Do Robotic Process Automation and Digital Process Automation compete or complement each other? Digital transformation may need both…
Robotic Process Automation and Digital Process Automation: Friend or foe?
Do Robotic Process Automation and Digital Process Automation compete or complement each other? Digital transformation may need both
What Is Robotic Process Automation (RPA)?
Robotic Process Automation is a software technology that allows businesses to automate low-level tasks now and will assist humans with higher-level tasks in the future, as the technology improves. The primary focus of RPA is to have software bots complete routine, monotonous jobs, freeing up human employees to complete tasks that require emotional intelligence, reasoning, judgement, and a higher level of care and interaction with customers.
RPA is a surface-level fix and does not replace business processes; however, it allows rote processes to be completed much faster by eliminating the need for humans to do them. The bots work directly across application interfaces, automatically inputting data, triggering actions across multiple systems and acting on behalf of employees. RPA allows businesses to reduce their human workforce, optimise the human workforce they do have and achieve incremental automation benefits without involving IT. However, its scalability is unknown and it is not meant for continuous improvement and optimisation.
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What Is Digital Process Automation (DPA)?
Digital Process Automation represents the evolution of traditional BPM (Business Process Management) technologies. BPM ensures that the infrastructure of an organisation’s business processes is solid and streamlines business processes for maximum efficiency and cost containment. Digital Process Automation emerged out of organisations’ needs to automate business processes as part of wider digital transformation initiatives that are focused on enhancing the customer experience as opposed to containing costs.
This is not to say that cutting costs is no longer a consideration; it is simply not the primary focus of Digital Process Automation, as it is with BPM. While BPM typically focuses on streamlining an organisations core businesses, in the number of tens to dozens, to enhance end-to-end efficiency and compliance, DPA aims to extend business processes to customers, suppliers, and partners, giving them better experiences when they interact with the company. Unlike BPM, DPA can expect roll outs of hundreds or even thousands of processes.
The Case for Robotic Process Automation and Digital Process Automation convergence
While RPA is centred around eliminating the need for humans to complete repetitive, unskilled or low-skilled tasks and DPA is focused on automating processes to improve the customer experience, in the end, they work in tandem to allow organisations to provide better customer experiences and outcomes.
In contrast to RPA bots, DPA solutions are not designed to fully replace tasks done by human labour. While DPA aims to streamline yet provide a more dynamic automation of customer-journey processes, it still depends largely on humans, such as the customer support representatives, to carry out the work.
Robotic process automation and the new age of digital transformation
RPA bots can fill in the gaps left by DPA, allowing organisations to enjoy higher levels of efficiency and free up human workers for customer-centric work that requires intuition and creative thinking. The existing DPA systems remain in place to ensure the most engaging customer journey experience and RPA bots perform repetitive, time-consuming work once the need for human intervention is identified by the DPA system. Once a bot completes a task, DPA takes over, pushing follow-up actions and results to the customer or another human employee to complete or review.
Although Robotic Process Automation and Digital Process Automation solutions can be deployed separately, when they are strategically implemented together, their individual benefits are compounded. RPA and DPA complement each other, forming a powerful duo that can help organisations achieve their process automation goals. In the future, RPA will be incorporated into DPA systems and organisations’ overall digital transformation toolkits.
Robotic roll-outs reap results: 95% of organisations using RPA say the technology has improved productivity
Ninety-five per cent of organisations that have implemented robotic process automation (RPA) say that it has improved productivity, according to Deloitte’s fourth Global Robotics Survey.
One of the reasons for RPA’s growth in popularity is because previously there was not a solution that offered all of the following benefits:
- Low-code, with the ability to create portable, future-proof applications
- Strong BPM/DPA foundation
- Deployable as Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS)
- Empower business experts while allowing strong governance by IT
RPA has great value, especially when integrating DPA solutions with legacy systems with no API support. However, organisations could achieve even better value by integrating RPA with a general-purpose (i.e., form, process, or mobile) low-code platform that can create future-proof, portable and hyper-agile business applications.
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