What is our primary use case?
Our current use case is primarily to automate business processes pertaining to finance, HR, and IT. Finance and HR have been bigger players, and other supply chain areas are currently being targeted. It's still in the ramp-up phase. We do not use it in a contact center environment.
How has it helped my organization?
In my former employment, not my current employment, we implemented some banking processes during the implementation phase, and last year, when the lockdown happened, due to the automation, things were much simpler, much easier to manage, and it was less dependent on people. This was not an Indian client, however, I could see that in the Indian market, Indian banks were actually struggling with the same function. That is where we could see a very significant difference. A lot of banking processes are dependent on manual processing.
What is most valuable?
For our organization, the Orchestrator has the most useful setup. All automation is more or less the same. With UiPath, the difference is the Orchestrator. The amount of integration it has is actually what makes it different from all other vendors.
I would rate the ease of building automation using UiPath at a nine out of ten. For automation in UiPath, you use a package. For example, if you want to do MS Office automation, you have an MS Office package. If you want to do Outlook automation, you have a certain set of packages that support that. If you have the package for that purpose, it's very easy to manage.
For ServiceNow, they did not have a package until last year. There was a UiPath team-supported package that was an unofficial package developed by a UiPath employee. Last year, UiPath came out with its own package, and that helped. Now we have standard automation for ServiceNow. That's actually made things more streamlined.
In terms of implementing end-to-end automation, the process analysis is currently outside of UiPath, but everything except that can be done by UiPath. For us, creating end-to-end automation using UiPath is not that very critical. Process analysis is a bit of a situation-specific thing, and at times, it's usually better to keep it outside of the tool. It always helps within the tool, however, it depends on the convenience and comfort that the client has. I wouldn't want to expose my ERP data directly for automation.
Typically, it takes two to three years to see the breakeven. The difference between on-premise and on-cloud is that the lead time is a little less. That's about it. Therefore, the amount of trouble and setup and that sort of thing is the only item to consider.
The Automation Cloud offering helps to decrease the solution's total cost of ownership by taking care of things such as infrastructure, maintenance, and updates, however, only to some extent. It's not a lot. In the long run, it makes it easier to get breakeven from the initial implementation. The maintenance happens a little less as well. When you're updating the Orchestrator, that is where your major maintenance jump comes in. If you're not upgrading your Orchestrator version, it's more or less the same. From an ownership perspective, if you're not upgrading Orchestrator, only your VM license and hosting cost will be different. This depends on the client.
If you already have an Orchestrator in place, having an automation cloud doesn't really increase or decrease the ability to scale. That would only be only in the case where you want a complete separation environment. In that case, you'll have to use a multi-tenant kind of setup. If you do that kind of a setup, it's the same if you do it on-premise or on-cloud. The time to ramp up should be the same.
We use a mix of attended and unattended automation. Attended automation is primarily helpful for a few things like where the application's less stable, where things like Citrix are involved, which already have their own set of infrastructure issues.
UiPath has reduced human errors in the organization. The lead time is reduced, as well as the lead time to activity and the lead time to develop. Specifically, if you do development in UiPath versus any other OEM, you see a very significant difference in implementation lead time from a development perspective. They're much simpler to develop and manage in UiPath. If you go to other OEMs, it's very complex at times. If it takes 10 steps in another OEM, UiPath takes it in one to three, max.
The solution has freed up employee time by as much as 30 minutes per day. It's allowed employees to focus on higher-value work. The primary benefit of automation is doing low-complexity repetitive work outside of working hours. That's the biggest advantage that I've seen. Even if you're sleeping, there is already work being done in the background, so that the next morning, when the employee comes, he has more relevant work in front of him. He doesn't have to do any paper-pushing jobs. Automation can do that instead. That's the biggest advantage.
What needs improvement?
The fact that UI handles infrastructure, maintenance, and updates for Automation Cloud saves some time in the IT department. It is a trade-off. The biggest challenge that we've seen with Automation Cloud is primarily with documentation. At times, we raise it to UiPath, and after that, documentation comes up. I'm not saying that's bad, however, that's something that UiPath can work upon. This is a consistent behavior that I've seen.
Back in 2018, I was with another employer, not EY. I started using Orchestrator API within 10 days of its global release, and we had struggled at times for documentation. It's a theme with Orchestrator, with the new Automation Cloud, specifically on the Orchestrator side. For Tableau reporting, there was nothing. We had to raise it to UiPath saying, "Hey, do you have something for Tableau reporting?" They said, "No, we don't have anything for Automation Cloud." Very recently, they came out with it, however, before that, there was nothing.
