BPM and RPA: Which One to Choose

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Business Process management (BPM) and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) are two sets of tools that are widely employed by companies driving digital transformation and business process optimization. Considering the fact that 65% of companies want to improve efficiency, it is becoming more critical to distinction between both BPM and RPM. 

BPM and RPA are both efficient and effective, but many companies are forced to choose between one or the other. In this article, we will go over both of these strategies in depth and explain which one we believe you should go with and why. 

What is BPM? 

Business process management is a toolset that is used by companies to create higher levels of efficiency for underlying business processes. The goal of BPM is to remove bottlenecks and to fix problematic areas so that a business can function at a higher level of productivity with a lower level of waste. In order to achieve this goal, BPM implementations must revolve around: 

  • deep analyses of business processes 
  • generating solutions 
  • putting solutions into place 
  • monitoring the modified business processes 
  • continually making adjustments and improvements as necessary

Most of the focus of BPM is on repetitive and tedious tasks that the business requires on an ongoing basis. 

What is RPA? 

RPA is a software development toolkit and efficiency strategy that lets companies easily build software robots that can be used to automate many different business processes. By allowing bots to handle certain mundane and repetitive business processes, companies can save on costs and free up human resources to put towards other more valuable tasks. It can also lift employee morale by liberating them from the most boring, robotic tasks. RPA bots can take care of basic tasks such as: 

  • collecting data from certain applications
  • copying and pasting data 
  • queries 
  • making calculations 
  • filling in the information in certain areas 
  • reentering data 
  • etc. 

As long as the task is rules-based, digital, repetitive, and doesn’t require a lot of complex decision-making, then there is a good chance that an RPA bot can be programmed to do it. In fact, 31 percent of businesses have fully automated at least one business function. Oftentimes, human beings find such tasks extremely tedious. So, in many circumstances, workers are more than happy to delegate these tasks to bots. 

What are the Key Differences Between BPM and RPA? 

Ultimately, BPM and RPA are both centered on generating higher levels of operational efficiency in businesses. So, if you’re considering RPA vs BPM and are struggling to choose between them, just remember that both strategies can be helpful. However, unlike RPA, BPM is not geared towards creating bots for individual tasks. Instead, it focuses more on the big picture and streamlining entire processes instead of delegating individual tasks to bots. BPM focuses on enterprise-wide efficiency and productivity. 

One of the key differences between RPA and BPM approaches is that BPM is significantly more difficult to get up and running. This is because it frequently involves making massive changes to an entire organization , which can take a lot of time. 

In fact, to implement a BPM strategy usually takes at least one year and oftentimes, several years. So, a lot of long-term extensive planning is required for BPM. 

However, RPA approach is  usually much quicker and easier to get up and runningbecause once the bot is created, it can just be deployed to take over responsibility for an individual task. RPA implementations are usually designed to take around three months to deliver to production.. 

Like RPA, BPM also commonly centers around automation. However, when automation is used in BPM, it usually involves automating a process end-to-end instead of just at the individual task level. So, another crucial difference between RPA and BPM is that BPM usually designed for much more complex solutions. 

RPA screen and process recording approach with low/no code features  became so popular in recent years  that people without coding knowledge or with limited coding knowledge can create and deploy RPA bots.

 However, despite the fact that the RPA industry is progressing steadily, at least some knowledge of C#/Java, SQL, and Web Services is needed in addition to knowledge of analysis, construction, deployment, and support of different types of software systems. In other words, the RPA industry is not at the point where bots can just be created in a matter of hours and deployed by anyone. There is still a significant amount of skill required and it still usually takes weeks to perfect and deploy an RPA bot. 

Choosing Between BPM and RPA

Trying to choose correctly when considering BPM vs RPA can be difficult. This is because they both have a number of key advantages and drawbacks. 

For example, BPM is big-picture oriented which is great because when it works, it can have a dramatic positive effect on your organization. But, to make it work, you have to integrate with other external technologies and platforms. For example, in finance operations, a great deal of data can live across legacy systems with no APIs. This can be an issue. However, RPA bots can easily extract  this data from  a number of monolith apps whether or not APIs are available. This  RPA a better choice. 

Whether BPM or RPA is better for you depends heavily on the amount of investment you are willing to make. If you have a small budget and need meaningful changes in a short amount of time, then RPA is most likely better for you. This is because even small investments in RPA technology can have a quick and significant payback. 

But, if your time horizon is more than a year and if you have a larger budget to work with, then BPM might be better for you. The impact of BPM tends to be larger overall because it involves end-to-end processes. BPM can bring sweeping changes to your business which can completely alter the way your company operates. If you are looking to make broad changes, then this BPM is a great option. 

However, even though BPM and RPA can both be effective individually, combining them and using them both is also highly advisable where it is possible. For example, you can use RPA to help you finish a BPM activity in a larger business process. You can also use BPM to connect the RPA activities to other system activities and to organize them within a larger structure. 


The best results are often seen when RPA and BPM systems are used together to increase efficiency. Many companies want to break down business process management vs robotic process automation to identify the best solution for them. However, RPA and BPM are meant to work together and to be used in combination with one another, instead of exclusively. So, distinguishing between BPM and RPA may not be as vital as some companies think. 
Our questionnaire will help you to understand your processes in scope for RPA. Moreover, to gain the most benefits from RPA and BPM we recommend selecting an implementation partner that has the right capabilities that can help you make a holistic assessment of business processes and the infrastructure in which they are running. Whether you decide to go with both systems, business process management,  or robotic process automation, your company stands to benefit tremendously if the implementation is done well.

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