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Automation Anywhere (AA) OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

Automation Anywhere (AA) is the #2 ranked solution in our list of best RPA tools. It is most often compared to UiPath: Automation Anywhere (AA) vs UiPath

What is Automation Anywhere (AA)?

Automation Anywhere is a global leader in Robotic Process Automation (RPA), empowering customers to automate end-to-end business processes with intelligent software bots – AI-powered digital workers that perform repetitive and manual tasks, resulting in dramatic productivity gains, optimized customer experience and more engaged employees. The company offers the world’s only cloud-native and web-based automation platform combining RPA, artificial intelligence, machine learning and analytics, yielding significantly lower TCO, higher security, and faster scalability than legacy monolithic platforms. Its Bot Store is the world's first and largest marketplace with more than 1,200 pre-built, intelligent automation solutions. Automation Anywhere has deployed over 2.8 million bots to support some of the world’s largest enterprises across all industries in more than 90 countries. 

For additional information, visit www.automationanywhere.com.

Automation Anywhere (AA) is also known as Automation Anywhere, Testing Anywhere, Automation Anywhere Enterprise.

Automation Anywhere (AA) Buyer's Guide

Download the Automation Anywhere (AA) Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: October 2021

Automation Anywhere (AA) Customers

Google, Linkedin, Cisco, Juniper Networks, DellEMC, Comcast, Mastercard, Quest Diagnostics

Automation Anywhere (AA) Video

Pricing Advice

What users are saying about Automation Anywhere (AA) pricing:
  • "Our pricing a year ago was $600 per license."
  • "Additional costs will be for the machines and the number of machines that you are using. You can deploy virtually as well as on physical machines. In both the situations, you do need to allocate a certain budget for securing the machines and where the software will be installed and running. The machines cannot be used for anything else, because only a certain bot can run at a certain time. You need to be very particular about your scheduling of running the bots, and while the bot is running nobody can use the machine. You cannot have an agent working on a machine and the bot running in the background. It has to be completely dedicated. Then there are the network bandwidth requirements and space requirements, which are additional costs apart from the licensing and software costs. The developer is also going to charge you for their coding time too."

Automation Anywhere (AA) Reviews

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Priya Batish
Business Advisory Manager (AVP) at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 20
While the platform is feature-rich and easy to use, it is the skill of the coder that determines how well the platform is leveraged

Pros and Cons

  • "There are multiple levels of cloning. In case screen cloning doesn't work, you can do object-based cloning or keystroke-level cloning, depending upon what parameters are available to you and what is the level of information that you capture. You can traverse between object cloning, which is the lowest form of cloning to a stroke-based cloning, which is like taking care of each keystroke-level which is made by the agent."
  • "My experience has been that if the person who codes the bot is not very well-trained, then they might create unstable bots. So, it's not the platform. It is just how somebody has coded the bots which can bring lot of instability to them. I recommend that when you are using a coder that the person well-trained and have a good amount of experience already working on bots. They shouldn't be newbie or beginner who comes in to code because that will impact the quality of the code itself."

What is our primary use case?

Most of our automation happens on Automation Anywhere

While the automation is being done, we use it as a platform. Then, depending on the number of users/ bots needed, we apply  for the corresponding licenses.

The good thing about Automation Anywhere is that any process:

1. Which is repetitive, rule-based, and only requires you to do collect/ edit information on the application frontend can be automated. 

Therefore, Automation Anywhere makes for a good use case. 

2.Wherever the process is  deterministic, with no decisions to be made, you can use it. 

It can automate any processes where 

3. Process is well established, standard, or stable, and there are not many changes in the process. For example, a simple task, such as logging into a website, launching a website and doing systematic steps on the website, can easily be captured to Automation Anywhere.  I see lot of applications, especially in finance and accounting domain.

You might have a lot of steps where you need to either extract data, repeat data, or collect data. All of those processes can be automated through RPA, and especially Automation Anywhere. You can use even automation from the server side, not just websites. The only constraint is that the process should not require human intervention and decision making.

How has it helped my organization?

We see the application in the 

# BPO space, 

# Finance and accounting, 

# Health care in terms of claim processing.

E.g. in F&A, if you're doing invoice processing where the entire process is manual, and the analyst has to go through the invoice to determine invoice details, discount on the payment  or a penalty should be levied. In such cases, you can scan this information through an OCR, which is an optical character recognition tool. Then, the rest of the information can be pretty much retrieved by the RPA, which means the RPA will scan the information to classify this information and fill up the  web form. This will be sent to the ERP. This is how the workflow would look like. 

Wherever you can put

# a rule-based system, you can automate all of the processes. In our company, all these processes are manual and you might have 50 to 60 people supporting this process for a mid-size company. You can automate it and almost reduce the manual effort by almost 40 to 50 percent, depending upon how many techs are enrolled and what is the effort being spent in order to process transaction volumes.

I have been familiar with a couple of projects where this was implemented in cash applications or invoice processing, and they could automate these steps. So, I'm familiar with some of the back-end processes and where they are getting automated.

What is most valuable?

#1.You don't have to really code anything, as it gives you a good interface (UI), because the components are already preconfigured, you  have to just a drag and drop sequence in terms of how you want to execute the steps. 

#2. There are preconfigured APIs that can be used. E.g., if you want to interact with the mailbox solution, you can have the RPA fetch attachments or email body from the mail solution. You can process attachments via test file or PDF. You can even make Automation Anywhere work around PDF, which is typically not that easy to work with in terms of extracting information.

#3. Metabots/ IQ Bots: One of the features, which we have not used too much, but available, is the MetaBot feature. These preconfigured solutions are easily downloadable, and you can just plug-and-play with a bit of customization, which also means you do not have to keep recreating and can reuse existing functionality. Some of the typical uses are that you could be regularly logging into a website. You can just download a MetaBot, as a useful webpage interface and just run it. All you have to do is maybe replace the name of the website, and in case there is a certain authentication mechanism that is being used, then provide that information.

# 4.There are multiple levels of cloning. In case screen cloning doesn't work, you can do object-based cloning or keystroke-level cloning, depending upon what parameters are available to you and what is the level of information that you capture. You can traverse between object cloning, which is the lowest, most basic form of cloning to a stroke-based cloning, which is like taking care of each keystroke-level which is made by the agent.

What needs improvement?

#1 Exception Management and Notification: When you are making a code, and there is a happy path and exception management mechanism, it would be nice if there was feedback in terms of whether this is the most appropriate way to code this. I'm not sure how this can be done, but that could be very insightful. It already gives you some screen tips, but this could be done in a better fashion, in case you are creating the workflow and then you believe a beta workflow is available or could be done. If a screen tip could be given to the coder for this sort of workflow, this would be a much better feature for Automation Anywhere. 

# 2 Type of Cloning: I've realized that sometimes when screen-level cloning is a better option, people still use object-based cloning. It would be useful if Automation Anyone could give you tips recommending fewer steps or fewer areas of exception management after you inputted your code. I'm not really sure if this is doable from a technical standpoint.

#3 Debugging: Currently, I believe the debugging of bot is a bit tricky and not very elegant, you might have to keep re-running the script to be able to identify the bug. This can be looked at, as a possible area of improvement. 

#4 Scheduling:There are two modules: the run module and the control center. In terms of scheduling and triggering, they could make it a bit more helpful and provide suggestions, e.g., if you are scheduling it, and there is a conflict, can you resolve it this way. Maybe you can get an upfront alert or something to that effect. 

