What is our primary use case?
It is for automating tasks that are not meaningful for people to do, tasks that are menial and repetitive. The University of Copenhagen, where I work, is an old institution and we have a lot of different legacy systems that don't work well together. So, we have a lot of people doing administrative tasks that depend on moving data from one system to another. We use UiPath to automate these repetitive tasks and make the robots carry them out, so our people don't have to.
How has it helped my organization?
For example, in the case of our most recent robots, there were a set of tasks where three people had to print out 3000 PDF pages, then sort them into seven different piles, then sort those different piles into three different piles each. Afterwards, scan them and send them to different systems. We made this better. Instead of three different people taking a whole day, we did it in three minutes. This is an example of a very concrete, administrative task based on legacy systems, and we made it simpler. This was a huge improvement and positive thing for our company.
What is most valuable?
It is very easy to make beautiful, clear, well-documented workflows that clearly reflect the process. This is an achievement that is not always feasible with regular code. Even though each activity in UiPath is like a line of code, the user interface in Studio and the use of states, flowcharts, and sequences make it so easy to understand the overall process and get an overview of what is actually happening.
UiPath is easy to use, and it CAN be used by non-programmers, but it is even better to use for programmers. It allows us to make very robust and effective solutions because we have all the functionality of the powerful .NET Framework library within reach, all while the UI makes it possible to create truly beautiful solutions.
What needs improvement?
I would like UiPath to have a build-in method which informs the robot's process owner how it has managed its transactions and performed through the night. If the robot had a process that was set up for a 100 transactions, and two of these transactions had an application error, four had a business error, and the rest were fine, I would like a straight up method for the business owner to login somewhere and see what the robot managed to do and not do. There should be a method for accessing and logging into Orchestrator and see the logs for only one process, and this log should be presented in a way that makes sense for non-technical people.
For how long have I used the solution?
One to three years.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
The stability is good, I've never encountered any major problems. UiPath works with websites and systems which are famously unstable, but it gives you the tools that are necessary to deal with hiccups and if something is not stable. So, if you add proper error handling to your robots, it works.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
Out of the robots that I have built, three or four have had to perform on several machines at the same time. I haven't encountered many scalability problems, but then again I haven't built robots to perform on a 100 machines or anything near that.
How was the initial setup?
The initial setup was quite complex. I was not in charge of the task, but my colleague set up the whole infrastructure and mentioned some problems. He corresponded with the support team, and they did figure it out, but the setup guide was definitely more complexly written than it should have been, and some things were written in the wrong order. So, there were some hiccups in the implementation.
What was our ROI?
In our company, RPA doesn't necessarily mean less people will be hired or people will be fired. We probably won't see the ROI in cash. It will help with workplace productivity, and job satisfaction, though.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
We were looking at Blue Prism and UiPath.
UiPath is nicer to work with. The developers especially wanted to work with UiPath, but the business team was looking more at Blue Prism. However, UiPath was better for the slightly larger robots, which is good for a lot of Unattended Robots.
From what I have seen of Blue Prism, UiPath is both more aesthetically beautiful and stable. Based on .NET, UiPath makes sense as a solution.
What other advice do I have?
Start small and make time to do things right from the start. The infrastructure and developer culture can vary massively from one RPA team to another, and it is really important to establish healthy code guidelines, test and operation manuals, etc. from the start. At my current company we are just starting up, getting everything right, which is very exciting, and I can see how different (and better) we are doing things that at my previous employer.
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