With every progressive step of technological advancements, the priorities of CIOs are also changing. Process transformation and automation have gained much of leaders’ attention in recent times. Automation, the use of machines to perform work, most commonly refers to using the use of computer technologies to perform the tasks humans would otherwise do as part of their jobs. The use of computer-based process automation is widespread, with organizations deploying a broad range of software automation tools to help them reach the automation goals they set as part of their larger digital transformation objectives.
According to the December 2020 Global Intelligent Automation (intelligence AI) Study from Deloitte, *73% of organizations worldwide use automation technologies. That’s a significant increase from the *58% of organizations using such technologies in 2019. Gartner reported that organizations’ interest in a process of transformation is accelerating, demand for robotic process automation (RPA) software witnessing the growth of **19.5% from 2020.
But, RPA is not the only process automation technology that companies are leveraging to drive goals, efficiency, and digital transformation. The diversified business sector embraces certain other automation options such as business process automation (BPA) and digital process automation (DPA). Each of the three technologies offers benefits, and each has distinctions that separate it from the others.
What is robotic process automation (RPA)?
RPA technology mimics the way humans interact with software via a UI to perform high-volume, repetitive tasks. The technology creates software programs, or bots, that can log in to applications, enter data, calculate, and complete tasks, and copy data between applications or workflows as required. But RPA doesn’t inherently have intelligence or decision-making capabilities. Hence, the work best suited to RPA is rules-based. These are discrete tasks done the same way over and over, with no deviations that require human decision-making. According to Gartner, RPA represents a major portion of the automation market. Experts believe that the primary benefits of RPA are increased efficiency, lower costs, and reduced errors. RPA bots can perform tasks faster and with consistent accuracy and reliability. They can work round-the-clock without taking breaks.
Another reason for RPA’s growing popularity in the enterprise is its relative ease of use. RPA works with an organization’s existing infrastructure and applications. Also, because many vendors offer low-code/no-code RPA platforms that require little to no programming experience, business users can harness RPA, creating their own bots with minimal help from their IT departments. As such, business users are driving much of the RPA adoption.
What is digital process automation (DPA)?
DPA is a software technology used to automate a process and optimize the workflow within an automated process. A big focus of DPA is to improve employee and customer experiences by taking friction out of the workflow. The software is used to create efficiencies and enhance UX experience in various areas of the enterprise, from IT service requests to onboarding new employees and client intake.
Organizations use DPA to automate a process from its beginning to its end. Typically, DPA is used for the longer and more complex processes than the tasks that can be effectively handled by RPA. These processes can contain multitudes of decisions that, if using RPA, would create bots that are too long and too difficult to maintain.
As per a ***Forrester schema, DPA is divided into two types: DPA-deep, and DPA-wide, which is closely related to RPA:
- DPA-deep is automation that transforms and improves a business process and, because of the complexity, requires skilled technologists to implement and focus on continuous
- business users and can be managed by the business and delivered using low-code platforms and Agile methods.
What is business process automation (BPA)?
BPA automates workflows within an organization; as one step in the business process is completed, the BPA software then automatically triggers the next step. BPA software is used to automate complex, multistep business processes that are usually unique to an organization and are part of the organization’s core business functions.
Size of the business process automation system (BPA) market worldwide from 2016 to 2021
BPA’s holistic approach stems from the technology’s capability to work across the multiple enterprise applications and systems required to complete a typical business process. Organizations often first analyze and improve a business process with a BPA approach before automating it, which is different from the mimic-as-is tactic typically used in RPA.
Reworked, optimized processes using BPA remove human hands from the workflow; with human workers no longer involved in the automated process, they’re not introducing individual workarounds or unauthorized changes to the workflow. Consequently, enterprises use BPA in their digital transformation efforts for the accuracy, efficiency, and reliability it brings to each automated process.
Experts Opinion on – RPA Vs BPA Vs DPA
Some experts use BPA as an umbrella term for a wide range of process automation technologies but there are varied opinions on that concern as well.
According to Gina Schaefer, intelligent automation lead at Deloitte Consulting LLP said- “DPA, BPA, and RPA — are practically interchangeable.”
She further added – “Digital, business process and robotic process automation are essentially the same. When applied appropriately, these refer to comprehensive end-to-end process automation. Specifically, these terms refer to the use of scripted automation software to mimic human actions in the execution of rules-based ‘swivel chair’ type tasks, typically where an individual accesses and processes data from multiple applications.”
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