How do Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Business Process Management (BPM) fit together?

How do Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Business Process Management (BPM) fit together?

Business Process Management is the veteran; Robotic Process Automation is the new darling. Put BPM and RPA together in your automation strategy, and you can solve multiple problems

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Robotic Process Automation (RPA) bots break

3. BPM can help handle exceptions in RPA rules

RPA follows rules; it doesn’t do exceptions or edge cases. The bot is essentially stopped in its tracks in those instances. BPM can help address how those exceptions should be handled.

“RPA and BPM combine very effectively in scenarios where RPA is running automated activities but relies on BPM to handle specific exceptions, [such as] how to handle a missing document or piece of information during the HR onboarding process,” Husain says. “Conversely, BPM can rely on RPA to automate the otherwise manually intense and time-taking tasks in the workflow, [such as] transferring employee data to various systems for payroll processing as part of the HR onboarding process.”

The same can be true of other scenarios where BPM and RPA go hand-in-hand, such as the banking example Huff shared.

Even something as simple as a tweak to the UI of a web application can break a bot.

“RPA relies on BPM to handle any exceptions that don’t follow the rule-set or require a human to step in and adjudicate a transaction,” Huff says. “Because RPA by itself is rules-based and often breaks when the environment and process changes, BPM serves as the ‘safety net’ to handle all exceptions and keep operations running.”

Another way of thinking about that “safety net:” BPM ensures you know where those exceptions and changes exist in the first place. Not seeing those exceptions or changes is a common reason why some RPA implementations fail: Even something as simple as a tweak to the UI of a web application can break a bot.

4. RPA can be deployed and managed by non-developers

BPM increasingly intersects with IT, as organizations increasingly seek out the expertise and skills needed to implement an automation strategy. RPA is a technology that can help increase automation without over-taxing IT pros because many RPA tools are built to be used by non-technical staff.

This means that the same people who work closely with BPM, such as business analysts or business operations staff, can also be hands-on in terms of automating certain processes.

A collaborative approach that doesn’t cut the CIO out of the loop is certainly recommended, but this doesn’t mean IT leaders need to reallocate a bunch of developers or other IT pros to make that happen.

“RPA bots can be configured by non-technical staff, which means less work for IT staff that is often overburdened, especially today when remote work is more prevalent,” Chan says. “These characteristics make RPA ideal for organizations that want to deploy integrations and automation solutions quickly in response to change.”

[ Is your culture agile enough to handle RPA? Get the digital transformation eBook: Teaching an elephant to dance. ]

 

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