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RPA vs. BPM: What's the Difference?

goats-competition-disputeRobotic Process Automation (RPA) sounds straightforward and all-encompassing. Right? But what about Business Process Management (BPM)? They’re the same… Right? Not quite. While they sound similar, embrace automation and provide very similar benefits, the two terms are actually quite different. Here's how:

RPA is defined as “the use of software with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning capabilities to handle high-volume, repeatable tasks that previously required a human to perform.”

The main objective of RPA is to automate repetitive, every day and often manual tasks that are taking up your employees’ time and resources. This is where the “robotic” part of RPA comes in, performing duties without compromising other more important tasks. So while your RPA solution is managing the tedious tasks that you don’t need to take up your workday with, your staff can focus on more pertinent and complex projects that require reasoning, judgment and interaction with others – things that an RPA solution cannot do.

An RPA solution helps companies cut costs, increase efficiency, provide scalability and enhance visibility. It mimics the actions of humans, learning processes and procedures that are streamlined and monotonous. This can include more complex tasks as the solution “learns” business processes and procedures as a company sees fit and necessary.

So, what about BPM?

BPM is defined as “the discipline of improving a business process from end to end by analyzing it, modelling how it works in different scenarios, executing improvements, monitoring the improved process and continually optimizing it.” In short, a BPM solution helps companies develop better ways to complete tasks and manage relationships. It aids in creating maximum efficiency by looking at a company’s processes and procedures and identifying ways that those processes and procedures could be improved and enhanced. This often requires a total renovation of a company’s systems in order to replace legacy solutions and make some serious improvements. This makes BPM more complex, costly and time-consuming, but is a fantastic resource for companies looking for a process overhaul.

RPA and BPM are not in competition with each other. In fact, they often work hand-in-hand. Many companies have deployed both RPA and BPM in order to streamline procedures, improve performance and increase value.