What is our primary use case?
The solution is primarily used for invoice processing in combination with intelligent data captures. It's used for anything to do with lots of finance processes. Typically they go into lots of HR processes as well. They're the two main business functions that we work in.
What is most valuable?
Orchestrator has valuable scheduling and being able to run things on demand and dynamically as well allocating the transaction, and the studio are good features. Nothing stands out in particular. Everything's kind of equal, it just depends on the task you need to complete.
With an unattended robot, you can schedule it and have it running autonomously.
The solution is quick and easy to implement. It's fairly easy, and it means clients don't have to get IT involved. If you get IT involved in anything there's always blockers and there are always other priorities.
What needs improvement?
They should expand on workflow type items and take another step up from the long-running workflows to offer more visibility of business processes within Orchestrator.
The solution needs a better integration team, different versions of Orchestrator, and to make it easier to identify problems with versions, as well as to be able to fix those kinds of problems. It's hard if you don't keep up to date all the time as well, for example, to go from 2018 to 2019 versions. It's quite a big jump considering activities and things like that.
For how long have I used the solution?
less mundane work being done, fewer errors, better compliance, better visibility
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
I'd rate the stability five out of five.
How are customer service and technical support?
When we were using technical support we were typically going directly to some people we knew in UiPath because we knew them very well. We haven't had that many instances that we needed to use the help though.
How was the initial setup?
In terms of ease of setup, I would rate the solution four out of five. From an IT perspective, it's pretty simple, but from a non-technical perspective, I think people will struggle.
They've brought us Studio X which is starting to increase that to a five out of five. From a business user perspective a lot of the sales teams will sell it as a very easy to mend product which isn't particularly helpful because when you go into a customer environment and you have to build via a complex process and then integrate it with IT and all of the business systems then obviously it's not a five minute job. It's not overly complicated but can take three to four weeks for some processes to be implemented successfully.
From the time the UiPath license is purchased to implementing it virtually takes about three weeks.
What was our ROI?
ROI depends on the process. Some customers are using their people badly and they literally have a person doing the job of processing invoices all day long. It's very quick to realize their ROI because it's a 30-40 thousand pound salary that they get to replace very, very quickly. More commonly, on a big project, it takes 6 to 12 months to get to an ROI. Even if you are just breaking even, in a year or two you'll start to get an ROI.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
There's information online. There's actually a section where you can go through training online for licensing. There's some documentation available as well from the UiPath sales team. You can just ask them.
I've already struggled with licensing a little bit. It's never been super clear because you have the notion of a mode lock and concurrent users and things like that depending on whether you want it on one machine or whether you want the licenses to be able to float around different users. The wording around it can be improved. They communicate in a simpler way.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
Usually, the client looks at UiPath, Automation Anywhere, Blue Prism, and sometimes other smaller competitors but that's quite rare.
What other advice do I have?
We use Orchestrator, Studio, and unattended and attended robotics. We typically use more unattended than attended generally. Increasingly we're using attended robots. We use Orchestrator but at 1:1 per client, and Studio for development.
For the larger clients, they still go on-prem, but mid-tier customers start to use the cloud solution.
We try to encourage clients not to run automation within virtual environments like Citrix. UiPath does work through Citrix but it's only if clients really don't have control of that environment. We have done it, but where possible we always ask clients to install either the robot on the local machine or to install the major Citrix extension. By running within virtual premises everything's a little bit more or less stable so you have to add more checks, which means the development time takes a bit longer; and the data coming out is a little bit less reliable. But with the Citrix extension, everything has become a lot easier.
I used a web tool for the UiPath Academy RPA training. I did a lot of the training before there was an Academy, and then when it came out I did the certification. We always put our team through every stage of the training. I'd rate the Academy four out of five. It's easy to follow and get through. The only thing that's lacking a little bit is, it's just that you can't do 2 weeks worth of training and then become an expert. Another thing is that there is a further certification which is an advanced developer certificate which needs product experience as well, and for me, there's not been enough distinction between the 2-week online training vs that proper diploma. There's always some confusion, when people say, "Oh yeah, we've got this", many people say it doesn't mean as much as it could, or other software companies have a better distinction between levels of certification experience. They need to offer a solution architect type certification for someone who knows the infrastructure really well and can prove it. There needs to be a proper qualification for that.
In terms of reducing human error with the solution, I've always been an advocate of the software benefit that comes out of automation. AFT savings are great but I think a lot the other benefits include less mundane work being done, fewer errors, better compliance, better visibility. One of the things that hasn't been exploited that well is the additional data that you get from automation. Where humans previously were just doing a job, for example, we automate a lot of processes.
I'd rate the solution ten out of ten.