Where Does RPA End and BPA Begin?

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As businesses race towards bringing high-quality products to the markets as quickly and as efficiently as they can, automation sets a strong foundation for streamlining tedious tasks, optimizing workflows, eliminating manual efforts, and minimizing administrative errors. Analysts expect the global process automation market to cross $114 billion by 2025.
In the quest to automate, enterprises are testing the limits of solutions. They are exploring different automation avenues and modes. Terms like RPA and BPA are under discussion. A need is emerging to draw a line between these modes.
Many businesses begin their automation journey with RPA. Soon enough, the pressure to scale automation across the organization requires them to look at the bigger picture or BPA.
So, what exactly are RPA and BPA? How are they similar? And what’s the difference? Read on to find out!

What is RPA (Robotics Process Automation)?

RPA (Robotics Process Automation) makes use of automation technology to streamline day-to-day tasks and reduce the burden on humans. The focus is on manual, repetitive, and rule-driven tasks. By constantly interacting with business applications and systems in the same way as humans would, RPA automates mundane tasks such as data entry, payroll processing, and more, allowing humans to focus on strategic work that adds more value to the business.
One of the most common use cases of Robotics Process Automation is in the area of customer service. Given the gamut of queries and concerns customers have when they reach out to a customer care executive, having answers ready for all the questions is impossible. RPA makes use of robots to communicate with customers, understand their problems, refer to a knowledge base, and provide the most appropriate answer – in just a matter of a few seconds – thereby delivering a superior customer experience.

What is BPA (Business Process Automation)?

BPA (Business Process Automation) takes automation a step further. It focuses on more complex workflows and automates a bunch of repeatable processes that take up a lot of time such as sharing files, generating reports, or extracting data from unstructured sources, and more. Unlike RPA that automates a specific task, BPA automates an entire process, so each step in the process automatically triggers the next – causing the entire workflow to be actioned automatically.
One of the most common use cases of Business Process Automation is in recruitment. Given how chaotic and time-consuming the hiring process is, often involving a lot of paperwork and manual tasks that span multiple departments, BPA has the promise of automating every aspect of the recruitment process: from posting ads to sourcing candidates, scanning resumes, scheduling interviews, and more – thus paving the way for an enhanced candidate experience while greatly bringing down the time taken to hire.

Similarities between Robotic Process Automation (RPA) & Business Process Automation (BPA)

RPA and BPA, although separate terms, both contribute to how a business handles its daily operations while aiding in meeting digital transformation goals. RPA and BPA both help organizations

  • • Automate mundane, error-prone, repetitive tasks
    • Reduce administrative stress and monotony
    • Focus on strategic, value-adding tasks
    • Help reduce the error rate and improve the overall accuracy of processes
    • Save hours and reduce operational and resource costs
    • Improve product quality and time-to-market
    • Boost business process efficiency
    • Enhance customer experience

Difference between Robotic Process Automation (RPA) & Business Process Automation (BPA)

In the world of automation, RPA is just a small part of the larger, enterprise-wide BPA-driven strategy. While RPA looks to automate a single task (or a group of tasks) to enhance productivity, BPA looks to automate an entire process or workflow for improved decision-making and efficiency.
Let’s take the example of customer order processing: Robotic Process Automation can help automate the task of receiving the customer order, sending it to the processing system, calculating the cost, and sending the invoice back to the customer. Now imagine if your processing system has no data on the particular customer whose order has to be processed; in that case, RPA will not be able to fetch the required information from the processing system. Instead, it will alert the human who would then manually add in customer details in the processing system.
However, Business Process Automation, through constant analysis and monitoring of the order process, may be able to detect this missing information and automatically create the customer and add in all details in the database – without human intervention.

Robotic Process Automation

Business Process Automation

What is it A software or application that mimics human actions An approach that analyzes processes and identifies areas of
What it does Automates individual tasks Automates business processes end-to-end
Approach Individualistic Holistic
Orientation Task-oriented Process-oriented
Purpose To automate time-consuming, error-prone tasks To streamline processes and increase efficiency
Integration Every task is automated in a silo Every task that is automated triggers the next in the
Implementation Quick and easy to implement More time-consuming and complex to implement
Outcomes Immediate and tactical Long-term and strategic
  • Reduces human error
  • Speeds up processes
  • Frees employees
  • Improves business process efficiency
  • Enhances competitive position
  • Enables continuous improvement
Popular use cases
  • Data entry
  • Payroll processing
  • Customer care
  • Automated emails
  • Vendor onboarding
  • Invoice processing
  • Recruitment
  • Lead nurturing
  • Sales/Purchase order management
  • Data analysis
  • Social media management


The numerous benefits of automation make it compelling for organizations to embrace the technology. While RPA is ideal for those looking to increase the efficiency of a few tasks if you want to streamline critical business processes, adopting BPA can help across the full spectrum of enterprise needs. Each offers clear value when used right.
Investing in these technologies can help your company achieve higher productivity, greater efficiency, and the agility to outdo the competition. This is automation with purpose and impact.

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