The plain clue that BPM and RPA have one thing in widespread: The letter “P” stands for “course of” in each acronyms. Business process management (BPM) has been round longer than Robotic Course of Automation (RPA). However at their core, they each exist for a similar purpose – to enhance how companies function, although in considerably alternative ways.
[ For a deeper dive on both terms, check out How to explain Robotic Process Automation (RPA) in plain English and How to explain Business Process Management (BPM) in plain English. ]
They usually more and more work collectively. From a expertise standpoint, some instruments even combine BPM software program and RPA software program. This will result in some confusion amongst colleagues about how these two applied sciences can and may’t work collectively.
BPM vs. RPA: What is the distinction?
BPM is one thing you do – like DevOps – fairly than any specific software or utility.
Let’s draw a distinction between the 2 phrases and what they signify: Most BPM practitioners would usually agree that BPM is one thing you do, fairly than any specific software or utility. (Consider DevOps: It’s a approach of working, not a software. ) BPM is a steady effort to doc, analyze, measure, and enhance processes within the bigger context of your group’s operations. BPM software program instruments are a product of that people-focused follow, not vice versa.
RPA, then again, is actually software program. “Robotic” mustn’t conjure up Isaac Asimov or different science fiction writers. Relatively, RPA refers to software program bots that automate sure computer-based duties, resembling information extraction or information switch. (For instance, consider a bot that mechanically copies information from preset fields in incoming invoices and pastes that information into one other system, resembling an accounts payable utility.) Folks have to create and handle these bots for RPA to attain its supposed objectives, however RPA is finally simply software program.
Companies of all types have lengthy been involved with enhancing processes; as of late, they’re very a lot involved with automating processes as effectively. Because of this, BPM and RPA have a blossoming relationship.
“We see RPA and BPM as symbiotic applied sciences broadly talking, and particularly throughout a number of key use instances resembling HR onboarding, insurance coverage claims dealing with, order processing, [and others],” says Rizwan Husain, senior director of product administration at Automation Anywhere.
How RPA can improve BPM
That’s a theme: RPA is a software that may lengthen and improve BPM’s important objective.
“Whereas RPA and BPM are distinct phrases, they’re complementary to one another and may contribute to digital transformation when deployed collectively,” says Karl Chan, president at Laserfiche.
BPM is finally about enhancing processes, however by itself would not automate these processes.
Right here’s a elementary approach to consider that complementary relationship: BPM is finally about enhancing processes, however by itself doesn’t automate these processes (even when that’s the optimum end result.) RPA, then again, exists to automate sure sorts of processes – however by itself received’t enhance or optimize these processes. (Automating an inefficient or damaged course of doesn’t repair it; it simply allows it to run sooner and extra steadily.)
“Organizations use BPM to create reliable workflows digitally connecting siloed programs, information, and folks,” says Chris Huff, chief technique officer at Kofax. “RPA works inside these workflows to execute particular rules-based automation duties.”
[ How can automation free up more staff time for innovation? Get the free eBook: Managing IT with Automation. ]
4 methods BPM and RPA make sense collectively
Listed here are some extra methods to consider the connection between BPM and RPA:
1. BPM can assist determine sturdy candidates for optimization
The muse of BPM is to raised perceive and doc the wide-ranging processes that comprise a corporation’s day-to-day operations. As Jim Tyrrell, senior principal options architect on Red Hat’s public sector crew, shared with us lately: “BPM is the administration of enterprise processes which can be usually buried in folks’s heads, [as well as in] manuals, guidelines, legal guidelines, and worksheets. [These] inevitably get created and exist in any enterprise, typically with out sufficient governance round their long-term upkeep.”
“Making an attempt to automate processes you don’t perceive is a path to failure.”
That makes BPM an incredible foundation for an RPA program, as a result of success requires well-understood, clearly documented processes and the identical mindset of steady enchancment. As Antony Edwards, COO at Eggplant, told us: “Making an attempt to automate processes you don’t perceive is a path to failure.”
[ Related read: How to identify Robotic Process Automation (RPA) opportunities ]
BPM may also assist suss out areas in a corporation’s workflows and processes the place automation could be useful and/or optimum, however the place there’s not one other resolution already inside attain.
“RPA is a user-friendly and cost-effective approach to fill automation gaps when organizations have legacy platforms, net functions, or in-house programs that lack enterprise integration performance,” Chan says.
2. BPM and RPA can assist join legacy and fashionable programs
Take a step again and take into consideration why BPM exists and the way firms use it.
“Enterprise Course of Administration has lengthy been utilized by organizations to rework end-to-end enterprise processes, and to attach these enterprise processes to folks in a corporation and the underlying programs to ship optimized and environment friendly operations,” Husain says.
One instance: Banks have deployed strong cell apps that should hook up with core legacy programs.
That every one sounds good, proper? Actually, it sounds much like how enterprise and IT leaders focus on digital transformation. (We famous lately that digital transformation could be regarded as a descendant of BPM.) However this doesn’t imply you immediately dump these legacy programs in a single day, or enter some collaborative paradise the place folks and groups all the time work seamlessly collectively or the place integration and automation occur with the wave of a magic wand. Dare to dream, however that’s not the truth in most organizations.
“BPM nonetheless depends on complicated and infrequently legacy-burdened underlying programs that perform vital enterprise capabilities, and these capabilities typically require human intervention and operation,” Husain says. “RPA performs a pivotal position by seamlessly integrating with these complicated programs and automating repetitive and guide duties – significantly round information extraction, switch, and processing.”
This will save important effort and time, in line with Husain, whereas decreasing errors and enhancing information high quality.
“BPM and RPA have been used collectively to quickly modernize legacy IT and enterprise operations throughout many industries,” Huff says.
He factors to the banking and monetary companies sector and specifically, how these firms have deployed strong cell apps to present clients the flexibility to do issues like make cell deposits, switch funds, or apply for a mortgage from their smartphone.
“To make this occur, these firms wanted to discover a approach to join core legacy programs with fashionable cell functions,” Huff says. “BPM is used to create the digital connections between fashionable cell functions and legacy IT programs, whereas triggering RPA, based mostly on a rule-set, to execute particular information motion actions resembling taking information out of 1 system and inputting it into one other.”
Let’s take a look at two extra methods BPM and RPA make sense collectively: