The core element of modern business is a race to be more digital — the term is often “digital transformation.” This all looks different depending on the size of your company, usually:
- Smaller companies are trying to complete the process steps, such as moving important documents from on-premise to the cloud.
- Mid-size companies have typically done that work and are trying to find more advantages, value propositions, and cost savings with digital.
- Larger companies have done the logistical work (usually) and found the value, but are trying to continually maximize digital and transform how they work (especially also in the context of COVID).
There are a lot — A LOT! — of acronyms in the digital transformation space. Two of the most common are BPM — Business Process Management — and RPA, or Robotic Process Automation. How are those two things similar and different?
RPA helps automate monotonous, routine, and time-consuming tasks, and in turn, allows your team to focus on more important and complex business tasks. It is application-agnostic and is based on low-level events or triggers like keyboard or mouse use and web page scraping.
BPM focuses on streamlining and reengineering underlying business processes to drive higher efficiency. It can improve business processes by analyzing how they work in different scenarios, making improvements to them, monitoring the modified processes, and continually optimizing them.
So how are they different?
One of the main differences is the time frame to deployment and implementation.
RPA can be deployed faster because the tools can seamlessly work across your organization’s existing applications and processes.
BPM is a bigger effort, which involves reshaping business processes in your organization, and thus takes more time.
With RPA, you see quicker returns — say, from a bot you installed to work on a repetitive task. While the returns are fast and visible, implementations may not always address the underlying inefficiencies in your business processes.
BPM takes longer to see returns, but ultimately you will see higher efficiency, cost reduction, agility, productivity, and compliance.
What is RPA best for, then?
Routine, automated tasks that don’t require more complicated decision-making trees. As a result, RPA is mostly used by organizations when they have a large amount of data living across legacy systems.
RPA goes one task at a time. BPM is the complete automation/transformation of end-to-end projects, including identifying the administrative tasks required for the process, outlining the workflows, and optimizing those workflows.
BPM takes longer to see results and is usually used by more mature organizations, although some smaller ones have had success with BPM.
RPA is kind of like dipping your toe into the water for automation and transformation, and BPM is learning to swim in the deeper parts.
How do you know what you need?
In general, you should choose RPA when you need to automate processes that are not going to frequently change and wouldn’t require any integration.
BPM should be used for processes that are majorly executed by humans or require third-party integration.
When deployed together, RPA and BPM can help you build a powerful platform that can support digital transformation throughout your organization. For example, when you are using BPM to automate an entire business process, you can use RPA for one or two steps of the process that are rule-based.
If you have further questions about these terms, other aspects of the digital transformation process, or anything else related to effective customer experience and content moderation work, let us know.