#5: Stability, Workaround and fall back mechanism: When  bot breaks down, is there any of mechanisms or notifications that can be given? You can possibly choose to notify people, typically in organizations people are pretty much adverse to automation. If something breaks down, they would like to know at the earliest given opportunity that something is breaking down and piling up. They want to be able to resolve it quickly. If the resolution is going to take time, they want to be able to make some specific workaround mechanism kick in. If a bot breaks down, immediately the fallback mechanism should work too. If there could be information in terms of  when the process was out of range and somebody might need to take a look at what has happened. This is because most of these business processes that get automated are critical in nature and might have financial and operational impact. People need to know that there are working fine and not broken down. It can really have an adverse impact if they break down and nobody knows.

#6. Platform Training: My experience has been that if the person who codes the bot is not very well-trained, then they might create unstable bots. So, it's not the platform. It is just how somebody has coded the bots which can bring in lot of instability to them. I recommend that when you are using a coder that the person well-trained and have a good amount of experience already working on bots. They shouldn't be newbie or beginner who comes in to code because that will impact the quality of the code itself.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been working with Automation Anywhere for the last three years at two different companies.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

# Business process stability: Before robotic automation, the business process itself should be stable and very well-documented. Also, anytime a change is made to the process or subprocess ensure, that the RPA gets updated too. Typically, the entire process of automation might take some time, then by that time, the initial business process might have changed a bit. There could variations in terms of volume or in the process itself.

The most important thing is that before you automate something that you must make sure that it is stable, in its steady state for whatever changes might be upcoming over the next six month to year. Otherwise, you might create a bot, which will go into production,  and fail because the underlying process itself has changed.

# Monitoring and controllership: If there is no changes in the process, bots are pretty much stable and especially, if they have been well coded. In case there have been any changes anywhere in the process or subprocess, the bot can fail. This means you must have a review mechanism with monitoring in place. Once you put a bot into production, you have to monitor it and do regular sanity checks. Otherwise, you could have situations where bots have failed and you might not know, then the process comes to a standstill. In a nutshell monitoring and control is an important aspect of RPA in the run phase.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is just scaling up the number of bots, so scalability is not a problem. You can increase the number of machines and number of bots to scale up the solution, but it can be sometimes very cost prohibitive. E.g., typically, it requires a dedicated machine, and it can't be a shared environment. This can be a bit of a constraint in terms of the number of machines being used. Otherwise, the solution is completely scalable. In case the process requires more throughput, you can just increase the number of bots which are working. Also, if you are doing this properly, then you have to make sure that there are not multiple bots running at the same time which might be at cross purposes.

How are customer service and technical support?

I don't interact with the people from Automation Anywhere.

How was the initial setup?

Procurement of the license is easy, but depending upon what you want to automate and how you automate it that might take time. Setup is not at all difficult. You just take the license and install the application, then it's ready to go. However, in terms of what you're trying to automate, how you're trying to automate it, and the complexity of the problem, the entire automation process can take time.

# Implementation timelines:The time frame to implement depends on the complexities and number of the processes and subprocesses. In a typical process, the coding, testing, and deployment could range from a week to four weeks. However, I have seen it sometimes take longer because you have to continuously keep checking and testing it. Every time the code breaks down, you have to possibly start from the beginning.

My experience has been one to four weeks as the ideal time frame. However, depending on how well the process was understood and documented, there can be certain gaps which would only become evident during the testing phase, not otherwise.

# Resources: Depending on the number of bots that you have to create and the number of the complex processes along with the given budget and timelines that you have in mind, the number of developers range from one to multiple developers. The resources that you really need are developers because they are people who will be coding. Otherwise, from an ownership standpoint, we need some subject-matter expertise for the process. The people who are subject-matter experts will be needed on a part-time basis for the developer to be able to map the process well and be able to create their technical design. Then, you will need a technical master who creates the technical documentation of how it will be coded. The number of technical masters again depends upon the processes and complexity along with the corresponding number of developers.

The deployment team may not be very big. You need just the developers and a design architect, mostly two people. All the other people come and go per the requirement stage of the deployment. There might be people who are there only for consultation. Some people might be there only to approve the solution. Whenever you bring in automation, it has to be reviewed, monitored, and assessed from the organization's standpoint. There might be people who are just doing approvals for this process deployment in case it's a very complex project, and then there is a project manager. Otherwise, sometimes the technical design person doubles up as a project manager too.

What about the implementation team?

Before implementing, you do the assessment of why the organization wants to automate:

Imperatives for Robotic Automation 

  • What do they want to automate? 
  • What are the key objectives  the organization wants to achieve through robotic automation? 
  • Is it a process optimization or is it cost cutting? 
  • Who is driving the automation? Is it client-driven or is it vendor-driven? 

Then, you have to build the business case in terms of what you want to try to automate. E.g., how much can actually be automated? That assessment should be done. Even the cost and time of automation versus that benefits that you're going to get out of it needs to be done.

# Process Degeneration: When we start automating, we do a process desegregation. This means whatever processes are under scope that we try and understand the task level, activity level, and precedence details. We make activity diagrams, then try and assess out of all of these which one can be automated. So, if the automation index is pretty high, which means that most of the process can be automated, e.g., up to 80 percent, then it might make a better business case than if the automobility is only say 30 to 40 percent. Then, the cost of automation might be way higher.

# Setting the right expectations with the client: t is also important to set the right expectations with the organization. Are they new to automation or do they some prior experience with automation? Because this helps us set the right expectations in terms of the benefits which can be had. The customer might also want to understand what are the impacts if automation fails and the fallback mechanisms. For example:

  • How do you mitigate or remediate the impact of automation failure? 
  • What is a criticality of the process you're automating? 
  • What are your points of failure and choke points? 
  • What are your backup plans if things aren't going well?

The most important thing is the business case as to the cost versus the benefits of automation.

# Legal and Compliance Regulations: Also, are any legal or compliance regulations which are applicable because technically it might be feasible to automate, but legally or from a compliance point of view, it might not be good idea to automate. You might want to still have human intervention in terms of verification and validation.

# Criticality of the process: From a financial impact standpoint, things that require a bit of background investigation might be better kept as a manual process or require a human approval rather than automating it completely.

What was our ROI?

It all depends on the scale. In one project that I have worked on, we had a savings of $200,000 over a three-year period and a payback period of 6 months. The typical ratio is that one bot will replace two people.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

# Licensing: One of the components of key drivers for us to renew our contract is AI or automation. As an organization, we are moving toward smarter operations.

Our pricing a year ago was $600 per license, but I am not sure of our current licensing cost.

# Set up cost: Additional costs will be for the machines and the number of machines that you are using. You can deploy virtually as well as on physical machines. In both the situations, you do need to allocate a certain budget for securing the machines and where the software will be installed and running. 

# Dedicated Machines: The machines cannot be used for anything else, because only a certain bot can run at a certain time. You need to be very particular about your scheduling of running the bots, and while the bot is running nobody can use the machine. You cannot have an agent working on a machine and the bot running in the background. The machine  has to be completely dedicated. 

# Network Bandwidth and Disk Space: Then there are the network bandwidth requirements and  disk space requirements, which are additional costs apart from the licensing and software costs. The developer is also going to charge you for their coding time too.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

There are two or three more tools in the market such as Blue Prism, UI Path, but I think the preference was given to Automation Anywhere.

I have only worked with Automation Anywhere.

Understand why you are choosing Automation Anywhere, as the platforms are pretty on the same level except for certain functionalities. Also, in some scenarios, one platform could be better than another. Pick a platform and stick with it.

