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Intelligent Automation vs. RPA: What’s the Difference?

Jason Dzamba by Jason Dzamba - January 28, 2022

It’s vital to understand intelligent automation vs. RPA. Businesses rely on automation to improve efficiency and processes in today’s market. It’s not a question of if your enterprise should automate but how it should do it.   

Tools like Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and intelligent automation (IA) help organizations improve customer satisfaction and employee morale. Implementing digital transformation tools comes with its own challenges. Understanding the technology and its impact on your organization is key to doing it correctly.  

Although RPA and intelligent automation are related, they are distinct. We’ll cover these differences and provide some examples to highlight them in this article.  

Distinguishing Between Intelligent Automation vs. RPA 

Despite their similar names, intelligent automation and RPA serve distinct functions. RPA can be used to automate tasks that are repetitive and predictable. Processes with clear business rules and minimal deviation are best suited for RPA.   

Some examples are customer services reps manually looking up data from multiple databases. RPA can help automate logging into various systems and retrieving data with the click of a bottom.  

Related read: Which Processes Can Be Automated Using RPA: Top Use Cases 

Intelligent automation can include RPA as part of its functionality but adds other tools to complete higher-functioning activities by replicating human intellect with the help of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and intelligent document processing.   

Intelligence automation expands the functionality of RPA with bots capable of real-time learning and adaptation rather than adhering to strict inputs and outputs.  

When comparing RPA to Intelligent Automation, there are numerous significant differences. In a nutshell, RPA programs automate repetitive, rule-based processes. In contrast, intelligent automation is a suite of tools to automate a broader range of workflows.   

When deciding between RPA or intelligent automation, remember that both serve the same purpose of improving their overall operational efficiency by streamlining routine and sophisticated processes.  

Most organizations starting with digital transformation will get up and running with RPA before adding more complex automations using IA. Platforms like OpenBots make it easy for businesses of all sizes to start automating without paying for bot automations. 

Create Your First Bot Automation for Free 

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What Is Intelligent Automation? 

Intelligent automation is a catch-all term for various technological tools, which include artificial intelligence, RPA, and machine learning.  

It aims to reduce errors and speed up operations by mimicking human thought and decision-making. As its ability to replicate more complex cognitive abilities and higher-level skills increases, so does its “intelligence.”  

Machine learning algorithms used in intelligent automation, for example, require enormous data sets to become more accurate. The more data available, the better. 

Watch video: Intelligent Automation vs RPA with CEO & Founder Vinay Reddy  

Companies with access to consistent and large volumes of data can benefit from intelligent automation capabilities. By analyzing the information over time, IA tools like machine learning will recognize new patterns and organize the data based on what it learns over time.  

Intelligent automation creates opportunities to optimize business processes with real-time analytics. Over time, the procedures get simplified with less manual intervention. 

What Is RPA?  

Robotic Process Automation is a term used to describe bot automations or digital workers who execute routine business tasks that a human typically handles.   

Bots can be programmed to access web pages and programs, type in keystrokes, navigate through systems, recognize, and retrieve data in the same way a person would, but with better speed and accuracy.   

RPA is used in various industries, including healthcare, mortgage, banking, and the financial sector, to name a few. Companies that get the most value from RPA define their business tasks before automating by following a discovery process.   

In contrast to intelligent automation, RPA implementation is rules-based and doesn’t deviate from pre-defined input. It works well with processes that follow a set of rules and have distinct steps such as emailing notifications, sending receipts, and processing invoices. 

The tasks used for RPA should be high-volume and repetitive and leave no room for interpretation. 

Getting Started With RPA and Intelligent Automation 

The impact of RPA and intelligent automation on customers and employees is profound—better service that promotes brand loyalty and improved workflows with less burnout.  

Organizations should embrace digital transformation technology to improve their operations and experience within their company. The Great Resignation has taught us that employees won’t stick with organizations apathetic to creating a stellar working environment. 

Employees want to contribute and make a difference in their roles, not feel like robots. Ironically, digital transformation technology like RPA brings “thinking work” back into the workplace. By removing the tedious tasks that interrupt workflows, employees can focus more on delivering value and less on keystrokes.  

OpenBots is an intelligent automation platform with anti-licensing. Our suite of tools lets you build unlimited bot automations with unlimited users without being charged per automation. Are you ready to start your automation journey? 

Create Your First Bot Automation for Free 

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Jason Dzamba

About Jason Dzamba

A productivity strategist and host of Inside the Bot Podcast, Jason uses a process-driven approach called Day Design to help leaders optimize their actions and achieve their most important goals. His creative outlet is painting abstract art and producing music. He lives in Miami, Florida, with his three kids.

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