Over the last few years, the question for business leaders has changed from should we automate to what is the right automation approach? The debate is majorly between two popular technologies: BPA and RPA.
Business Process Automation and Robotic Process Automation, although they serve similar goals, adopt different approaches and are suited to different requirements.
In this blog, we will look at what is Business Process Automation, Robotic Process Automation, their differences, and the automation approach you should choose, as per application.
What is Business Process Automation?
Business Process Automation (BPA) is an approach where software is used for automating repeatable, multistep processes to increase an organisation’s efficiency. It is not centred around automating individual tasks but on the end-to-end process.
For maximum results with BPA, it is essential to remove the inefficiencies and bottlenecks from the current process. For instance, double handling of tasks and repetitive tasks needs to be removed to optimise the process. BPA applied to the optimised process then results in benefits, such as increased productivity and efficiency.
Hence, BPA involves in-depth analysis and a holistic solution rather than adjusting and optimising existing processes.
What is Robotic Process Automation?
Robotic Process Automation is centred around task-oriented automation rather than focusing on automating the entire workflow. The software technology is easy to set up and use for anyone. With RPA, software robots or bots can be created that mimic human digital actions.
These bots can perform a wide range of defined tasks just like humans, but they do these mundane rule-based tasks faster, consistently and with precision.
RPA is increasingly becoming popular in organisations as it allows employees to focus more time on higher-value work and innovation.
BPA vs RPA: What’s the Difference?
Essentially, both BPA and RPA have a similar purpose: to increase the efficiency of business functions. Both deliver measurable business benefits, right from cost reduction, greater accuracy to increased speed. They enable competitive advantage by freeing resource time, allowing employees to focus on core work rather than tedious and repetitive tasks.
However, there are differences in terms of complexities and integration. BPA involves the automation of large-scale processes and tends to handle more complex tasks than RPA. BPA follows an end-to-end approach by streamlining the work processes. On the other hand, RPA can be integrated with the existing BPA software.
RPA bots simply repeat the current workflow, completely replacing human efforts. It is comparatively simpler to implement and adopt. As BPA requires APIs and database access, there is considerable reliance on IT support for coding and development.
Choosing the Right Automation Approach
Since Bots are typically low-cost and easy to implement, requiring no custom software, they have been in the spotlight lately. However, BPA’s value cannot be ignored as it focuses on improving the overall process and lays a strong foundation for your digital initiatives.
The key is not to pit one against the other as each is suited for a different application. In case, your business processes are broken and need improvement, then BPA may be the best way to go as your current processes require assessment. If your current goal is to optimise existing processes or just continue operations until you can undergo a major automation drive, choose RPA.
In essence, you need to look at your current process, objective, cost considerations and future growth plans before you choose between the two technologies. Using the synergies of these technologies as per organisational need and viability is the key to maximum benefits.
Choosing the right automation mode is a key step but several other elements come together to deliver a successful automation project. For step-by-step instructions, expert tips and best practices to ensure the success of your process automation project, download the free eBook: “10 Effective Steps to Process Automation Success”.