What other advice do I have?

It is easy to use, but I realize that the effectiveness of the platform depends on the coder and how he is doing the coding. This is my experience, because I have seen that the quality of the automation is as good as the person who is using it. In Automation Anywhere, the skill set of the coder really determines how good the automation is, which is why I am making it a eight (out of 10), not 10 (out of 10). Because while the platform is feature-rich and easy to use, it is the skill of the coder that determines how well the platform is leveraged.

I' am now mainly driving AI at my company. RPA has become a bit secondary in the sense that it is a part of my solution, but most of the time, it is AI-driven. RPA sort of helps in the execution of some of the components of that overall solution. From the organization's standpoint, automation is already a part of all our solutions. E.g., our organization is moving toward automation where almost 30 percent of any deal will be allocated to automation. It will be a ratio of 70:30, where out of $100, a total of $30 dollars will be allocated toward automation and AI.

I did my certification on version 10.4.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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ApurvaBoradia
CEO at Nine A Business Connect
Real User
Top 20
Very easily integrates with an environment of an organization

Pros and Cons

  • "So far, we have seen that a valuable feature of Automation Anywhere is the ease of integrating it with multiple systems. It can very easily integrate with an environment of an organization. It helps in a quick go to access and implementation. You don't have to spend days implementing Automation Anywhere software. You can quickly go drag and drop and do an ease of configuration. You can actually get your bot up and running very fast, which is one important advantage."
  • "They should do more on the cognitive side. If they can keep adding more features, that would be their greatest advantage."

What is our primary use case?

I will be talking about some of the leading products from Automation Anywhere, which is their RPA Taskbot and IQ bot. Being a consultant and partner, we have implemented successfully some solutions for Automation Anywhere using IQ bot and Taskbot.

How has it helped my organization?

We have found that finance as a function has always been a very strong use case when it comes to a product like Automation Anywhere. The reason is very strong compliance, quality, error controls, and the speed and efficiency with which Automation Anywhere can deliver projects. Because of this, finance as a function has always been a great user for this type of solution. However, we have also tried implementing Automation Anywhere around some very different use cases in HR.

We have implemented Automation Anywhere solutions for HR recruitment and onboarding, which has helped save a lot of time to go through some of the very detailed resumes with multiple pages of a candidates' profiles, their skill sets, their academics, and their years of experience. When there are hundreds and thousands of such resumes which are applied online through multiple channels, like LinkedIn, Monster, email, or any campaigns, it really becomes very painful for HR organizations to go and scan so many CVs and process, then mine, the best candidates for a particular job request.

So, we use successfully Automation Anywhere product to automate the complete recruitment process, along with our onboarding process as well. It has really worked wonders for the organization and departments.

Finance as a function is driven by cost and the money involved in it. So, if I'm processing an invoice, doing procurement, or expense processing, there is money involved. From a compliance perspective, the value of the bot should be accurate to the second or third decimal. The accuracy of the job being done has a very high sensitivity in finance compared to other functions because there is money involved on the receivable side or payable side. So, either I am to collect money from my customers or I am to pay money to my suppliers or vendors. Everywhere, there is money involved, and you can't execute an incorrect job. You can't execute a wrong document and end up paying less or end up paying more to your suppliers or customers. When it comes to financials, Automation Anywhere has done amazing work in ensuring not only the speed and accuracy of the bot, but also the compliance and error controls through which the bot executes the job at very high satisfaction and tolerance levels. So, I have seen various use cases and success stories where Automation Anywhere is used in finance.

What is most valuable?

So far, we have seen that a valuable feature of Automation Anywhere is the ease of integrating it with multiple systems. It can very easily integrate with an environment of an organization. It helps in a quick go to access and implementation. You don't have to spend days implementing Automation Anywhere software. You can quickly go drag and drop and do an ease of configuration. You can actually get your bot up and running very fast, which is one important advantage.

For a business user, it is not very technical or complex software. Before this, they need to have a lot of training. So, that is the ease and simplicity with which Automation Anywhere can be deployed, not only by a technical team, but also by the business owners. I found this to be a very unique, competitive advantage.

What needs improvement?

The industry is moving towards strong AI and ML-based algorithms. They have already started their journey. Earlier, Automation Anywhere added Taskbot, then they added IQ Bot. I would say bring the AI component into the Automation Anywhere product line, then a user will be able to make a lot of decision-making processes digitally instead of with human intervention. The more that they bring and make their cognitive engine stronger, along with the Taskbot or digital worker, that's where I feel they will have a wonderful contribution to an organization who is looking at a truly digital workforce environment.

They should do more on the cognitive side. If they can keep adding more features, that would be their greatest advantage.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

A good thing about Automation Anywhere are three important things: scalability, durability, and the entire stability of the environment. So, I can start the journey with one, two, five, or 10 bots, then just look at the very comparable enterprise organization where I could apply hundreds of the bots.

Now, in any other situation, when I deploy the bot from our development to UAT to a production environment, and bots are running in a production environment, what I should not be worried about is: Are those bots running? Are the tasks getting completed on time? All that stuff. 

Stability of Automation Anywhere bots is very high. So, a one side deploys these bots successfully. I don't have to worry much whether the bot is stable. Is the bot performing? Even after deploying the bot, do I have to go back and check ii the bot is having some problems? Or, are there some errors being induced?

In the Control Room, I am able to see the complete dashboard of all the bots: 

  • Which bots I have deployed (hundreds of them)?
  • How many bots are in progress? 
  • How many bots are running? 
  • How many bots have thrown some error because of incorrect jobs or processes?

That gives me very quick access to the entire deployment of my bots. I can access that dashboard, even from my mobile. Even if I'm not in office and I'm head of the enterprise or a COE architecture, I can just log into my mobile and see how many bots are performing well, how many bots have done the job in time, etc.

The stability of the whole architecture is the essence of Automation Anywhere, if you ask me.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is huge. I have seen organizations who don't want to invest big during the initial phase, even if they have a big appetite to deploy hundreds of bots. They normally start with five or 10 bots. The best part about Automation Anywhere is you can start with five, 10, 50, 100, 200, or 300 bots. Today, the Control Room can manage 300 to 400 Bot Runners in a single architecture.

So, organizations don't have to worry that after a 100 bots they won't have to do another architecture change or shift the entire environment here or there. They can keep on adding bots and keep scaling their organization to hundreds of bots.

You can configure bots to do multiple tasks in a series or in batch mode, depending upon the type of task. Ideally, when you assign a job to the bot, it will try to finish it. But, if there is some parallel processing required for some business requirement, I can make a few bots do the job parallel, then I can take over from where the other guys left off. That is another ease of Automation Anywhere. Bots can be configured the way you want to perform your operations.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have worked with their technical support. I would rate them quite well. It is improving day by day. From the initial days, when we used to approach the technical support, we definitely used to get a lot of technical insight from them related to Automation Anywhere. Today, when we talked to them for environments outside Automation Anywhere which are a customer environment, they are able to assist us. They are able to guide us on something, even as a part of the enterprise architecture. 

The best part I have seen is the technical capabilities and support metrics to help the customers and partners (like us) are improving day by day. That is the biggest advantage of why they are able to reach this scale of enterprise penetration today.

How was the initial setup?

