Not all matches are made in heaven, some are a result of experimentation, and a cumulation of logic that leads to something unexpected, yet so compatible. BPM and RPA is one such unlikely match that is taking the digital world by storm of late! Organizations that are on the cusp of reformation and are adopting a well-rounded digital strategy are often faced with limitations when adhering to a single approach. Business Process Management (BPM) and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) might seem poles apart from each other; one focusses on streamlining end-to-end business processes while the other is focussed on automating repetitive tasks. However, when asked which one is the right choice, the right answer is often ‘both’.
Turning towards a combination of BPM and RPA can create effective, streamlined processes, reduce effort, time consumption, improve productivity and ultimately, result in increased revenues and saved costs. How, you ask? Let’s take a deeper look at how the combination of BPM and RPA have brought in a revolution in spearheading digital transformation.
BPM and RPA: Different, yet similar
Despite how different the two domains are, they share a common goal: Improving processes and productivity. Business Process Management is an approach that’s taken to streamline processes that involve analyzing existing processes, identifying scope for improvement and building a solution to bring about optimization. On the other hand, RPA facilitates the creation of a robotic workforce and automates routine, mundane and time-consuming tasks and operates processes as a human would, but faster and without fatigue (Explore how Appian’s Robotic Workforce Manager can align your human and robotic workforce). This makes RPA more of a surface-level fix that doesn’t entirely optimize the process, rather it only replaces manual efforts and makes the job faster.
Let’s consider a complex property insurance claims process: You can simply use RPA to automate a repetitive task such as processing customer data for the claims by teaching a bot how to pull up data from specific locations and compile the report, thus eliminating a significant chunk of the manual labor associated with it. You can use BPM for end-to-end process automation that re-engineers the complex claims and approval processes and makes them more streamlined, thus making it easy to execute. In both cases, there’s a similar goal, but their area of influence is different. But what if there was a third way with a better outcome?
A powerful match: BPM and RPA
Putting BPM and RPA can be a powerful solution to implementing company-wide digital transformation and attaining the peak of operational efficiency. Here are a few gaps that are addressed and complemented by each other:
RPA is taught to follow a specific set of instructions i.e. a logic, but when it comes to managing data, exceptions are bound to arise. A bot is often lost when it comes to handling a case that it ‘doesn’t know’. This is better handled by a BPM system, that can have a process in place to handle exceptions and allow the process to move forward.
Process completion time:
With BPM you can define a flow and dictate how the process works, which brings about a considerable improvement in efficiency. But what if there was one task that was slowing down the entire chain of operations? What if that task could be handed over to a bot instead that can operate at a much faster rate? Infusing RPA into the process can thus reduce the time taken for completion considerably.
Approvals and handoffs:
Imagine an RPA approval process that feeds on data, breaks it down and uses pre-defined logic to arrive upon a decision. Can you rely on the decision made by a bot that had zero human intervention? This is where you need BPM because there are some aspects of a business that will always have the need for human decision making. A combination of BPM and RPA would result in a defined approval process, with some decisions being automated, and the critical ones passed on to a human for approval.
So, here’s the third way we were referring to. Applying the combination of BPM and RPA to the property insurance claims example, you end up with a more refined, structured and efficient process of collating data, processing it and finally providing the necessary approvals with BPM. Here, you also bring in RPA to take away a significant proportion of manual involvement. RPA could be used to pull up customer data, or even be involved in smaller decisions along the way, which can bring about an overall improvement in the process.
BPM and RPA have powerful capabilities in their own right, but when put together, their capabilities are multiplied manifold. Both BPM and RPA tackle automation from different angles and their combination ensures that the process is well-orchestrated and automated from start to finish. Vuram can help you explore the combined promise of BPM and RPA to bring about process transformation and automation.