What is our primary use case?
The primary use we have for this product is a solution we created for a client to download daily data from a big company's website. It is a website tool for helping the company monitor the channel for managing their associate or partner responsibilities. They needed to visit the website every day — or as often as possible — so they could get information from the parent company, or collect orders or complaints from there.
What is most valuable?
The most valuable thing about the product is that it is simple. When you go into the UI — and probably because Softomotive has about a 20-year long history in the IT industry — there are small details in the features that simplify how you work with it. It has all the big features like competing products but the detail is the kind of thing that makes users feel more comfortable using the product than if the details were not there. So those kinds of ease-of-use details are good things for Softomotive. The design is a GUI interface which is really for non-programmers. There is only the graphic user interface so it is simple to use.
What needs improvement?
I think the primary thing that needs improvement in this product is the stability. It looks like it is easy-to-use and that is very nice, but it is more important to have a stable product and not just one that is easy-to-use. If I am working to create a simple process, odd errors occur quite often and in the middle of creating the process.
The additional features I might like to see in the next release would be adding in some capabilities that other products already have. For example, some RPA process management framework. UiPath has something like that, RE Framework (Robotic Enterprise Framework), which is something in Softomotive we have to develop by ourselves. They have some premade processes in WinAutomation, but in running a process they should have some kind of error handling. For example, if there are tasks that should be run like 100 times and maybe it will freeze up at the 50th cycle, then the process should start again from 50, not from number one.
If they can come up with some kind of framework and error handling, that will enhance the stability of the running processes made out of their solution. Right now I cannot resolve these main issues on my own and they should be added to the product.
For how long have I used the solution?
I started testing it out three months ago and have been using it for about two months.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
The stability of the product is not always good even when working on simple projects. This is not a bad product — I still use it — but the stability is something that they need to improve.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
Scalability is just buying more licenses. I worked for RPA consulting company and a development company and then I worked as an RPA developer. Then I was dispatched to a company to develop a process for that company. That company at the time purchased ProcessRobot, and then recently WinAutomation — I think five copies. They tested it and they are now trying to expand usage.
How are customer service and technical support?
I have been in touch with the technical support for WinAutomation by Softomotive a lot, really. The support is good and they provide the information or answers I need.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
I have used other products in the past. For example, by comparison, UiPath might be a little bit more stable but it is also a little bit more complicated in the UI/UX (User Interface/User Experience) than Softomotive. UiPath has not got some of the fancy features — just the basic ones. You just collect your UI elements or web elements and use the basic features. But say you maybe run a process 1000 times in both tools. UiPath seems to me in our testing to have fewer errors than Softomotive. But the complexity of the project or the stability would make me choose one product over the other.
How was the initial setup?
The setup in WinAutomation is kind of straightforward. I did not experience any trouble in the installation. ProcessRobot is a bit different and then UiPath is a little bit more complicated in the installation, but I think it is manageable as well.
To actually get the product to work from the point of installation to where I could start running some processes took maybe a month the first time. But this included learning the product. Development with a little experience using the tool usually takes 15 days or about two weeks.
What about the implementation team?
We did the deployment of this by ourselves.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
Because I am in this industry, I am gathering information about different tools all the time. I use mainly WinAutomation and ProcessRobot and maybe UiPath for only a month. It is sometimes just to collect information and other times to consider other products.
What other advice do I have?
I think the advice I can give someone considering this solution has to do with making a smart choice. If someone wants to do some RPA project without already knowing a product, then he or she needs to take quite a long time to learn about RPA. You can look at the subject to learn about it and then learn a little bit about programming. There is not just one place to find this kind of tutorial and educational material. A single vendor will only provide what you need to use their product. Each vendor has different educational materials from different perspectives and different methods of teaching.
If they want us to use Softomotive as a solution, they may have to do less work in learning about RPA because it is easy to use. But they should probably also visit the UiPath website or maybe AutomationAnywhere to compare the products and features. In many ways, the products are the same with the ultimate goal being that of creating a working RPA process.
But I think there is a difference in the availability of information and user communities. UiPath has a little bit more structured education system and their community is larger. Because Softomotive is not as widely used it is more difficult to ask other users questions. You may have to direct your questions to the software team. But with UiPath, they can ask questions through a web portal like forum.uipath.com. It is less stressful to ask a question and get an answer from other users.
ProcessRobot users also have a smaller community but they cannot ask questions from support unless they have the license for the product. WinAutomation is different. It is kind of a semi-commercial product but it is not totally free like open-source. There is also a little restriction on which questions you can ask of support before you invest in the product. They are very responsive and also helpful and their company helps people directly. You go through a sort of process. Maybe Softmotive might not always find an answer or give you a particular solution. Then you can also be a little creative and look for how something is solved using other RPA tools like consulting UiPath Academy. This might give you some hints about what you are trying to accomplish.
Sometimes I have found that I kind of I reached a dead end. I had no answer as to where to go. I was just confused and then I could not find any answer from the Softmotive website and there was nowhere to ask the question that I had. Other vendors also have wonderful features and then I tested those to see what they could do. It is kind of a long process to develop a stable process and you have to continue to learn.
On a scale from one to ten where one is the worst and ten is the best, I would rate this product as a seven. Of course to rate this software higher, they would need to work on the stability issues, enhance the available resources for users, and fill in some of the features that are missing which other products already have.
* Added on 2020-07-17 : Now that Softomotive is acquired and WinAutomation have become a part of PowerAutomate and the price has gone down almost to half of its original price, the future is quite promising for this product.
Which deployment model are you using for this solution?