In this forum, we have come to know that they're also coming out with a browser version. Today, we have to install the software on a PC, desktop, or server. What they are coming out with now is like a browser version, which quickly can be applied instead of an installation. That is amazing. That will be disruptive. You can now deploy hundreds of bots at a very fast pace, and that's an amazing thing to look forward to.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We have seen environments where customers do have multiple product lines for doing different functionalities or process automations. While comparing various competitors, we have found that if a customer is at the SMB or medium scale of deployment, say two, five, or 10 bots, there are competitive products available . But, any organization who has gone enterprise scale of hundreds of bot has chosen Automation Anywhere because the way they have created their entire governments and architecture. Customers are more comfortable with Automation Anywhere when it comes to scalability.

Two or three bots, we have seen competitors here and there. But, the moment you move into large scale bot deployments, we have seen comfort more with Automation Anywhere compared to other competitors.

What other advice do I have?

Last year, I would have rate them an eight (out of 10). This year, I would rate them a nine (out of 10) because I'm seeing a lot of improvements coming. As an observer in the industry, a consultant, and a partner, this is what look upon to any giant like Automation Anywhere to bring a lot of exciting new features every year. This is required by everybody in the organization and globally. That's why I would say nine out of 10. I would have said 10 out of 10, but I want them to bring more such features, and maybe next year I'll be saying 10 out of 10.

Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor. The reviewer's company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
Learn what your peers think about Automation Anywhere (AA). Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: October 2021.
541,462 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Deepak_Batra
Country Head and Controller at Evalueserve
Video Review
Real User
Top 20
IQ Bot can transition unstructured data into structured data

Pros and Cons

  • "The most valuable part is that it have the integrated OCR solution within it. All the other solutions do not have the right integration of the OCR solutions. You need to go to two different places to get one solution. Whereas, in IQ Bot, there is one area where you get all these solutions together in one area. That is the most important and beautiful point that I like about IQ Bot."
  • "It may sound a little funny or weird, but one thing that we are thinking is we have to go to various websites and pick up relevant data from various websites using the bot. That is something we have seen that none of the bots have been able to really do it because the back-end of those websites do not allow bots to scrap through all these websites and get the relevant data in one place. We would like to see how the bot companies would crack this idea. But, that's why I said, this look weird because of the legal reasons why this cannot be done. This is something that I am looking forward to."

What is our primary use case?

We are discussed specifically the IQ Bot from Automation Anywhere which has excited me a lot because of the functions that it brings. They are really commendable because I have seen a lot of other software and solutions which are not giving that much accuracy in terms of the output. But, IQ Bot has been one of the top-notch solutions that I have seen in the OCR field, which covers a lot of the areas where we can transition unstructured data into structured data. This can be utilized in many use cases, like accounts payable, T&E processes, and so on and so forth. That's why I'm very excited to talk about IQ Bot.

How has it helped my organization?

One of the use cases of IQ Bot that I've seen is the claim processing in the insurance industry. There are tons of manual forms coming into the input files. Everyone has to work on those files manually to create a structured database out of them. It takes lot of time for them to really do it. Whereas in IQ Bot, if you run the engine, and have the scanned copies of these claims processing forms, they just get converted into very good structured data in a few seconds. Later on, you can utilize that database the way you want it. You can do a lot of analytics out of this, which would not only save time and create efficiencies, but it also brings in a lot of value for the organization whose data is being analyzed and structured.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable part is that it have the integrated OCR solution within it. All the other solutions do not have the right integration of the OCR solutions. You need to go to two different places to get one solution. Whereas, in IQ Bot, there is one area where you get all these solutions together in one area. That is the most important and beautiful point that I like about IQ Bot.

What needs improvement?

I didn't have anything as such in mind. After listening to the CEO of Automation Anywhere, he has given some very exciting features which are up and coming in the next few weeks or so. One of them is the integration with Microsoft. This will be a game changer forever. Because Microsoft Office 365 or Outlook, these are being used by every individual.

Integrating Automation Anywhere bots with these type of Microsoft solutions will give us so much flexibility. We can utilize so much reach or access to these bots in every type of work that we are doing. They will become like our personal assistants. That is where it's very exciting. I'm looking forward to look it. I believe that it will be a killer in this area.

It may sound a little funny or weird, but one thing that we are thinking is we have to go to various websites and pick up relevant data from various websites using the bot. That is something we have seen that none of the bots have been able to really do it because the back-end of those websites do not allow bots to scrap through all these websites and get the relevant data in one place. We would like to see how the bot companies would crack this idea. But, that's why I said, this look weird because of the legal reasons why this cannot be done. This is something that I am looking forward to.

For how long have I used the solution?

We just started working on this.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

As far as stability is concerned, it is pretty stable. We have seen how it is used in various use cases in the scenarios. It has very good stability. Because in the case of any claims processing, it creates a very defined database. In case it finds any anomalies, which it does not really solve, it red lines all those areas so someone can manually go and correct those. Then, later on, it learns from its own mistakes. Wherein, next time, you don't have to really fix those issues, which it has found in the first place. This means, as the IQ Bot gets more experience, it will learn on its own, and become a better, more stable product over a period of time.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have seen results, and the results are good. But, it will take me another couple of quarters to answer on the overall scalability and consistency of this bot.

How are customer service and technical support?

We did use technical support for troubleshooting and maintenance as well.

Our internal technical support team is not that very big. It's pretty small. One person does it on a very ad hoc basis, whenever it is required.

Wherever we find that our team does not have the right subject matter expertise, that is when we call our customer success manager. They are able to help us out with various automative solutions that bring the solution back in place from that angle.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

My boss and I were both involved in bringing the RPA into our organization. We had been researching RPA for the last six to eight months to see what various functions RPA can work on, how to identify the better candidate in terms of processes, and how we can get the ROI out of the RPA.

We did all types research, reading articles, and talking to Automation Anywhere guys. These guys have been very helpful and flexible in talking to us. Anytime we have asked them for any sort of information. they were forthcoming. Giving the information on their own. They have explained their use cases. That intrigued us to go into this area and try more on the RPA side.

This was the first RPA project that we did.

How was the initial setup?

When you are not aware of RPA solutions, it definitely looks more complex. But once you are done with your first implementation, then it becomes very straightforward. Going forward, this will be even more straight forward, because I learned from the Automation Anywhere guys that going forward all these bots or engines can be created with very user-friendly drag and drop functions. This would become more of a plug and play solution for everyone, maybe for the people who are non-technical as well. So, to begin with, it is really complex because of the knowledge that people do not have. But, later on, after the first implementation, it becomes very straightforward.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did consider other RPA products as well. So, all the competitors of Automation Anywhere, we went through them. I personally looked into UiPath, Blue Prism, NICE, and AutomationEdge. These were a few which we've gone through.

There are lot of reasons why we went with Automation Anywhere, but I will tell you the more practical reasons on the basis of which we recommended and said, "Okay, Automation Anywhere would be the good choice for us." 

  1. One of them was obviously IQ Bot, which I spoke about in the beginning. IQ Bot is one of the unique ideas of Automation Anywhere. When we want to use OCR, because we are a research company, we see that OCR will be the key for us. That is the reason. In all the others, they have outside integration of the AB and other tools. There is only one product with this. 
  2. While working on these products, simultaneously, we have seen that in few cases, there was a duplication of inputs in some of the other ones. Whereas, in the Automation Anywhere, when we were putting inputs in one place, it will just getting replicated in the second place. This was saving a lot of time for us. That was from a modus operandi standpoint. It was much better than the others. 
  3. We have talked to the teams of Automation Anywhere, UiPath, Blue Prism, etc. We found the team for Automation Anywhere was very flexible and forthcoming. They were forward looking and bringing more ideas. They are bringing more alternatives to us. They are actually standing right behind us, in case of any sort of inquiries or questions. Those things, we like a lot. That's the reason we chose Automation Anywhere. 

