What is our primary use case?
We are automating back office business processes focusing on business finance and tax, specifically. We are just recently starting our implementation, but we have been doing a proof of concept for the last year or so on the community edition. We recently signed the license agreement will be moving forward with implementing it full-time.
I am functioning as a lead developer.
How has it helped my organization?
We just started the implementation.
I foresee as we automated mundane tasks, it will free up time for the existing workforce that we already have to do more tasks where they can use their brain to make decisions. Then, they can think things through and work on the more complex processes that we currently can't automate.
What is most valuable?
- Its flexibility
- Anything you can do on a computer with enough effort, you can get the robot to do it.
- It is ease to use and user-friendly.
- The Academy training is well put together.
What needs improvement?
Once we've taken the data that the robot has done something with, we want to send it over to a human a lot of times. However, they need it formatted in a fashion that makes it a little more readable. It would be nice to have some activities without the developer having to do a lot of effort to make the spreadsheet look prettier.
Instead, we should receive a list every time transactions are performed, and it would be nice if we wouldn't have to format it every time the robot sent us a spreadsheet.
For how long have I used the solution?
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
This one area is lacking, but I attribute this to the constantly evolving platform. However, while there is some stability issues, they are quick to respond to them with updates. They are also very receptive to listening to feedback from the community, which is great.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
The robots work where you can scale additional servers. They just need a place to work and process to perform, then you can add-on. 10 bots can easily turn into a 100 bots, then those can turn into a 1000 bots. From a scalability aspect, it's great.
How are customer service and technical support?
I have not yet used customer or technical support.
I have interacted with the community a whole lot, and if the amount of responses that they give in the community is any indication about how fast they would be with the enterprise technical support, then I can only imagine that it would be top-notch.
UiPath Academy RPA training is well put together. It paces well, not too fast nor too slow. You are constantly given new things to experiment with and things to learn which keep you interested, engaged, and moving forward.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
Our Director of Tax heard from word of mouth about RPA and decided with tax being what it is, we have a lot of areas of mundane, monotonous, repetitive tasks, return filings, etc.
How was the initial setup?
It's a complex environment with all its moving pieces. However, it is well-documented, everything is, and as long as you're willing to spend a bit of time reviewing the documentation, it's not so complex that you can't figure it out. It's clearly there documented, and it tells you what to do, you have to take the time to read through it.
What about the implementation team?
My supervisor and I were the implementation team. We were heavily involved with figuring out Orchestrator, how to connect the robots, how to build the process, then put all those pieces together. Eventually, we figured it out.
With the current implementation, we are a skeleton crew. My group consists of four people, who are in the financial systems group within the business, not in IT. I hope that that will grow as the implementation grows, if for no other reason than the more bodies that we can throw at it within reason, the more benefit we can get out of it. To maximize gains, we are going to need to be more than four people, sooner rather than later. However, I am not the decision-maker, so I can only cross my fingers and hope. Right now, we have a laundry list of things that could be automated. We have to prioritize those, then figure out where the bodies are who can do the automating
What was our ROI?
One of the processes that we first implemented was simply monitoring an e-mail mailbox and pulling out the invoices from there that needed to be manipulated. The robot is not actually doing anything with the invoices yet, as much as just pulling them out and handing them off to the human. Because previously, there was a group of people who were spending quite a lot of time just looking through that mailbox trying to make sure that they caught everything and items still get missed and overlooked.
I've been told that quite a large amount of savings has happened in the discounts from paying those invoices on time, because someone didn't just overlook something and forget to send it on. As long as it meets the criteria, the robot always catches it. So, that's great. We've definitely seen a return already, and we're just scratching the surface.
I don't see any end in sight for opportunities to leverage it, increasing our efficiency and revenues. It may not necessarily reduce headcounts, but it should cap growing headcounts. Because, as our markets expand, we traditionally increase headcounts in the back office, but we are trying to move away from that.
I would rate the performance benefits as a nine out of ten. The robots can move faster than you can keep track of what you are doing. It's astronomical the levels of magnitude the increase in efficiency that you can get. We have had humans who were taking, according to best estimates, eight hours to accomplish something that the robot can do in minutes.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
They give it away in the community edition for free, so I use it at home.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
I've only dabbled with the other products, but the UiPath software is easier to dive into and start working with.
We looked a bit at Automation Anywhere. I tried a trial of it.
We looked into Blue Prism, but I've not interacted with it firsthand.
I have the most experience with UiPath.
We did do our due diligence in investigating, if not firsthand, by at least reading about what the other offerings were from Pega to some of the other competitors.
What helped us make the decision to choose UiPath was how available the community edition is and how engaged the actual community is. I don't know for certain that some of the competitors don't have something similar, but I was blown away because they got us hooked on it. They gave it to us for free, then we used it, tried it, and fell in love with it seeing what it could do.
As long as upper management says it's okay, we're going to keep buying more of it and utilizing it until something else comes along that replaces what it can do, which I don't see happening anytime soon.
What other advice do I have?
Try it out for yourself. Just go and download the community edition, install it on a computer, and within a few minutes you can have simple automation up and running using the recording tools, etc. Anyone really can do something just to see what it's capable of and see what RPA is. Try it out for yourself.
It has exceeded my expectations. Early on, I didn't have high of hopes for anything I could do which is rule based and have the robot to do it. Yet, I keep trying to come up with anything can't be done with a little bit of effort or through some other activities, especially with the availability of the community, which can leverage someone else smarter than me, who has figured out how to get it done.
UiPath can do pretty much everything another tool can do plus a whole bunch of extra things.