Major Difference of RPA and BPM | RPA Vs BPM


In the previous articles, you might have gone through in detail about what RPA is and how its architecture works for an effective problem solution. Here in this article, we will see an excellent differentiation between what an RPA system is as against a BPM system. This article should be a cakewalk if you have followed our previous articles about what RPA is and how it functions individually and the like.

RPA and BPM are more similar and as such are often confused with each other respectively. The confusion can be well explained as these are from the same family of applications but can never be mentioned as identical twins because of their obvious differences. With no further delay, let us get going with the differences between a RPA system and a BPM system in the section below.

Differences between RPA Vs BPM:

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is the next Industry buzz word after the CLOUD. It is that emerging trend or a breed of technology that is making the news in the industries of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. RPA is very much System agnostic, which makes it a key differentiator for anyone who looks in the view of automating things in a better manner than the old and orthodox ways of doing things. Taking this understanding a step further, RPA can further be classified into two categories:

Screen Scraping or Screen Capturing:

Tools as like these are specifically designed to focus on certain areas of a web page or a form and get the details from specific fields using coordinates on the screen, giving necessary instructions to move the mouse pointer to a specific positon and then to ‘click’. These works until and unless there are any changes to the coordinates of the specific fields or buttons.

Product specific Workflows:

Many of the big time ERP vendors bundle along workflow tools along with their software products which have pretty awesome features as like scheduling tasks, triggering actions such as emails or alerts. Having said that, these systems were not that agnostic and were also complex to use.

Having discussed about the two approaches or categories, RPA is an amalgam of both of these approaches – in other words, it can be mentioned as the natural evolution of these two approaches into one. Today’s RPA solutions are such that they are enterprise scalable the moment they are put to use. Processes in an RPA system are shown in a step by step process to the robots instead of coding them or providing any script based on which they are supposed to take action, hence makes it very much possible to mimic human beings with this process.

Doing so, we can comfortably take it into granted that it is a low risk process. The tools now recognize the fields that are supposed to be focused instead of blindly relying on the screen coordinates to fetch values of specific fields. This makes it easy on the transformation of the system, if there are changes in the position of the field or the field itself is modified to look something different – such changes are well digested by the RPA solutions without much change required from the process front. The software robots that are used in the RPA systems reads the applications using the APIs or the Operating System itself. This can be treated as a step in the training the robots altogether as they are trained to read various screens of the applications based on the need be.

As a result of the above points that we have discussed, RPA tools are business tools that are for the non-technical users too. Earlier, this wasn’t the case as deploying automation on the large scale applications needed software expertise and also technical expertise to a certain extent, which is now completely wiped off with the advent of RPA based solutions. RPA is completely code-free and is also platform agnostic. This makes RPA a low cost, low complexity, very agile tool in any process engineer’s toolkit – isn’t it?

Business Process Automation (BPA) / Business Process Management (BPM) platforms on the other hand, allows individuals to create the necessary process automation workflows that have the capability to integrate with various systems to exchange information and also to handle situations that involves automating some of the necessary human interaction tasks. One of the major disadvantage to such a system is that these require APIs and also database access for various requirements, requires coding, development which can sometimes be very time consuming for Organizations. Situations gets even worse if the Customers deny to provide any access to their Application databases or if the application doesn’t support any further API integration that is well required. These are the scenarios where Organizations can count on RPA systems to fit in for their automation requirements and can also help pitch in their intelligent software robots to capture and execute the most repeatable jobs in a complete non-programmatic manner (which were earlier performed by a human, of course).

In this article we have gone through a thorough differentiation between a RPA system and a BPM system to understand the pros and cons of each of these systems in discussion. Hope you have gained a lot of knowledge from this article and hope you were able to answer the question – Isn’t Business Process Management / Automation about the same thing what Robotic Process Automation does?

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