I can write a five-page differentiator on Automation Anywhere, but I think these are the most important ones.

What other advice do I have?

To begin with, since my experience has been excellent with Automation Anywhere so far, I would not shy away from giving them a rating of eight (out of 10).

Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor. The reviewer's company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
Radhaprem Ramaraj
Group Head IT at a tech services company with 1,001-5,000 employees
MSP
Top 10
Reduces complexity, provides a good user experience, and allows us to integrate it with our in-house solutions through APIs

Pros and Cons

  • "The ease of use for the end user and the very low complexity in trying to build a bot are the big factors for us. We are able to work on a project, identify a use case, come up with a design spec, and execute and build a bot within a span of six to eight weeks. In nine to ten weeks, we are able to go live, which reduced complexity. Once we go live, the user interface and the user experience are extremely good."
  • "Their bot runners could be made to handle multiple payloads at the same time because if I want to run multiple parallel operations, the number of bot runners that I have to buy just keeps increasing. It is adding to the cost. However, there is a possibility that we don't need that many bot runners, and we can run multiple operations in a bot runner. This would be a great addition to have."

What is our primary use case?

We are currently working on a vendor bill reconciliation process. It is in production now. We are also working on an incident management process for customer service. Within the customer services, there are four or five different processes that we are working on. All of them are incident management but for different categories at different levels. The next use case that we will be working on is bank reconciliation, and then we are planning to expand into HR for onboarding and recruitment. These are unattended robots. 

How has it helped my organization?

We are able to integrate it with other products through APIs, which we may not have thought about. For example, there are some in-house solutions that we have for which we have built APIs, and we're able to integrate those APIs with Automation Anywhere. We didn't expect that we'll be working on that but it happened.

What is most valuable?

The ease of use for the end user and the very low complexity in trying to build a bot are the big factors for us. We are able to work on a project, identify a use case, come up with a design spec, and execute and build a bot within a span of six to eight weeks. In nine to ten weeks, we are able to go live, which reduced complexity. Once we go live, the user interface and the user experience are extremely good.

What needs improvement?

Their bot runners could be made to handle multiple payloads at the same time because if I want to run multiple parallel operations, the number of bot runners that I have to buy just keeps increasing. It is adding to the cost. However, there is a possibility that we don't need that many bot runners, and we can run multiple operations in a bot runner. This would be a great addition to have.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for six months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

You get what you paid for. What it says on the tin is what you'll get inside. As a customer, you will not be disappointed. If you're thinking that you want to build rockets using Automation Anywhere, then you will be disappointed. As long as you know your business needs, the automation that you want to focus on, and you understand the product's functionalities in a good way, you will not be disappointed.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability depends on how many parallel processes you want to run. A bot runner basically runs a bot. How many bots can it run? How many of these need to run in serial? How many of these need to run in parallel? This information will determine how much you have to scale. Now, if you're willing to pay a lot of money and have multiple bot runners, that means for each and every bot runner, you can have multiple processes running at the same time. So, if you are willing to pay, yes, you can scale. It depends on your budget. The product works whether you're on 1 bot or 20 bots. The product just goes off and does its thing. That's not a problem.

If it is 1 bot that you're running once a day at 10:00 in the morning, then you need one bot runner. If you have 20 processes that you're automating and these 20 things have to run throughout the day at different points in time at 10:00, 12:00, or 2:00, you can still run them with one bot runner. In those use cases, scalability is not a problem. Scalability becomes an issue when you have multiple processes. If a reconciliation process needs to run along with the general ledger balancing, month-end closing, and everything else, and all of them need to run at the same time, then you're looking at about 10 bot runners running 10 different bots at the same time. If you're willing to pay, you can get what you want, but it becomes a very expensive affair.

We have 15 to 20 people who are touching the application for various purposes. We have business analysts, developers, testers, and the external implementation team. We also have business users.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I have used both UiPath and BluePrism in my previous organizations. Automation Anywhere gives me the flexibility for both on-prem and SaaS, and the difference is not huge for me in terms of performance, security, and all that stuff. It gives me the flexibility, but honestly, on paper, all these three products pretty much do the same. There is a plus or minus 5% difference here or there, but you'll not go wrong with any of these products.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was very straightforward. There are specific things that they ask in terms of the environments that we need to build in our typical Windows server, that is, what kind of memory and what kind of processing capability we require. I can't talk from the SaaS perspective because we have an on-prem deployment, but giving on-prem equipment based on the defined specs is pretty much child's play. There is nothing complex about it. It is very easy for developers who understand the platform. You can quickly roll out something and get it live, but you need to understand a lot of logic and the complexity behind the applications such as ServiceNow, Workday, Salesforce, etc. 

What about the implementation team?

We started off with an implementation partner, and our experience with them was good. They had about three people in their team, and we had our business people who were giving the requirements. We also had our technology people who were basically acting as the bridge between our business people and their developers.

What was our ROI?

We are expecting a significant ROI by the end of the year. 

What other advice do I have?

From a business angle, understand what is it that you need. Where do you see inefficiencies? If you're going to fix inefficiencies that are going to be fixed as part of a larger company-wide transformation program, then use the transformation program and fix those inefficiencies as part of the existing solution. If you think that that larger transformation program is not going to touch some places or if that larger transformation program will touch some of these inefficient areas but not in the near future, and you want some immediate wins, then going in for an RPA tool is a good decision.

At the end of the day, the business needs to be aligned with why you're making the decision, and where and what is your priority? What is your sense of urgency with respect to the places where you're implementing it. For example, in my office, we are working on customer service. There is a massive transformation program going on right now, but that transformation program is touching sales, marketing, finance, and all those areas. It is not touching customer service at all, but customer service has its own inefficiencies. So, we introduced automation in customer service because it's not being touched by the transformation program, and we don't want to keep waiting to gain the ROI of whatever we can get or the reduced cost we'll get from customer service. For example, if I'm going to implement a massive cloud ERP like Oracle or SAP, then I will fix the process as part of that cloud ERP implementation and not wait for a bot to be developed.

From a technical perspective or an integration perspective, use an API to directly communicate between the apps, if you can. You don't need a bot or an RPA to do what an API can do.

I would rate Automation Anywhere an eight out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
AC
Head of Applications at Hays
Video Review
Real User
Can scale rapidly with a range of flexibility

Pros and Cons

  • "The ability for it to be able to be scaled rapidly. For us, it has certainly provided a range of flexibility that we hadn't appreciated before we started. This means that in times of high demand for processes to be completed, we're able to quickly scale up on demand. That gives us that additional flexibility without the need to potentially consider contingent labor increases. So, it's sort of a head count avoidance increase. So, that's proved very useful for us."
  • "One area where I think there's an opportunity to do things a lot better is in the analytics function. They do have a concept or product called Bot Insights. It hasn't worked for us. It isn't as plug and play as we were led to believe, which is unfortunate. I can absolutely understand the value, and the demonstrations that I've seen of Bot Insights are sensational. But, we just haven't been able to make it work. We've invested a lot of time and effort trying to make it work to no avail."

What is our primary use case?

For us, it was about driving process efficiencies. 

We have an awful lot of processes that need to be completed when we are placing candidates in roles to ensure that the engagement for both the candidate and the client is successful. So, that might include compliance activities, ensuring candidates get paid, and ensuring that work places are safe for people to turn up to so they can go home to their families safe at the end of the day.

How has it helped my organization?