The documentation isn't the best. It's pretty difficult to search. We would have to raise a ticket to the UiPath team, and they would have to come back with the relevant information. It's difficult to try and do a day or two of research only to have to raise a ticket to UiPath as a vendor.
I've struggled a lot with automating Citrix applications with UiPath. I know how Citrix is not very stable when it comes to automated logins. In that case, attended automation is good. We've seen some good use cases. However, it depends on the consultant's choice and the business's goals.
For how long have I used the solution?
I've been using it since 2018.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
The solution is very easy to scale and allows users to scale whenever they want.
How are customer service and technical support?
In general, UiPath support is good. It is better than other OEMs. They're usually really good.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
I have experience with other RPA solutions. The development time is the biggest difference. The amount of automation one can do with it, that's the main difference. It's huge. It's not even a small difference.
I've looked at leading vendors in Gartner's Magic Quadrant. I've actually worked on all the vendors that you can see in the Magic Quadrant. There is a reason why UiPath is leading. Development is great, and, if you want to integrate a third-party application, UiPath has a lot of integrations set up either in its Orchestrator or in its Studio. Something that takes 15 minutes in UiPath would take one day in most of the other options. In Automation Anywhere, for example, you have more trouble.
How was the initial setup?
The Orchestrator setup doesn't take a lot of time if you have everything in place. Cloud deployment is a good option for smaller clients, or small to medium clients, that are just piloting or don't have any very sensitive data out there. They should go on the cloud.
It's a straightforward setup. It's pretty easy. That said if it's a new solution to you and if you don't know it, it might take a little while. Even then, it's easy. It's not complex.
Prior to StudioX coming in, it was very easy. Within 15 minutes for just a Studio client. However, with Studio, things changed a little. If you install StudioX and do not want to revert to the regular Studio, you'll probably have to uninstall the installation. StudioX usually comes with a separate installer and so on. With Studio Pro and the regular Studio, they come with their own thing.
UiPath is already working on providing an integrated installer for all of its offerings, so that should make it easier. If there is a wrapper application, and if from there you can select which one that you want to install, it'll be smoother. You'll be able to just click and go.
What was our ROI?
I have seen ROI in the past. My previous clients love UiPath. The current client is not in a spot to say just yet, however. It's a very new setup.
To see the ROI, that's where the off-work hours come into play. The automation works outside of working hours, and that actually speeds up a company's business processes in general. For those kinds of things, it's good. It shows a clear ROI.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
The pricing is okay. It can be reduced a little. It's still fair, however, pricing can be reduced by the company if it wants to spend less. Depending on the industry, or depending on the features that an organization is going to get, it's possible to scale down. For example, if I don't want to use the AI set of features, I just want basic automation, I don't have to get what I don't need. They've already done a good amount of corrections in the product offering. If somebody wants only a certain section of the offering, they should be given modular pricing, especially for the managed cloud, which should be pay as you go. If I don't want that service at all, why should you pay for it? If I want something, it's a different situation and I should be charged, however, if I don't want something, it's good to have the option to opt-out and save money. You can't really put the whole cost on a customer.
SAP IRPA has a good model whereby their offering is based on the number of hits. The more API hits that you're asking for, the price per hit reduces. That should be the typical model. I'm not sure what UiPath is doing in that respect, however, I feel that is the best approach.
What other advice do I have?
My organization has a business relationship with UiPath.
In the current setting that I'm working in, it's basically an on-cloud deployment. We have these Automation Cloud Services, to which we have been subscribed. In the past, I've used the on-premise UiPath deployment.
Since it's a SaaS offering, it's always available online.
We are using a relatively new version.
We do not use UiPath's AI functionality in our automation program currently. We also do not use UiPath's apps feature. That said, I am aware of some organizations that use it.
I would advise new users to fix up their processes first, check if their applications need to be upgraded or digitized. After that, they will be in a position to then take a long-term vision with UiPath and have a strategy, have a long, two to three-year strategy. It's not a good idea to take a "do as it comes" approach. There needs to be, ideally, a three-year strategy in place in order to get a lot of business benefits.
I would rate the solution at an eight out of ten. If the pricing was better, I would rate it higher.
Specifically, if you see Automation Anywhere's pricing, their basic automation is cheap, however, if you want to use the intelligent aspect, the intelligent aspect comes at a very good premium. That's most important. If I want to do simple process automation and if you're running a company at that scale, you need to understand your competition. There are a lot of players coming into the market and a big differentiator is going to be the cost. Power Automate is going to be successful based on that logic. It has high availability, big integration, and low pricing. It can disrupt UiPath's space.
Which deployment model are you using for this solution?