RPA vs. BPM: Meaning, key differences & benefits

Aanchal Parmar
December 20, 2022
min read
September 19, 2023
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RPA and BPM are widely misunderstood business transformation concepts. We discuss how they each make your business more efficient.
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Being part of the internal team that optimizes business processes and enables digitization— Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Business Process Management (BPM) must be frequent keywords in your dictionary. You need both to reduce manual, repetitive tasks and re-engineer business processes. 

RPA and BPM are different but complementary in automation, streamlining and boosting productivity. 

Going digital is still a dream for many — believe us, you can spend months organizing the workflow and still find yourself in the thick of sheer confusion However the use of RPA will catalyze this process by automating tasks, while BPM will make the process efficient by redirecting you to the tasks to automate. The challenge — understanding their differences. 

 In this article, we'll discuss how RPA and BPM differ and how you can choose leverage both for your organization. 

What is RPA?

To keep it simple — Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is a software technology based on the concept of machine learning that automates your regular tasks.The software or bot learns and imitates your actions — like a click of a mouse to perform a specific task like manipulating data, triggering responses, or scraping a web page. 

Hence, it helps your team automate repetitive and time-consuming tasks — allowing them to focus on core business processes. 

"RPA is best suited for rule-based processes that are not expected to change over the long term, and don’t require integrations with other processes and systems." — Arthur Worsely, Founder, The Art Of Living

The global RPA market is projected to grow from $10.01 billion in 2022 to $43.52 billion in 2029. This figure reflects the dynamic adoption of RPA by your competitors and companies across verticals in the industry. But, how do they use this for different verticals and enhance the results of their business tasks?

How can you enhance your results with this automation tool?

Here are some examples:

Website scrapping

Data extraction defines the need and aids in plan creation. It helps collect data and understand customer behavior so that you can provide improved services. RPA enables you to collect this data from competitors, trading sites, and more to analyze and manipulate into useful data sets. Some benefits of RPA-enabled website scraping are:

  • Reduces human errors. 
  • Automates mass downloads.
  • Organizes data and makes it convenient to use. 

Order Process

The order process is fixed in nature. Customers select a product/service, make the payment, get the confirmation, and wait for tracking updates. RPA helps set up a mechanism to automate this process, so your team can focus more on improving customer experience on the website. 

Compliance reporting

RPA helps achieve the diversification goals. As you expand your business, compliance becomes tedious because of the obligations as per country laws. However, you cannot track each employee's or processes’ adherence to the rules, RPA can. It collects, synthesizes and analyzes extensive data channels, to find gaps in employee compliance.

Some other uses of RPA include handling customer FAQs, employee onboarding, data transfer and scheduling systems across departments. 

What is BPM?

Business Process Management (BPM) is an all-encompassing technology—a set of tools, software, and practices to help maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of end-to-end business processes. 

"BPM enhances communication between departments that are impacted by a process, while also eliminating bottlenecks that are responsible for reducing the efficiency of the said process." — Andrew Cussens, Operations Experts & Owner, Filmfolk

Remember, BPM is not a single tool or software, but a process intergratingmultiple tools and software to re-design business processes. BPM can help you in improve data recording, workflow engines, optimize community channels, collaboration, web forms, Salesforce optimization, and more. So, it is both a technical and reformational process. 

In essence, BPM focuses on — holistic transformation. To achieve this you’ll need the help of a tool that doesn't require more manual hassle, and the teams can use it easily. 

Creating this workflow documentation with Scribe is super easy. There’s a step by step guide for almost every process. We help you create visual and one link guide, making it accessible across departments. Here’s an example on how you can use it.  

This onboarding guide will help you scale your customer acquisition and onboarding process because a guide with steps makes it easier for everyone to follow. Making the sharing process efficient and easy. You can also capture the new process and solve your team's questions of "How do we do this?".

Differences between RPA & BPM

RPA and BPM have a long-standing debate about their use and differences. Let's put it all to rest with this quick explanation:

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How can you use RPA & BPM in your organization?

RPA processes are an auxiliary for BPM and help increase productivity, and increase agility, here’s how you can use it for different concepts. 

Strategic deployments

RPA and BPA are correlated. BPM helps find digitization opportunities through analysis of current business processes and mapping the manual clutter. On the other hand, RPA helps achieve overall BPM goals, by breaking down the complex processes into achievable tasks. Strategic deployment and allocation of RPA to attain BPM goals builds the road map for technology adoption in the longer term, and for new processes. 

Automation analytics

The automation analytics of business processes has two parts — RPA for automation and BPM for analysis. RPA complements BPM  through data collection, manipulation of systems, and data transfer from different systems. 

For example, when the employees need to report the monthly numbers, BPM software will notify the responsible employees. RPA will push those sales numbers from the Sales records to the Profit and Loss account. 

Improved & faster process 

RPA makes the process faster, while BPM makes it better. With RPA's sole implementation, you'll increase efficiency and save time. RPA automates those tasks which BPM manages, structures, and coordinates with analytical and observational approach. 

Most of all—BPM has a broad scope for transformation and can assign tasks to the RPA robots to consolidate the resources and make the process faster. Hence, when they work together, your business can utilize resources better, and achieve organizational goals easily. 

How to choose the right one for you?

RPA and BPM are both critical to business, but a clear idea about their uses will help you choose the right transformational route for your company. 

Use RPA to automate the fixed and repetitive processes. BPM is used for processes that focus on enhancing the results of business processes and scaling the management's efficiency. 

"The goal of RPA is to take manual tasks and automate them so that they are now carried out by robots instead of human beings. In essence, these repetitive tasks are delegated to the bots so that human workers can work on more valuable tasks. 

Business Process Management has a much wider scope, focusing on re-designing entire processes so they are more efficient and generate a bigger ROI for the company in the long run." — Leland Smith, Owner and Publisher, Charity Dispatcher

To put it in your perspective, RPA and BPM are equally  important, but you need to priortize among both according to the requirements of your business. If you're looking to improve the productivity of the finance department as a whole, BPM is a way to go. While if you want to amplify the sales recording time, RPA is suitable. 

Make the best use of both

Strategically using RPA and BPM makes your systems agile and compounds employee efforts toward growth. Restructuring business processes while automating granular tasks is how you reduce operational costs and achieve goals with a more cohesive approach. 

And it’s not only us but our users agree that you can use Scribe to create step-by-step guides in minutes. We also have a gallery with pre-loaded guides for your first step toward digitization. Find our top scribes related to processes for Slack, G Suite, Salesforce, LinkedIn, and more.

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