There are instances where use cases and opportunities have arisen as a result of having Automation Anywhere and RPA in place that have come about through very casual conversations and have actually resulted in increased revenue opportunities that we didn't realize. Though, those have now proven to be very worthwhile and are something that we hadn't realized could contribute to us, which is making us very happy, obviously.

What is most valuable?

The ability for it to be able to be scaled rapidly. For us, it has certainly provided a range of flexibility that we hadn't appreciated before we started. This means that in times of high demand for processes to be completed, we're able to quickly scale up on demand. That gives us that additional flexibility without the need to potentially consider contingent labor increases. So, it's sort of a head count avoidance increase. So, that's proved very useful for us.

What needs improvement?

I sound like a promoter A2019 with the attended bots and some of the new features coming in with the partnership of Microsoft will be a game changer. We work predominantly within an Office 365 environment. I think there are some real opportunities there for us to do things differently.

One area where I think there's an opportunity to do things a lot better is in the analytics function. They do have a concept or product called Bot Insights. It hasn't worked for us. It isn't as plug and play as we were led to believe, which is unfortunate. I can absolutely understand the value, and the demonstrations that I've seen of Bot Insights are sensational. But, we just haven't been able to make it work. We've invested a lot of time and effort trying to make it work to no avail. So, for us, that's one side of it that has been a bit of a disappointment, but not enough to detract from the overall success story of using Automation Anywhere.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This is one of the challenges with the platform. At the moment, we're going through a number of changes with their network and some of our infrastructure. That is impacting the way our platform is running and the stability of it. In the early days, we certainly had some difficulty making sure it was stable and that was impacting the productivity of the automation of the robot.

What makes me very happy is the announcement today of A2019, which is the web-based cloud offering, or basically RPA as a service. This will overcome a lot of the infrastructure challenges that we've been encountering. I am very excited about that because it'll enable us to really drive the benefits that we know RPA can provide.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technically, we may not get answers the first time but we do get answers eventually. The customer success managers, without them, I do wonder how quickly we might get some of the responses from the technical help desk. I can appreciate the reasons why it takes long. Everyone doesn't know everything, but the fact that we have a customer success manager who has been really critical, a key to our success, has been, and an invaluable resource in helping us drive and get those answers through the help desks.

Could it be improved? Always, yes. But with the customer success manager supporting us, it has been invaluable and certainly something that we can live with.

How was the initial setup?

It's certainly straightforward. For us, it was a bit of a test and learn approach. There are certainly guidelines published by Automation Anywhere for the recommended infrastructure. We found that they weren't completely applicable for us, and we've had to tinker with the infrastructures as we've got along. Without getting into the technicalities of it, the out-of-the-box approach that was suggested to us didn't suit our environment. So, we did need to be a bit more creative about how we did the deploy.

Again, this is why I'm excited for A2019 because I think that we will just overcome all those problems and it will allow us to really drive through and scale a lot quicker. Infrastructure is probably our biggest challenge at the moment.

What was our ROI?

We have seen ROI factors. I'm not able to quantify them right now. With the number of our bots, we have been able to let go contingent workforce that has been brought into the organization to cover certain operational processing, simply because we needed to supplement that permanent workforce to do those roles.

We've now gotton to the point where we don't need to hire those people or employ those people anymore, so there's cost-saving driven there. Our bots are helping with some increased revenue opportunities by acting on signals from the market for both our clients and candidates. Cumulatively, I think within the first year, I'd be very surprised if we weren't closed to ROI, which is a great story to be able to tell.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

There were a number of key reasons why we went with Automation Anywhere.

  1. I think when we started on Automation, and looking at RPA, we recognized that we didn't know anything. Like the first time, we saw a robot in action was when we had a demo from their sales director. So, in recognition of that, we wanted to make sure that we were going to be working with someone who was able to nurture the relationship, provide deep support to us, be highly flexible, and was patient.
  2. We were considering a direct engagement model versus a partner model. We wanted a direct engagement model. This was one of the key reasons why we went with Automation Anywhere because they offered that.
  3. The concept of the customer success manager was very appealing for reasons that I've mentioned earlier, but they would also support us in nurturing that relationship and helping us drive through our RPA journey.
  4. The Bot Store. I love that concept. We've used the Bot Store. It's helped us expedite delivery and achieve benefits. 
  5. The plugger, the drag and drop, and the scripting meant we could resource internally a lot quicker because you didn't need that deep level of coding understanding in order for our dev team to be productive as fast as possible. 

Those were some of the key reasons why we went with Automation Anywhere.

What other advice do I have?

I don't want to fan girl it too much, or even fan boy it. But, I'm a massive fan of AA. I've been in technical delivery for about 15 years. There are probably one of the best vendors I've worked with. I'm not giving them a 10 (out of 10) because then they have nowhere to go for improvement, but I certainly would put them as a seven and a half or eight (out of 10). I think the new evolution of the platform with things that I've already talked about will start to nudge it towards that nine (out of 10). They will still not get to a 10 because you know they need opportunities to improve. But, for me, they are a very good partner and a very good vendor to work with.

Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
PrachiYadav
Senior Consultant at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees
Consultant
Top 20
Non-technical people can swiftly code on it easily

Pros and Cons

  • "We have improved on IQ Bot collectively with the normal Taskbot that we use. How it got started was that we have a lot of scanned documents to input for our solution. So, I used to get a lot of scanned documents, and extracting or reading the data from those has always been a pain area. We always used to bring a manual person in to do it. Once a manual person did that activity, it was brought into Excel where I could run the bot. With the entry of IQ Bot, it now takes care of my scanned documents, which means IQ Bot does the OCR extraction and gives my data to the Automation Anywhere Taskbot. This means no manual intervention and end-to-end bot processing, along with a happy customer at the end of the day. We provide these services to multiple clients, so we have been doing this for all of our clients."
  • "I would like a couple more features where I can talk and the line comes up automatically. I can just put on a mic, like in "Ok Google". With "Ok Google", I can tell it to please open an Excel spreadsheet with the header read. If this is there, then I don't even need to sit on a computer, I can just dictate my commands and it will automatically come up."

What is our primary use case?

I have worked across many different type of RPA use cases that we have done, starting with finance, manufacturing, and banking. The use cases are tremendous. There are many. 

Thankfully, being a technical person, I've also learnt a lot about business processes. Personally, in my career, I have not just developed my technical expertise, but also using RPA and the Automation Anywhere tool, I have engaged a lot of vision as to how the business and the finances process work across different direct industries so far.

How has it helped my organization?

I can talk about a use case that we have submitted. We have a Bot Genius entry that we have where the bot reviews your bot. So, it's a bot on top of a bot to check whether the bot that you have created is up to standards or not. So it is an interesting concept that we try to bring in where we identify pain areas, because a lot of time is been taken up by the reviewer team to identify what's wrong with the code and whether the code is per the coding standards or not. So, we thought of automating and trying removing one layer so a bot can check whether all the coding standards, proper guidelines, and naming conventions of variables are being sorted out. So, we brought along this bot as a finalist to see if it can take home a prize.

We have improved on IQ Bot collectively with the normal Taskbot that we use. How it got started was that we have a lot of scanned documents to input for our solution. So, I used to get a lot of scanned documents, and extracting or reading the data from those has always been a pain area. We always used to bring a manual person in to do it. Once a manual person did that activity, it was brought into Excel where I could run the bot. With the entry of IQ Bot, it now takes care of my scanned documents, which means IQ Bot does the OCR extraction and gives my data to the Automation Anywhere Taskbot. This means no manual intervention and end-to-end bot processing, along with a happy customer at the end of the day. We provide these services to multiple clients, so we have been doing this for all of our clients.

