Robotic Process Automation and Business Process Management

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Author(s): Udai Singh Bisht

Robotic Process Automation and Business Process Management

Individuals achieve more together ! How about technologies ? ​

A general misconception in the automation world is that Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Business Process Management (BPM) are identical. Many believe one can replace the other. Is it true? Though there are many similarities, this blog will proceed to highlight the subtle differences and interrelations.

RPA is a concept where robots (software programs not physical machines!) emulate human interactions with systems with or without a graphical user interface. The bots can perform daily tasks without human supervision, speed up the execution and produce accurate results. On the other hand, BPM helps coordinate business processes including people, machines, and things, which to a considerable degree does overlap with RPA.

Today, RPA technologies are sweeping the world with the promise of quick return of investment. The lure of savings supplemented with improved employee and customer satisfaction is captivating all industry sectors. RPA replaces staff who perform mundane jobs and elevates them to explore their creativity and intelligence. The case is slightly different with BPM, as it involves collaboration, re-engineering and modification of corporate processes to increase efficiency and production.

Collaboration or Replacement?

The big question is whether BPM and RPA can be used in conjunction to handle end-to-end automation processes in digital transformation projects?

BPM is a global process focussed strategy that serves as the framework for a company’s process flow. BPM provides the game rules for a certain company – how its components should work together to get the desired results. RPA, on the other hand, is a flexible, task-oriented approach to remove human involvement. It aims to reduce the quantity of boring, repetitive tasks while artificial intelligence aids to improve the quality. It can be said that RPA is one of the technologies that implements BPM’s concepts.

RPA initially started with speeding up processes and reducing the repetitive nature of work, but it has grown with capabilities like process mining and task mining that help identify bottlenecks in processes. It does need investment and complex implementations to resolve the same. Some of the common features across the technologies are: process orchestration, user interactions, exception management, and simplifying complicated human decision-making using artificial intelligence. As BPMs evolve, they have progressed from systems that just execute pre-defined process models to more intelligent ones that dynamically assist, guide, and automate processes. Thus, to foster innovation and sustain operational efficiency, BPMs must be supplemented with RPA and AI.

Applications of BPM and RPA

Organizations often utilise RPA when they have huge volumes of data spread across legacy systems. When data-intensive operations are automated businesses reap benefits in terms of cost savings, efficiency, and reduced risks. While RPA continues to be utilised for rule-based activities, the decision to invest in process mining to identify bottle necks in processes and automating them is a daunting. Whether to use RPA or BPM to optimise workflows and the numerous processes that will decrease human errors and enhance overall productivity remains unclear.

A comparison between RPA Vs BPM

Selecting the right tool

Having an in-depth understanding of both RPA and BPM will help scale up digital transformation projects. As a general rule, RPA is used to automate processes that will not change frequently. On the other hand, companies with BPM in place for systems and third party integrations should continue to utilise its features. RPA and BPM when used together, help establish a robust platform that enable digitalisation across businesses. For example, when utilising BPM to automate an entire business process, RPA can be employed just to mine the bottle necks, automate tasks and create human-in-the-loop business processes leave the integrations to the BPM.

Ultimately, the nature of the business dictates the choice of technology which needs to be followed with a thorough introspection of the capabilities. To know more about BPM and RPA, contact us for an absolutely free demo and QA session!

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