Robotic process automation (RPA) is transforming time-consuming, manual processes across industries, with robust growth expected over the next several years, according to recent research. The market is expected to grow from $2.4 billion in 2021 to nearly $6.5 billion by 2025, a 170% increase.
Not all RPA solutions work in the same way nor solve the same business challenges, however. As the RPA market matures, three models of adoption have emerged. At one end, individual employees or specific departments are using low-code or no-code automation products that offer individual productivity but lack complex automation functionality that would accommodate significant growth. At the other end are enterprise-wide automation solutions, often called Center of Excellence (CoE) automation, which is great for productivity but may require consultation services or highly trained staff to derive any value from already pricey software solutions.
The middle path features the best of both models, with robust software and a powerful, easy-to-use interface that even non-coders can understand and utilize to create bots that increase efficiency and scale as a company’s use of RPA gains sophistication.
Let’s take a closer look at the differentiators of two RPA solutions that adopt widely different paths to automation: Automate from HelpSystems, an employee-driven automation solution that can grow with an organization, and Automation Anywhere, a popular option focused on large-scale automation driven by a CoE.
#1. Workflow Designer
Building an RPA bot starts with an understanding of the business process that requires automation. IT professionals may view a project from the bottom up, exploring the issue from a process perspective, while non-technical users may examine the same project from the top-down.
The Automation Anywhere workflow designer favors the bottom-up design process, where tasks need to be defined beforehand, an approach that is familiar to the technical user but may alienate non-technical business users and most business analysts. The design engine uses a simple flow diagram to model processes. Additionally, the designer is script-based, rather than visual, making it more geared to the IT professional than to the organization at large.
Automate’s drag-and-drop visual workflow designer can process tasks both from the bottom up and from the top down, accommodating highly technical users and those new to automation. The workflow designer acts like a whiteboard, so users can build out the processes being automated, then add the necessary tasks. What’s more, created tasks can be reused in other workflows for greater efficiency. Existing workflows can be altered by creating/adapting/deleting individual tasks, rather than users having to start over from scratch.
#2. Robust Recorder Feature
One important automation success factor is recorder functionality, which captures and records actions on frequently used applications and browsers, such as navigation moves, mouse clicks, or checkbox items. Desired features include the ability to edit and debug recordings.
The macro recorder from Automation Anywhere reliably captures steps in the process, but, unfortunately, it does not allow the ability to run or move single steps. Those who encounter errors in a process must start over from the beginning, rather than edit or re-record the necessary steps. The recorder lacks the ability to include decision logic such as loops, expressions, and if-statements. Unless users are experienced automation specialists, the process may seem a bit overwhelming.
The Automate Recorder takes a step approach, allowing users to easily build, edit, and adjust their automation, making it more adaptable and forgiving. The enterprise-class screen recording tool is easy to learn and supports the simplest processes to the most complex ones. Users can mix UI actions and back-end automation to mimic human thought processes with non-UI business logic. The do-it-yourself tool provides the right balance of flexibility and power for creating robust automation.
#3. Total Cost of Ownership
Buy a new car, and watch the add-on fees pile up: accessories already on the car; destination fee; undercarriage protection; advertising fees; and much more. When exploring RPA solutions, carefully consider the total cost of ownership. Will the implementation require consultation fees? Can existing staff build and maintain bots without programming knowledge? How does a solution scale (and at what cost) should the company need more bots?
Explore potential hidden costs that will negatively impact ROI, including add-on charges for expansion and charges for attended versus unattended bots.
The Center of Excellence model from Automation Anywhere is well-suited to large scale automation efforts. However, implementation often requires a hefty professional services contract, which may cover limited bot development. Technical users and those with programming knowledge will be comfortable building bots but may be out of reach for citizen developers. If programmers leave the organization, it can make maintaining bots more difficult.
Automate takes a collaborative approach to automation, with purpose-built tools that can satisfy the full spectrum from individual processes to bots used across the enterprise. An intuitive, easy-to-use interface requires no programming knowledge, minimizing technical debt. Companies appreciate an unlimited bots licensing option that allows them to grow in response to changing business needs. Users can also deploy bots as attended or unattended with no restrictions or hidden costs to scale.
Compare Automate to Automation Anywhere Based on Customer Reviews
User perceptions of software are critical when considering RPA options, which underscores the importance of customer reviews. In the 2021 Robotic Process Automation Data Quadrant Report, Automate scored significantly higher than Automation Anywhere in 19 categories and ranked No. 1 overall in nine categories. Let’s examine several key features side by side, comparing Automate to Automation Anywhere.
Software success factors include whether the product works as advertised and how beneficial it is to the business in delivering value. In a head-to-head matchup, Automate outperformed Automation Anywhere on overall satisfaction with product features, 84% versus 80%. When considering vendor capabilities and the ability to deliver value, Automate again came out on top, 85% to 80%.
Breadth and Quality of Features
Users were impressed with both the breadth and quality of Automate features, giving the product 86% satisfaction ratings on both criteria, compared to 81% for Automation Anywhere.
Automate outperformed this competitor in all vendor capability categories, including software usability and intuitiveness, vendor support, availability and quality of training, and ease of use and administration metrics.
- Ease of implementation: 89% vs. 81%
- Ease of administration: 87% vs. 76%
- Ease of data administration: 87% vs. 76%
Make the Right Choice for Your RPA Solution
Organizations of all sizes are drowning in tedious, mundane tasks that makes the move toward RPA a logical step to tame manual processes. Automate from HelpSystems is a top-rated RPA platform that’s built and priced right to deliver employee-driven, enterprise-wide automation. No-code automation makes it easy to build, manage, and update bots. Users can start small and quickly and easily grow the number of bots as business processes are transformed — allowing for great efficiency and faster ROI.