What is most valuable?

There are many valuable features of Automation Anywhere. It is very easy to work on this automation tool on a day-to-day basis. I've seen that people, even from a non-technical background, can code it swiftly and at ease. 

We have IQ Bot which is very interesting and unique. I really like IQ Bot and the concept of A2019 that we have just seen. I really hope to get to work on that. A2019 seems to be very interesting and easier than what we are doing here now. It is a service available on the cloud, which is even better.

What needs improvement?

I would like a couple more features where I can talk and the line comes up automatically. I can just put on a mic, like in "Ok Google". With "Ok Google", I can tell it to please open an Excel spreadsheet with the header read. If this is there, then I don't even need to sit on a computer, I can just dictate my commands and it will automatically come up.

Right now, it's more sequential, where it works in a sequential manner. If they have something dynamically, where it run parallels, I'm not sure if it's out there yet, but It would be a plus point if we could have that.

With A2019 will get both options (writing lines of code and dragging and dropping). So far, we are just doing sequential coding. I'm just writing line-by-line code. But, there is a pain area if I want to go back and have to understand where the issue started, it becomes a little cumbersome to identify. That's where A2019 comes into the picture, you can drag and drop start to make a flow. This will be a useful feature.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been working with RPA for the last six years, starting with Automation Anywhere.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Over the year, I have seen that Automation Anywhere as a solution that has improved a lot. Wherever we have identified bugs, timely resolution, and the interaction with other applications, we have seen a difference from our original solution where we started off. Now, it's completely dynamic and very stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I can introduce IQ Bot. I can introduce my Python script that I'm trying to work on. If I'm not able to make it with an Automation Anywhere, I can go out-of-the-box. I can try to build in my own programming language where I have expertise or I might not, but in this way, I am putting it across different scripting mechanism and running it the same bot. This is something which I think is very good and we can scale again to a different level with different use cases.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support team has been always very helpful. I write to them and they reply back to me usually in an hour or two. That's a good response that I see as compared to other RPA vendors that we work with.

We have clients who have dedicated CSM managers at Automation Anywhere in case something is a very high priority, which is always the case. So, the customer support team is always there to help us out.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

One of our primary jobs is to consult our clients. We look at the use case and base it on their use case. We do recommend which tool and special functionalities of the tool that they can go for. There have been many times when we have found the use cases to be very complex and the applications very different and a bit complex, but then we have suggested the Automation Anywhere solution and that has worked as well.

The criteria of deciding whether RPA should be used goes from the old story that your process should be rule-based, input/output should be structured, and it should be logically described. If it falls into these three simple buckets, then RPA is there.

How was the initial setup?

We do have an infrastructure team who supports us with the installation. If you have the basic requirements for the infrastructure, hardware and software, the installation process is pretty smooth. We have user manuals that are pretty well prepared where I can read them, then install it. That's good for the setup or for the person who is installing it from their end. It's sort of easy. You would require a bit expertise from someone at work; a person to help you out.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I have worked on other RPA tools as well. Mentioning some of them: Automation Anywhere, UiPath, Blue Prism, and AutomationEdge. In day-to-day life, since the RPA has evolved so much, right from the beginning, we had many different tools. We keep fluctuating from one tool to another trying our hands out in other domains as well. However, Automation Anywhere is one of my favorites.

What other advice do I have?

I would rate it a nine (out of 10). I will keep one out for my feature to get voice converted into the command.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Hybrid Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor. The reviewer's company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
MichaelWilliamson
Automation Lead at University of Melbourne
Video Review
Real User
Top 20
We've been able to scale up quite effectively with a positive ROI

Pros and Cons

  • "In my case in particular, I come from a business background, not an IT background. So, it sort of speaks for itself that I was able to pickup its functionality and how it works. In the space of two years time, I've gone from a junior developer to a senior specialist. So, it really speaks for itself in terms of being user-friendly."
  • "I think it is a little bit of an ongoing struggle, because we don't deal with the infrastructure. We have a separate infrastructure team that sorts all that out. So, sometimes there are communication issues just trying to get our internal IT team onboard to run through the installs and that sort of thing. But, definitely with the new cloud version coming onboard, we'll be looking toward going to that. Hopefully it'll resolve some of that friction that comes about through the install process and complexity."

What is our primary use case?

We started off with accounts payable type of processes. That was our proof of concept. We built that within two or three months. It was highly successful, then we got a high level of endorsement from the wider organization. From there, we moved into academic processing where there's a lot of opportunity around the processing of student results, assessing students for admission into the university and handing out offers to students. There are a lot of things in that academic space which are highly manual. Often, these take quite a long time to process, so there's a clear benefit to the student by reducing the cycle time, which has led to great benefits for the organization.

What is most valuable?

In my case in particular, I come from a business background, not an IT background. So, it sort of speaks for itself that I was able to pickup its functionality and how it works. In the space of two years time, I've gone from a junior developer to a senior specialist. So, it really speaks for itself in terms of being user-friendly.

What needs improvement?

There are often a lot of functions within the software that will do the same thing, but it's up to the developer to decide which is the most appropriate. If there were a way of the product sort of indicating or automating which function is most applicable for that field for that particular purpose, that would be great. I think that might be a ways away. But, I think a lot of the improvements that we're looking to find are going to be in the new cloud release. So, we are really looking forward to getting on that.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Every piece of software has its downfalls. The great thing about AA, particularly in Melbourne, is we have local support. So, if we do raise a ticket, it's addressed by our local team down there. If they can't handle it, it'll be expedited abroad. So, we're always very comfortable that we're going to get a prompt reply and support, if for whatever reason, we have an issue with the software. We've sort of developed coding standards which has helped us to avoid any downfalls or pitfalls. Throughout our journey, we've learned how the software really works. We're developing it in a more mature way now, which has reduced the number of errors and breakages of the code.

it's just a learning process. As long as you're willing to learn and engage with the software, it can be quite stable.

With Automation Anywhere, there are multiple ways to achieve the same outcome; many different ways to design a bot and execute a bot. But, there's definitely a best practice out there. For those with little experience, they might be inclined to follow the quickest or the easiest way to develop a bot, but that's not necessarily the most sustainable solution. So, we sat down as a team at the university and agreed upon a certain set of standards that we will always follow. We initiated a code review process, so every code that goes into production, or every bot that goes into production will go through multiple rounds of code review. If it doesn't meet our standards, it'll be pulled back out of production, reiterated, and eventually then it'll go live.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We've gone down the Reagan approach, which was referred to in the session earlier today, where we essentially started out with that low hanging fruit. We built confidence within the business and from there, it was quite an easy sell because it was quite obvious to the business that we could deliver and could deliver fairly quickly. 

In terms of scalability, we've had to grow the team slightly. It's really important to have the right team. You need someone with a lot of experience around the tool. From there, you can bring in a range of skill sets, including SMEs. We have SMEs on the team now that don't come from an IT background or development background. By having that range of skills, we've been able to sort of up the velocity of releasing bots.

We could always do better though, and we're still learning.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support in Melbourne, it's great. We have a strong relationship with Andrew Rowlands, who's our customer relationship manager down in Melbourne. We really enjoy working with him. If we do have any issues with tickets that have been unanswered, he will address them for us. I think one of Automation Anywhere's strong points is really its focus on the customer. Because naturally issues do arise with the software here and there, some of which have been addressed in later releases of the product.

