From comic books to music, and yes, even ice cream, it’s easy to point to famous duos who have made a lasting impact on the world around them: Batman & Robin, Lennon & McCartney, and Ben & Jerry.
However, one duo that continually flies under the radar is business process management (BPM) and robotic process automation (RPA). These distinct — but complementary — technologies together can achieve incredible business results and potentially change the intelligent automation (IA) landscape significantly.
Although separate technologies, BPM and RPA are not mutually exclusive. Rather, they work best when integrated, with RPA automating repetitive and routine tasks and BPM delivering the right work to the right resource at the right time, orchestrating work across humans, digital workers, and disparate systems, creating a unified, end-to-end process experience.
The benefits of BPM and RPA working together on one platform are abundant, from increased efficiency to cost savings and improved accuracy to scalability. But before we discuss the benefits of BPM and RPA integration, let’s clarify the differences.
What Is RPA?
RPA is an intelligent automation technology that uses digital workers (sometimes referred to as "bots") to automate repeatable tasks within established business processes. RPA allows organizations to streamline and optimize their operations by automating tasks previously performed by people, who can then focus on more strategic and complex activities.
Designed to interact with a wide range of software systems and applications, RPA can perform various tasks like processing orders, generating reports, migrating and transferring data, and processing payrolls, invoices, and claims. Following predefined rules and instructions, RPA executes tasks more efficiently and accurately than humans, saving businesses substantial time and money.
The benefits of RPA
You can apply RPA across different industries and sectors, including finance, insurance, healthcare, manufacturing, customer service, and human resources. It integrates with existing systems without the need for major changes to the underlying infrastructure, making RPA both flexible and scalable.
Further benefits include:
- Speed and efficiency. A digital worker works very quickly, especially compared to humans performing the same task. For example, it drastically cuts processing time. A digital worker can take just minutes to complete a task that would otherwise take human hours. And unlike a person rushing a task, this speed comes at no risk to the quality of the output.
- Accuracy. Unsurprisingly, errors creep in when people spend long hours on monotonous, repetitive tasks. When given the right instructions, RPA will always provide uniform, predictable results.
- Reduced costs. When a digital worker performs a task, it gets completed faster and more accurately than when performed by a person, resulting in significant business savings.
- Improved customer satisfaction. Certain points in any customer experience journey benefit from the 'human touch.’ But for other areas, RPA offers many advantages for your customers, including quicker response times. And, with more time, service agents can focus on providing better customer experiences, improving overall satisfaction.
- Increased output. Digital workers are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. No vacation or sick days means no dips in productivity.
- Employee satisfaction. RPA removes the burdens of monotonous jobs like data entry and invoice processing, enabling people to dedicate time to more challenging, creative, and ultimately more stimulating work, thereby improving job satisfaction.
Now that we’ve provided some insight into RPA and its benefits let’s look at BPM.
What Is BPM?
Business process management is both a discipline and a technology. As a discipline, it covers how we study, identify, optimize, and monitor business processes to ensure they deliver the right outcomes and results over time. As an intelligent automation platform and software, people often refer to it as business process management software (BPMS). It connects processes, people, digital workers, data, and software, making work faster, more efficient, and more accurate.
Through this combination, BPM solutions like SS&C Blue Prism Chorus provide total visibility into a business, helping to orchestrate and manage work across the organization, predict outcomes, strengthen performance and continuously improve results — ultimately enabling businesses to scale their intelligent automation efforts across the entire enterprise.
The benefits of BPM
Organizations implement BPM for many reasons, with research showing cost reduction and improved productivity (70%) often being front of mind. Research also found that developing new products or lines of business (30%) and improving customer satisfaction (30%) are also major considerations.
Other benefits include:
- Unified workforce. BPM connects people and digital workers to create a single, collaborative team working together to achieve your business goals.
- Accelerated straight-through processing. Customers are looking for a quick, smooth process that, once initiated, progresses without a lot of (or any) manual intervention.
- Transformed customer experiences. BPM can tailor processes to meet customer expectations. Whatever channel or combination of channels customers choose, your process can ingest that data, analyze, route, and action it. You can also minimize manual intervention and the delays that come with it using RPA.
- Reduced operational risk. With BPM, it’s easier to monitor work and check quality. Compliance becomes simpler to document and enforce. Both compliance and audit teams have the tools they need to simplify reporting.
- Expanded use enterprise-wide. With BPM, you can optimize business workflows end-to-end and engage employees and customers through an omnichannel experience, enabling you to automate your entire business.
