Decisions Blog

RPA and/or BPM?

RPA is all the rage at the moment and not a day goes by where I don’t hear that a prospective client is investigating RPA tools. I have to take my hat off to the RPA vendors for some clever marketing and pricing strategies. By calling (workflows) them robots or bots, it has brought to mind the idea of separate automated entities that tirelessly carry out their one task. This has allowed them to price these separately, which can add up quickly when used to augment work by individual workers.

But when you really step back and look at this, what do RPA robots really accomplish? RPA is most useful when automating the control of a graphical user interface when the application does not offer an API. This is the sweet spot of RPA and where it’s most useful.

In contrast, BPM is most useful when controlling processes that do contain an API and those that contain a human in the loop. BPM tools, like Decisions, excel at doing complex business logic between applications and involving end users when necessary to get work done.

As you can see, these are actually complementary technologies. BPM is very good at orchestrating events, integrating with API’s and involving end users. RPA can handle those use cases where there is no API and only a GUI to interact with.

Having talked with a number of technical clients who are investigating RPA, it’s clear that by orchestrating RPA robots using BPM – you can enjoy the best of both worlds. It’s always best to integrate directly when API’s are available, but when they aren’t it’s ideal to orchestrate the work of an RPA robot using BPM as the organizing framework.

If you’d like to discuss your specific use case or simply talk about RPA and BPM, please reach out to We love talking technology!