What is our primary use case?
We use UiPath for cases where we have to do a workflow-related mechanism. Most of these use cases are small, Excel-based solutions and desktop-solution-related workflows, where one or two applications have to be connected, along with the Excel operation, for the end-to-end workflow creation.
We use both attended and unattended automation.
How has it helped my organization?
We have created 10-plus solutions using UiPath, and the savings that have been generated from these solutions are around $1 million. They are very cost-effective solutions: finance, order-to-cash, and protocol-to-pay processes. It has created value on the higher end, because the processes were quite cumbersome. We re-engineered the processes and started using UiPath for workflow automation.
We have saved roughly 50 FTEs on a yearly basis. It also enables us to use a lower skillset workforce, which is a cost-effective measure.
Quality, no doubt, is one of the key parameters of automation. UiPath has resulted in quality improvement for the overall processes where it's deployed.
It's on the OCR side and the workflow side where UiPath creates value to us.
What is most valuable?
The most important and valuable feature of UiPath is the ease of creating automations. It's a workflow-based model. End-to-end coverage is, no doubt, very important, because when you use a fragmented solution, the overall process flow becomes shaky. UiPath has the required capabilities to create an end-to-end solution for a business case. For our scenario, the business cases are quite small. That way, the turnaround time to create a solution is short and it becomes very easy to deploy, which is quite helpful for us.
Another important feature is the OCR capability, which integrates quite easily with other kinds of tools. We have integrated with ABBYY and we have even used the Amazon OCR engine. From an integration perspective, it is scalable enough to integrate with third-party solutions, whereas that kind of thing becomes a bit of challenge when we use Automation Anywhere.
We are able to use Python scripting and Python libraries for data extraction.
We also use the solution in creating attended automations. They are very much division-specific and are currently used by the procurement and the finance teams. These are on-demand, data reconciliation activities that are performed once a week. The bot is clicked by the person who is attending, which is generally a procurement or a finance guy. These are tedious activities so that's why we have the dedicated license for the attended format.
It is quite user-friendly with the drag-and-drop functionality. It has connectors which are quite suitable and industry-standard for basic applications that we use on the desktop, like for the Microsoft suite. From an integration perspective, it has done well.
We have also used its selector technology to automate processes with dynamic interfaces for one of the finance applications, where the UI screen is changing.
What needs improvement?
The cognitive area is one where there is room for improvement. Automation Anywhere has grown in that area, whereas UiPath still is more dependent on third-party integration. That is something which they should be focusing on more. They should acquire a product and get it integrated.
For how long have I used the solution?
I have been using UiPath for around two and a half years. I have used both Automation Anywhere and UiPath. We have both tools.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
UiPath Robots are quite robust, and from a maintenance perspective it has become easy, if you create logs. It's pretty good.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
In terms of scalability, as I mentioned, it has certain challenges, but with the minimal capacity which we are running, it becomes easy to maintain the bots.
We have 10 to 12 automations already in place, and there are around five to six more in the pipeline, which are still being rolled out. The RPA tool we used is determined on a case-by-case basis.
How are customer service and technical support?
UiPath technical support is pretty good. Most of the answers are provided by the community forum. If you raise a ticket, they are proactive in getting back to you and addressing the point. It's good.
How was the initial setup?
The initial setup was okay. I was involved in the setup of Automation Anywhere four years ago, and with UiPath. Compared to Automation Anywhere, it was much smoother because the community side is quite good with UiPath. In the early days when we were facing issues, we had the UiPath community support to find answers. We did not have to raise a ticket with UiPath because we were able to get our answers in the community forums.
The first case took us around seven to eight months to put in place. The first one is, obviously, always a tricky one. We also picked a use case of medium complexity and it took a bit of time. Later on, we started building more of a workflow solution using our low-cost workforce and, after that, the journey was quite smooth. Initially there were some hiccups, but once the team understood the tool itself it became easy.
We deploy developers who require a lower level of skill sets, developers who do not have that much training. They are normal .NET developers whom we train for one and a half months on UiPath and they start developing UiPath solutions. We have a center of excellence with our developers who work on UiPath. We recently hired two more, so we now have around 11 developers who are working on UiPath.
Taking UiPath courses to get up to speed has been very helpful. I am certified for the tool because of the courses. The curriculum is at least on par with that of Automation Anywhere, although I would say it is much better. The only issue is that the courses are very limited. The AA University has increased to a vast number of courses, and most of them have become free for the end-user. The UiPath course material is good, but there are notably fewer courses and less certification available for people like us, who are more on the business side. AA has a business analyst program and a program manager certification, but I was not able to find anything specific like that in the UiPath Academy.
Our strategy with UiPath is that we generally go for unattended automation because that doesn't lock up our licenses for the bots. We prefer solutions which require unattended automation, because of a lack of budget and other constraints. From the deployment perspective, we have a dedicated server and we're following the minimum guidelines which are required to conform to the deployment standards.
What was our ROI?
The ROI generated is quite high because of the cost factor.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
It is much much cheaper than the Automation Anywhere. That is a key differentiator. It is targeted at mid-level enterprises. It is cost-effective.
There are no additional costs beyond the standard licensing fees. We have taken few of the training-related services from them. Once we move to the cloud version we may require some consulting services to move from on-prem to cloud. That would be the only other cost associated with UiPath.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
When it comes to the main differences between UiPath and Automation Anywhere, UiPath is cost-effective. It is quite a lot cheaper than Automation Anywhere. It is also drag-and-drop, a fact which makes basic automation very easy compared to Automation Anywhere. It's quite user-friendly. In addition, the OCR functionality is quite robust in UiPath because it also provides a third-party integration. Python scripting becomes easy and that means our OCR solutions are quite good. These are the pros of UiPath.
Regarding the cons of UiPath when compared to AA, the first one is the level of scripting details. Custom scripting is quite lacking in UiPath. It's more a drag-and-drop functionality which doesn't allow that higher level of customized scripting when compared to AA. Secondly, the scalability is quite robust in AA as compared to UiPath. Even though we are not pushing the limit, the general opinion out there is that UiPath fails quite visibly when you try to scale solutions that involve operations plus a new product rollout. That's a challenge with UiPath. And, as I mentioned, AA has improved a lot in the cognitive area and UiPath has not reached that level. It relies more on the third parties.
What other advice do I have?
Even if you are a large enterprise and you're trying to start your RPA journey, UiPath is the answer. It sits in the top one or two solutions, along with Automation Anywhere. It's one of the leaders in RPA, and with the low cost model of the license structure, it is very easy to start with UiPath rather than with Automation Anywhere.
If you are looking for a strategic approach, where you have projected that within five to six years you will roll out 250 to 300 bots, scalability is something you have to factor in when starting your journey.
We haven't used the solution's artificial intelligence. We tried to run a PoC using a chat bot, but it didn't do well. I don't think UiPath has its own AI engine. They provide an API-level integration with other AI tools. We had a challenge there because most of the AI functionalities had to work on the cloud. We had to integrate with the Google Cloud and Amazon cloud, but both are in the public domain and transferring data from our office to the cloud was a challenge. We hit a wall. For that scenario, we moved on to Automation Anywhere, which provides us an on-prem solution.
Which deployment model are you using for this solution?
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