Powerful Alone, Transformational Together
As we mentioned before, BPM and RPA are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they work best when integrated. When used together, RPA automates individual tasks with digital workers while BPM analyzes, measures, optimizes, and orchestrates end-to-end processes across the business.
Integrating BPM and RPA improves the effectiveness of automation initiatives exponentially:
- Centralized orchestration. The centralized orchestration provided by BPM allows organizations to manage and monitor their entire automation ecosystem — including RPA — from a single platform. This includes scheduling, prioritizing, and coordinating both human and digital worker activities, ensuring the smooth execution of processes across multiple systems.
- Enhanced workload management. A BPM platform can provide workload management capabilities, enabling businesses to distribute workloads intelligently among digital workers based on availability, skill sets, and priority. This ensures optimal resource utilization and efficient handling of tasks, leading to increased productivity and reduced processing time.
- Improved analytics and reporting. BPM can also provide valuable insights into automation, such as digital workers’ performance and ROI. Organizations can track key metrics, including the number of processes automated, time savings, and error rates to measure the impact of RPA on their business operations. These insights enable continuous improvement and optimization of automated processes.
- Increased flexibility. With BPM and RPA working together, organizations can easily scale their automation efforts by deploying additional digital workers or expanding automation to new processes. The integrated platform's ability to handle complex and diverse environments allows seamless integration with existing systems, maximizing return on investment.
- Reduced complexity. Companies can reduce complexity and simplify their operations by integrating BPM and RPA, making it easier for employees to understand and use the system, leading to greater adoption and success.
One of the most important and substantial benefits of BPM and RPA integration is digital transformation. By integrating RPA and BPM, companies can fundamentally change and improve their operations, processes, strategies, and customer experience. This enables new ways of working, delivering value, and engaging with customers.
Ready, Set… Integrate!
Now that we know the benefits of this dynamic duo, how do you ensure optimal integration? Here are a few key steps:
- Identify processes for automation. Thoroughly analyze business processes to identify tasks or workflows ripe for automation.
- Map and optimize processes. Map out existing processes using BPM and an integrated process intelligence tool, identifying bottlenecks, and optimizing them for efficiency and effectiveness.
- Prioritize opportunities. Assess those processes identified and prioritize them based on factors like complexity, volume, business outcome impact, and potential return on investment.
- Design automated workflows. Define the end-to-end workflows incorporating both RPA and BPM, identifying the tasks that can be automated using RPA, and specifying the triggers and conditions for their execution within the overall BPM framework.
- Establish communication and data exchange. Enable smooth communication and data exchange between platforms, which may involve integrating APIs, web services, etc.
- Monitor and manage. Implement robust monitoring and management mechanisms to oversee the integrated process. This includes tracking digital workers' and people's performance, process analytics, exception handling, and reporting. BPM tools provide visibility into the end-to-end process, allowing for real-time monitoring, performance optimization, and continuous improvement.
- Continuously improve. Regularly evaluate the performance and effectiveness of the integrated processes. Analyze metrics, gather feedback from users, and identify areas for optimization or expansion to drive ongoing improvements and keep the automation aligned with evolving business needs.
By integrating RPA and BPM effectively, businesses can leverage the strengths of both technologies to gain the edge they need to stay ahead of the curve and the competition.
The Bottom Line
While BPM and RPA are popular options due to their ease of use, effectiveness, and exceptional ROI, it’s worth noting they’re not the only intelligent automation options available. Other automation solutions that can be integrated include intelligent document processing (IDP), artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML).
In fact, according to McKinsey, “Organizations need to envision and implement holistic optimization programs to maximize return on investment. Though it is easier and faster to implement automation projects in silos, such an approach is inherently flawed.” It continues to explain how individual technologies themselves are insufficient to capture value. Fundamentally, a process redesign is required to unlock transformative synergy.
SS&C | Blue Prism® Chorus is a comprehensive automation platform with the tools to effectively design, deploy and manage your RPA initiatives. It offers advanced capabilities such as centralized orchestration, workflow automation, workload management, low-code development, and analytics, enabling enterprises to scale their automation efforts and achieve optimal results. Read more about
BPM and RPA form a powerful alliance that can revolutionize an organization’s operations. The advanced orchestration, workload management, and analytics capabilities offered by BPM complement the strengths of RPA. Ultimately, this leads to enhanced efficiency, reduced costs, and improved customer experiences.
As IA continues to reshape work, leveraging the complementary relationship between BPM and RPA becomes imperative for organizations looking to stay ahead.
To learn more about how BPM and RPA work together, take a look at our webinar; Why BPM & RPA Are Better Together.