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Robotic Process Automation vs. Business Process Automation

November 03. 2021
Robotic process automation vs. Business process automation

In this digital era, businesses are exploring ways that could automate their day-to-day operations. When it comes to automation, acronyms like BPA, RPA, and AI are common in the industry. Some businesses want automation to increase their productivity, while some want it to slash overhead costs. In either scenario, automation technologies have proved beneficial for businesses. Before you induce automation to your business processes, you should know about the types of technologies used in the industry. Choosing the right technology is of utmost importance to maintain service availability and business continuity. Let us compare Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Business Process Automation (BPA).

Understanding RPA

RPA refers to software technologies that are used to automate business processes. It automates a process such that it coincides with the physical workflow. Using RPA, you can create a mix of physical and automated workflow. Many businesses spend on creating a robust workflow automation software architecture to manage monotonous processes. When repetitive processes are automated using RPA, employees can focus on critical business processes that need human intervention. RPA uses several new-age technologies like AI and cloud computing to induce automation.

An RPA software also uses BPA as its backend technology. Both these terms may sound similar but, they are not. RPA fully automates processes without the need for human interruption but, the workflows may collide. For example, with the help of RPA, you can automate the call forwarding process in your call centre. However, your customer support executives will also have to respond once the call is forwarded to them via RPA software. Many organizations are loving the idea of IT automation with AI which, has increased the demand for RPA software. The global market size of RPA software is increasing with a CAGR of 27.7%. Some real-life use cases of RPA in the industry are as follows:

  • Payroll management
  • Automated email response
  • Call centre routing
  • Data transfer between software systems
  • Employee onboarding
  • Bill generation
  • Lead processing

Understanding BPA

BPA can be considered as an umbrella consisting of several automation technologies. Technologies like RPA and AI are subsets of BPA. BPA helps in building technological solutions for day-to-day business processes. Not only BPA helps in digital transformation but also reduces the need for manual interruption. BPA follows a strategic approach for the comprehensive transformation of a business thus, boosting its service availability. Instead of focusing on a single business process, BPA focuses on the entire business organization. BPA brings together several software systems to streamline business processes and enhance service reliability. Various backend functions are used to implement BPA for an organization. For example, many organizations use ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) as a backend function to implement BPA. Some of the common use cases of BPA in the industry are as follows:

  • Many organizations use BPA to collect data from several channels like social media platforms, mobile applications, or emails. BPA tools then process the data and store them in the data warehouse.
  • BPA tools can be easily integrated with existing software systems and backend functions for higher productivity.
  • Data from different software systems is combined for operating the business processes automatically. It can also help in creating a productive workflow automation software architecture for your organization.

Based on pre-defined workflow, BPA tools can operate business processes automatically. Different business processes will be streamlined with BPA tools.

Understanding the difference between RPA and BPA

Since both the technologies are used for automation in business, CXOs often consider them to be similar. The difference between RPA and BPA is as follows:

  • BPA is not equally efficient for all industries. It is suited for business organizations that are indulged in a limited number of industries. BPA is best suited for the healthcare, finance, and insurance industries. Contrary to BPA, RPA is equally efficient for many industries as they focus on any particular business process.
  • RPA tools in the market are mostly cloud-based. On the other hand, BPA tools can be installed in-house or on a cloud platform.
  • Before you install BPA tools, you need to conduct data cleaning and analysis of existing solutions. It usually takes longer to implement BPA for an organization. Implementing RPA takes less time as it is only for some business processes and not the entire organization.
  • RPA is more flexible than BPA when it comes to IT automation with AI. However, BPA stands out when it comes to scalability.

What is the best solution to implement automation?

You may implement RPA for some business processes but cannot scale it further. For implementing BPA, you will need a strategic approach otherwise the transformation will fail. Even if you can collect data from different software systems using BPA, you still need to perform intelligent analysis. Your software systems also need to be protected from sudden shutdowns and power outages. Some businesses are using a combination of BPA and RPA to boost service availability. The best solution for businesses is to use the capabilities of AIOps (Artificial Intelligence for IT Operations) for implementing BPA and RPA. Advantages of using AIOps for implementing BPA/RPA are as follows:

  • An AIOps based analytics platformcan take over the data collected by BPA tools. It will then perform intelligent data analysis to predict system outages.
  • By using AIOps-based tools, you can increase your reaction time to IT incidents and threats.
  • BPA and AIOps can work together for reducing the recovery time after an incident or power outage.
  • RPA/BPA goals can be achieved easily with AIOps. AIOps will remove obstacles like system failures and data loss to enhance service availability.
  • Each robot error can cost much to your organization as it may hamper the service availability. An AIOps based analytics platform will reduce robot errors to streamline business processes.


The global BPA industry size is more than USD 20 billion. More and more organizations are streamlining their business processes with RPA/BPA. You can also combine BPA/RPA with AIOps to ensure high service availability and business continuity.

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