Automation

How is RPA different from other enterprise automation tools such as BPM/ODM?

Share this post:

Key points: 

  • Business leaders often question when to use enterprise automation tools like business process management (BPM) versus robotic process automation (RPA).
  • RPA uses software or cognitive/AI robots for performing process operations instead of human operators.
  • BPM is an approach to re-engineer and streamline underlying processes to drive efficiency.

Earlier this week, I had an opportunity to meet with the C-Suite team from one of the largest insurance companies in the US. We engaged in a vigorous discussion around when to use enterprise automation tools such as business process management (BPM) versus robotic process automation (RPA)—a topic that is frequently on the minds of business leaders. Many organizations have a similar question if they have either deployed BPM or are considering deploying BPM and RPA.

By definition, RPA is a software code that runs virtual workforce (robots) for process operation. RPA processes rules- based, structured data through the user interface of the robotic software that supports the process. Examples would include repetitive data entry functions and enterprise resource planning (ERP) downloads and uploads. This technology aims at automating processes without changing, replacing, compromising or adding maintenance overhead onto existing applications, reducing costs and enabling the long tail of change. Given that these software robots have similar capabilities as existing users, there is no real requirement for additional system testing.

On the other hand, BPM and IBM Operational Decision Manager (ODM) are established as an overall approach to streamline business processes for optimized efficiency and value. The BPM platform has been an integral part of process workflow automation solutions. It involves re-engineering of the underlying process to drive efficiency and create a more consistent customer experience. Data from the underlying system of record is passed between the new application and back-end systems, bypassing the established user interfaces. BPM requires extensive additional testing as data layer integration creates brittle interfaces between applications. This chart delves deeper into the differences between the two approaches.

Learn how RPA and intelligent automation can help your organization re-imagine how work gets done.

 

Global Delivery Leader, CPA

More Automation stories

The benefits of automation you didn’t see coming

Automation pays out, and relatively quickly too. But some of the benefits come from less obvious places. The recent Forrester Total Economic Impact study looked at the impact — costs and benefits — of automation in the world of application management, based on in-depth interviews with IBM clients. For many organizations, the catalyst for considering […]

Continue reading

GDPR and protecting data privacy with cryptographic pseudonyms

Within two years, most of today’s cybersecurity technologies will be obsolete. Since the beginning of 2016, hackers have stolen more than 8 billion records — more than double the two previous years combined — and that doesn’t account for unreported intrusions. The current system of patches, firewalls and blacklists isn’t working. It’s no match for […]

Continue reading