far, I have been able to solve problems with basic technical support. Some of the problems I have solved on my own, whereas with others, I have needed a small bit of help from technical support.
I can say at this point that the support is good, although really, I haven't had any major problems that necessitated a lot of support.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
We have used other RPA solutions in the past, but not to the same scale as UiPath.
How was the initial setup?
The initial setup is not very complex, but it depends on the profile and experience of the person who is using it. Considering we had a great deal of deep experience in the project implementation and also the technologies, we are familiar with everything. This includes tasks like installation of the infrastructure, configuring the databases, configuring the virtual machines, and installing the robots' features.
For less technical organizations or people, it will be difficult to implement the UiPath infrastructure. In that case, they will need the help of partners.
It's not so easy, but it's well documented. In fact, one of the good things about UiPath is that everything is very well documented. The deployment takes no more than two or three weeks.
Our implementation strategy started with developing bots using the trial license. We found the bot implementation was very easy. The trial includes everything that you need to develop workflows and the bots that run on the machines. When you get to the point where you need to run multiple bots in production, you need the Orchestration server.
We did not install Orchestrator until between four and six months after we started with the trial. In the beginning, we were testing UiPath and creating some small projects. These were very easy to implement. After that is when we decided to buy the license and move the bots to production.
In terms of maintenance, it is not critical for the bots. It's the Orchestrator that has to be maintained and kept up to date. Every year, you need to upgrade your infrastructure with the latest release, so there is some annual maintenance. If it is on-premises then you also have to maintain the hardware that everything is running on.
Of course, there should be somebody responsible for taking care of the databases and general system maintenance. The operating system, for example, should be maintained by someone. All of these things are layers and sublayers on top of the solution.
If instead, you implement the cloud version of UiPath, then you can get rid of all of the maintenance. In that case, you have only the bots and the Orchestrator, which are hosted on the UiPath cloud, and you don't have to worry about anything. UiPath does the upgrades and performs all of the maintenance, which is nice. In the future, we may go in this direction. However, at this time, maintaining the infrastructure in our organization is easy and not a burden for us.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
I can't say that UiPath is expensive but I can't say that it's cheap. The cost that we are allocating for RPA doesn't burden us too heavily, so what we are paying is acceptable compared to the gains that we have in the organization. That said, it is relative because it depends on the size of the organization, the budget, and other factors. From our point of view, considering our budget, it is okay but for another organization, it might be expensive.
There are some features, such as UiPath Insights, that require you to purchase an additional license. The logging capabilities are also a feature that you need to pay extra for.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
While we were searching for solutions, we read the documentation for UiPath. We found out that UiPath was originally started as a Romanian company, where we are, so we figured that we would try it since this is where it was first implemented. Our tests showed that UiPath was very promising but we kept investigating other solutions.
We tried Blue Prism and we tried Automation Anywhere, which are both RPA tools. We also did some studying, looked at the Gartner report, and did some further analysis. Ultimately, we decided to buy the licenses from UiPath because it was solving all of our problems.
What other advice do I have?
When you use this system, you are using features from several different modules. It's something like an ecosystem where you have the bots, Studio, and the Orchestrator. If you are not using all of them at the same time then something is missing. They complete each other. If, for example, you don't have the Orchestrator and are only running the bots then it is a different kind of automation.
In the past, as I was using UiPath, I found that there were additional features that I wanted, but regularly and with each product update, they were bringing in new functionalities. At this time, I don't have a project that is waiting and cannot be implemented due to missing features. All of the tools that they deliver, for the time being, together are enough to implement any type of project.
We are not yet using the AI functionality because to this point, although that is because we don't yet have a proper project for it. At the same time, the AI and machine learning functionality are very important to us because we are planning to use them.
We have not used the UiPath Apps feature because it is one of the new features that has come out lately, and we haven't had the time to gain a deep understanding of these technologies. We have some rough ideas about how we can use this feature, but for the time being, we do not have a project that needs to be solved with UiPath Apps.
My advice for anybody who is implementing UiPath is to start with studying the processes and trying to determine whether they are good candidates for RPA. In order to automate a process, you need structured data such that the inputs and outputs are somewhat predictable. Once you know what it is that you want to automate, you have to understand the capacity, and then if you have any candidate processes, you can begin developing.
UiPath is the RPA solution that I recommend. However, it is important to know, before purchasing a solution, which of the processes are good candidates for automation.
I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.
Which deployment model are you using for this solution?
Which version of this solution are you currently using?