In the midst of increasingly fierce competition, companies are striving for greater efficiency by optimizing and ideally automating their workflows. Two technologies that can support this are workflow engines and Robotic Process Automation (RPA). Both approaches have the common goal of improving processes and automating recurring tasks. However, they differ in their approach and areas of application. But which approach is right for you in the digitization process?
Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
Efficient automation for repetitive tasks and legacy systems.
RPA is a technology that uses software robots, or so-called «bots» to automate repetitive, rule-based tasks by mimicking human interactions. It is particularly well-suited for automating activities that do not require complex integration between disparate systems and often involve interaction with older legacy systems.
In RPA, interaction with other applications is done through the user interface. Similar to a human user, RPA uses mouse clicks, keyboard input, and image recognition to complete required tasks.
RPA enables easy scalability by adding additional bots to enable rapid automation of a larger number of tasks. It is particularly effective for automating single, repetitive tasks or short processes. However, managing a large number of RPA bots can be challenging for more extensive or diverse processes.
Compared to a workflow engine, RPA typically requires less technical expertise. This allows users to create and configure bots without extensive programming. RPA is particularly well-suited to quickly automate existing manual processes. However, for larger processes, additional customization may require more effort.
A workflow engine is a software platform designed to model, orchestrate, manage and execute business processes. It automates the exchange of information and tasks between different applications and users. It is particularly suited for automating complex, repetitive, or collaborative business processes that require seamless collaboration between different applications and users.
With a workflow engine, interaction with applications takes place on a more abstract level. Data exchange between different applications happens via APIs, web services or alternative integration methods. These engines are specialized to accompany processes that require active human participation, including human input and decisions.
With a workflow engine, organizations can visually model processes to represent the flow of tasks and decisions.
The strength of workflow engines lies in their ability to handle complex processes and their adaptability to an organization's unique needs. This enables smooth integration of additional processes for automation.
Integration & Flexibility
Workflow engines are capable of smooth integration with various systems and applications to enable the exchange of data and information. They often feature greater flexibility, which facilitates process adjustments and enhancements once applications have been connected.
Workflow engines and RPA are different tools, each designed to address different areas of focus. Therefore, the choice of technology depends on an organization's specific needs. Workflow engines are particularly suited for modeling and managing complex business processes that require human interaction and decision making. In contrast, RPA is the ideal solution for automating repetitive tasks that would otherwise take a lot of time.
The two technologies are also often used in combination to create comprehensive automation solutions that cover both process modeling and task automation.
Choose the right automation solution now!
Learn more about workflow engines and RPA. Make the optimal choice for your automation needs.
Process automation aims to execute business processes automatically in order to achieve an increase in efficiency, productivity and quality. We've put together a guide for you that includes seven essential steps for successful process automation.