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BPM vs RPA – What is the best fit for your business?

Gartner has predicted that the recent turn of events has accelerated the adoption of digital technology as businesses look for new ways to survive, adapt and grow. However, the automation market is clouded with buzz words such as Business Process Management (BPM), Robotic Process Automation (RPA), hyper automation, digital transformation, intelligent automation and many more. It is very easy for organisations to get lost in the terminology and lose sight of what they are trying to achieve in terms of business efficiency, reducing cost of operations or providing better customer service. Throughout this blog, we help you differentiate between RPA and BPM so you can understand what is the most suitable approach to address your business challenges.

What is the difference between RPA and BPM?

BPM and RPA both enable efficient process management. Do they tackle the same problem?

The answer is no, but they are often used in conjunction to deliver end-to-end digital transformation projects.

BPM has been an essential part of many digital transformation journeys already and provides simple but effective solutions to businesses making the transition. The second is Robotic Process Automation (RPA). RPA is a technology solution that has been rapidly gaining popularity in recent years thanks to its ability to free businesses from monotonous and repetitive tasks.

Each of these technologies provides benefits in different ways but more significantly, they can be used together to help complete a company’s digital transformation.

What is Business Process Management (BPM)?

BPM technology is used to streamline a business process by orchestrating and automating activities executed by humans, robots and backend systems. It creates a unified approach to the process from the “ask” until the process is completed, hiding the complexity of the legacy systems that exist underneath to support it.

To ensure there is continued efficiency, BPM also monitors the processes, handles exceptions and promotes further changes where necessary.

What is RPA?

RPA works to help automate repetitive, low value and time-consuming tasks, or groups of tasks, that would usually be carried out by a member of staff. With an RPA solution in place, staff members are freed up allowing them to focus more time on higher-value, more complex business tasks.

What types of automation points should be automated?

- Highly manual and repetitive processes

- Processes with standard readable electronic Input Type

- Changeable Processing Method or System Change

- Rule-Based Processes

- High Volumes

- Mature and stable processes

Power up your transformation project - Get the best results with BPM and RPA together

These are two capabilities that really work together and where the combination of the two can dramatically scale the coverage of automation within an enterprise.

BPM +RPA supporting end-to-end digital transformation

BPM technologies are best suited to automate the high value and low volume business processes within any business. For example, BPM can be used to automate claims processing – where a claims form is received it is automatically categorised based on the information on the form such as claim amount, customer number etc. it is then directed to an appropriate claim handler or team. BPM enables you to increase the efficiency of high-value businesses processes and also increases the speed of processing. BPM is hence best suited to automate end to end process flows and exception handling within those.

RPA is more suited to execute high volume and repetitive tasks that would otherwise take humans a long time to do. Robots can be triggered to execute tasks, in the context of a process, and then make the process move forward by assigning the task to a human or executing a system call to execute the next step/task on the process.

Imagine the above scenario again where a client completes a request form and if the request is below a certain threshold the bot can execute that action, but if it is above this threshold, it needs to go to a human either to execute it or to validate before returning it back to the bot for completion. In this example, BPM is orchestrating who is doing what and the bot is executing a task the same way a human would.

What’s right for you – BPM or RPA?

At ABP we aim to create bespoke solutions to our clients' problems - the technology is incidental. We find the two technologies complementary, however, each has its own strengths and suitability for implementation.


- Task by Task within a process

- Manual & Repetitive Tasks

- Low development effort

- Fast


- Holistic tech approach

- End-to-end process orchestration

- High development effort

- Transformational

If you are embarking on your digital transformation journey or simply trying to improve performance of an isolated process within the organisation, talk to one of our automation experts at ABP to consult which technology or combination is best suited for your needs.

1 Comment

Very informative article. I strongly agree that the two technologies are complementary. Building robotic automation becomes much simpler when the process is understood and modelled.

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