We haven't yet updated to the latest release. The company is well and truly able to support all versions and is always really responsive. We typically will receive a solution within 24 to 48 hours.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup actually came before my time at the organization. I think it is a little bit of an ongoing struggle, because we don't deal with the infrastructure. We have a separate infrastructure team that sorts all that out. So, sometimes there are communication issues just trying to get our internal IT team onboard to run through the installs and that sort of thing. But, definitely with the new cloud version coming onboard, we'll be looking toward going to that. Hopefully it'll resolve some of that friction that comes about through the install process and complexity.

Obviously, the easiest way to create a bot would be using things like keystrokes. It's very intuitive, simply entering the database and what you would see on a keyboard. However, it doesn't really relate to what you're seeing on the screen. So, quite often, you'll be entering data in the wrong field if there's a performance issue with the system. While if you use object cloning, which is another function within the software, it's more dynamic. It'll wait for certain fields to appear, then you will lower the risk of breakages of code.

What was our ROI?

Just an example, in a period of two to three years, we have a positive ROI. We have a positive return. We've delivered 25 to 30 bots, which equates to over 1000 atmx files. So, for a relatively small team, we've been able to scale up quite effectively.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

In regards to how AA works, UiPath has more of a design flow view, where you'll be creating process maps and executing bots face on the process flow. While Automation Anywhere has this task view, or line by line view, that I find it very easy to use and intuitive. It's just really a great piece of software.

What other advice do I have?

It's a solid eight out of 10. We've delivered tremendous value in a really short amount of time. We've gotten a lot of support from our organization. Of course, there are always improvements which could make it even more powerful. But I know the company is well and truly across those. I'm sure it's going to go from strength to strength.

From the business side, we're not an organization that has tremendous volumes, like a big global bank, perhaps that sort of comes into play a bit. But again, it comes back to coding standards. We have a lot of confidence in those standards. We just really ensure that new members of the team are strictly following those for sustainable bots.

Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
Prakasha S
Solution Architect at Accenture
Real User
Top 10
Helps in increasing productivity, reduces the cost of the whole operation, and makes fewer errors

Pros and Cons

  • "I implemented AA in different environments, the AA installation is the smoothest compared to other RPA software installs."
  • "Bringing a DevOps model for bot implementation integrated through private bot store might be a good idea to improve the tool."

What is our primary use case?

I am a platform architect for the RPA so I deal with all 3 major RPA vendors. I build the Infra for all big setups. I have immense experience plan, design, and building the setup on cloud, on-prem and with different configurations.

I implemented AA in different environments, the AA installation is the smoothest compared to other RPA software installs.

Migration is a little challenging since it requires direct integration with DB, credential vault and all that. Since multiple credentials are involved, it is a challenge to get all the credentials, it should be easier if only the control room credential was required. Versioning migration is still a challenge.

How has it helped my organization?

My company uses AA extensively for internal BPO work as well as we refer and deploy it to the customer as a RPaaS model. It helps in increasing productivity, reducing the cost of the whole operation. It makes fewer errors and in the COVID situation proves to be a reliable workhorse.

We implemented a lot of new environments recently. v10 expiry and COVID situation accelerated the implementations. Compared to older days now all implementation of infra bot happened pretty quickly.

Bot with Citrix integration may require a lot of improvement but having any extra feature really helps in complex implementation.

The cloud templates for implementation helped greatly and it helps us in pushing the software fast.

What is most valuable?

  • The OCR integration came a long way. They have intelligence inbuilt into it.
  • Ease of deploying and the KB article really help people to just read and deploy different 3rd part components as well(svn, DB, LB, etc) .
  • Nowadays, the screen scraping techniques evolved in RPA and it is good to see they are in play which was not the case couple of years ago.
  • HBC is most suitable for COVID times. 
  • The RPaas offering will help customer to use it for less number of bots.
  • AD security group integration is a good feature
  • AI sense is good too.

What needs improvement?

They need to concentrate lot on a nonpersistent RPA model. Integrate IQ bot with AA instead of making it as a separate component, since nowadays intelligent bots need to be integrated into RPA core. Instead of bot agents getting installed on the machines, concentrate on making it independent of the system and only as a plugin in the browser.

It doesn't have an independent small install for developers and always requires to be fully installed.

Bringing a DevOps model for bot implementation integrated through private bot store might be a good idea to improve the tool.

For how long have I used the solution?

I being using it since couple of years, i am impressed by the transformation from v10 to v11 and v11 to A2019. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is pretty stable, we didn't face many issues. Once the instalation is done the control room core architecture wont face many issues.there are quick fixes like service restart if anything goes off. but most of the time we hear AA support suggesting us to reinstall with the new version of software for performance issues, but with my experiance i hardly see that making huge differnce in fixing the actual issue.

 Monitoring can be done through email alerts for the core infrastructure. Issues mainly in HA(High Availability) with cluster sync issues still not monitored at the dashboard level, which might be a concern if the cluster goes out of sync. At the bot implementation lot of things are dependent on the way we code so it's additional work for the developer to get the code keeping in mind all the events which might happen. I would have been impressed if the solution had framework at the control room level to keep track of the overal execution and transactions, hope they can bring that feature in future releases

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We never faced any issues with scalability for AA. sometime it takes high CPU on CR, but that is expected. one of the frequent questions we encouter with HA setups is the single point failure of repository storages, i understand that this needs to be taken care by storage fault tolerance, however most organization might not use cloud for RPA and if we are doing on prem install they might not have a high resillenace storage. SQL availability group still needs a SQL expert to get that right and DR solution totally depends on the underlaying infra we work on (there may be lot of alternative solution and its a big discussion to be honest :-)   )

Hence HA and DR solution really require a expert like us who have extensive knowledge on RPA, cloud, infra, windows and SQL  

How are customer service and technical support?

They offer excellent customer service. No complaints except that every time they ask for a software upgrade as soon as they hear about an issue, which is not actually a good solution. Otherwise, they have very good knowledge of most of the issues. 

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We keep switching between RPA software for a number of reasons. We prefer AA for the following reasons:

  • Low cost for run licenses compare to other RPA solutions
  • A high number of certified developers help in bring efficient automation compared to others, they in turn promote the RPA software that they know of.
  • Easy to program, no prior experience of programming required.
  • Easy to use compared to other RPA.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward, even a complex setup can be set up in 20 mins if you have all prerequisites.setup can be complex if there is a HA , DR implementation, as a architects we need to factor in lot of variables. some are target application access,  MFA for the application or windows authentication, credential management, data accessibility, network reachability , underlaying hardware, PaaS offering in cloud(depends on the cloud) , VDI or VM template to choose (Makes huge difference in performance and costing), citrix or native application . Overall simple install, but huge planning to figure out the overall feasibility and effectiveness of implementation

What about the implementation team?

We implemented in-house. I implement it within Accenture and for customers as well. I rate my self pretty high for implementation. I have solid experiance (AA master) as well as cloud certification. I have 12 years experiance in infra, so expect a good solid backgroup on both AA and infra.

What was our ROI?

ROI is important for the business case. ROI is good if you are going for long run, year on year. i never stayed on a project till we start getting the actual values, i see nowadays ROI is shrinking due to RPA vendors raising thier license costs , additional cost added to get the complex RPA solutions to be implemented

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The setup cost for AA is always fixed since the configuration won't change much for the different number of bots, the license cost is lower in AA,

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We usually evaluate Blue Prism and UiPath along with AA for implementation. We decide based on the requirements.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Microsoft Azure
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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