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Everyone these days is talking about RPA and BPM. Vendors in these fields are pushing their products while the customers are confused about what they can, and cannot expect from these offerings. Let’s clear the air once and for all.

Digital transformation is a rather weary process for most businesses. The crippling pandemic has accelerated it considerably due to the pressure to keep operations running. This has brought automation into the limelight once again. What was once a futuristic luxury is now a necessity that every business needs to embrace.

This is where techniques such as RPA and BPM come into the picture. These are techniques with the potential to literally transform businesses for the better. While BPM and BPA have been the talk of the town for a while now, the emergence of RPA is relatively new.

What is Robotic Process Automation (RPA)?

RPA is an application that automates business processes through structured inputs and logic. It takes care of the routine and repetitive tasks that are usually time-consuming and monotonous e.g. generating insurance premium receipts every time an insurance premium is paid against an insurance policy. With RPA in place, you will be able to focus on other important tasks in the business process.

However, RPA is not a deep-rooted answer. It is a basic fix for repetitive tasks and low-level events that require the use of a mouse or keyboard functions. It only works to get things done faster and save human effort.

It is important to note here that RPA does not optimize the process. This detail will come handy when we speak of the differences.

What is Business Process Management (BPM)?

BPM is a beast! We say so because it has a much larger role to play in business processes than RPA. It does much more than just automating a few tasks to get them out of the way. It optimizes the entire business process to improve and optimize the overall efficiency of the system. So, when your business is armed with BPM, you can be sure to improve and streamline the process through analysis. This includes monitoring tasks and optimizing them to save effort and time.

Thus, it is no surprise that the global BPM market is expected to grow 10.5% in coming years, reaching a size of 14.4 billion U.S. dollars by 2025.

What is the difference between BPA and BPM?

While the two are related, they’re not the same. Business Process Automation (BPA) is about automating processes, while BPM is about managing processes, which may or may not involve automation. However, there are products like Quixy, that can help do both.

Also Read: Top Business Process Management Stats to help you add efficiency

RPA and BPM– The Similarities

Franking speaking, there are none except that both are part of making processes more efficient with BPM playing a much bigger role. BPM (combined with BPA) is an overall approach to optimize, automate, and standardize end-to-end business processes, while RPA deals with specific, repetitive tasks. So while RPA can be part of a BPM approach, it will not replace BPM

Now let’s look at the differences.

What is the difference between RPA and BPM?

1. Purpose

The main purpose of RPA is to ensure that small repetitive tasks do not need human interference. The main aim of BPM, on the other hand, is to streamline processes and enhance efficiency. Thus, BPM can improve the effectiveness and productivity of the entire business.

2. Technology

RPA uses programmable BOTS to automate repetitive tasks. BPM, on the other hand, involves a wide range of software technology components including business analytics, workflow engine, and many more to optimize business processes for maximum value and efficiency.

3. Effort

Implementing RPA is not difficult. Deployment is very quick and can be executed in no time. Due to its complexity, though BPM requires some initial effort. This is because the holistic discipline has a different aim and requires businesses to rethink their business model.

4. Impact

RPA and BPM, both provide ROI but in different ways. With RPA, you will see an impact immediately but it is basic. It will get the job done without looking at the bottlenecks in the system. With BPM, the returns are of very high-quality and are helpful in the long run. The returns include more productivity, less effort, and reduced costs.

RPA vs BPM – Comparative Study

Parameter RPA BPM
Purpose To automate repetitive manual tasks To optimize end-to-end processes to improve overall value and efficiency
Technology Software bots automate repetitive monotonous tasks Involves a wide range of software technology components including business analytics, workflow engine, etc.
Effort Low High
Impact Immediate Significant and Transformational

RPA and BPM Integration

Did you know that businesses can use RPA and BPM together? RPA can be a part of BPM itself since the latter is an A to Z solution. BPM can take care of the whole process while RPA can handle one or two tasks set by rules within it. e.g. In a medical claims insurance process, RPA can seamlessly read and enter insurance claims information from the physical form into the software application, but BPM drives the overall automated flow of the claim process from reading the claim information, verifying the details, getting approvals to the disbursement of the approved claim amount.

When you deploy both of them, your platform will be extremely powerful and you will be able to catapult digital transformation in your business.

Also read: RIP paper based forms – It’s time to go paperless with forms automation

How to choose the right one between RPA and BPM?

You should BPM when you think that you need an agile approach towards your processes. BPM turns out to be very fruitful, especially the no-code BPM solution as it will help you make changes on the go and will enable you to keep up with the pace of changing business needs. It is the obvious choice simply because it takes care of more stuff than RPA does. Some examples of BPM and RPA are mentioned below.

Also Read: BPM Software – 11 things to consider for choosing the right one

Examples of RPA

To deeply understand where and how we can use RPA, let’s take a look at a few examples.

1. Forms processing

An RPA software program can read the forms using OCR technology e.g. insurance claims, that need to be processed. It can also enter the read data into any system, removing the need for human intervention. Needless to say, the processing of forms will be faster, more efficient, and more affordable. Paper costs will also go down considerably.

2. Web Site Scraping

RPA can be used to scrape data off the websites based on certain rules and enter into another system. Examples of this can be scraping data for stock trading websites, news, and media sites.

Examples of BPM

Time to gloss over a few excellent BPM examples to underscore BPM’s importance.

1. Employee onboarding

So much paperwork! There are so many tasks involved in employee onboarding that the person in charge often gets fed up. Right from filling forms to setting up bank accounts, there is so much that missing out on a couple is very common. The endless paperwork often causes frustration as well.

Business process management (BPM) technologies solve this headache by smoothening the process and ensuring that every task gets done.

2. Insurance Claims Processing

Insurance claims processing is generally a slow process. But BPM can help streamline and speed up the process through automated verification and approval processes while the customer has access to their claim status at all times.

3. Sales Proposals

BPM can help streamline the process for handling Sales Proposals. Using BPM, the sales team can generate custom sales proposals and speed-up reviews, signatures, and approvals through automated workflows while keeping a secure audit trail of all workflow steps.


RPA and BPM are two different approaches and while RPA can be a part of BPM, it can never replace it. Both, when implemented together effectively, can give organizations the maximum return for their investment.

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