Evgeny Belenky - PeerSpot reviewer
Director of Community at PeerSpot (formerly IT Central Station)
  • 11
  • 207

RPA vs BPM: do they complement each other?

Hi community,

Do you think Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Business Process Management (BPM) are complementary categories?  What is the relation between the two of them?

Or, possibly, in a long run, RPA is going to dominate and replace BPM? 

Share your thoughts!


PeerSpot user
12 Answers
Nancy_Sachdeva - PeerSpot reviewer
Process Automation Lead at a energy/utilities company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Jun 26, 2021

Both start with Process. 

I don’t think one will replace the other but BPM will achieve the next level of maturity with RPA. Traditional BPM started with just documentation and then it evolved to do more like monitoring, trigger actions, etc. Slowly it became the whole improvement system. 

Now with automation (which is not new and has been for ages, screen scraping has been there, automated testing on screen has been there ), it will just mature BPM further. Slowly vendors are also moving in the direction to offer anything and everything. From a tooling perspective, if you have one for BPM and another for RPA, you would try to integrate them one way or another. 

Logically also if you do not improve the process, automation will not give you much benefit but will just make an ineffective process or error included process just faster. 

For automation, you need the process to be understood or documented, again a pre-requisite served by BPM.

Search for a product comparison in Business Process Management (BPM)
Osvaldo Moderno - PeerSpot reviewer
Researcher at University of Sao Paulo
Real User
Top 10
Jun 24, 2021

Dear Evgeny,

Let's start by clarifying some important aspects of each subject. RPA is an enabling technology capable of automating many different business processes. Its main quality is having a very fast implementation, low cost and no need for programming skills to be used. 

BPM, in turn, is not a technology, it is a discipline and can be used in many different situations, even before the implementation of RPA. Always aiming to improve business processes before automating, whatever technology you choose. Never confuse BPM with BPMS. The last is a technology that can also automate processes. However, it takes a lot of programming skills to use and takes a long time to implement. Finally, RPA and BPMS should be compared, as both are technologies and the BPM discipline will be used in both cases to improve the process that will be automated.

That said, in my opinion, if you are comparing RPA and BPM, my answer is that they are complementary and always will be. However, if you compare RPA and BPMS, this comparison is almost non-existent. BPMS is no longer competitive due to the current market profile. Organizations are demanding fast, cost-effective solutions for business process automation and this is impacting the job market for roles such as developers. 

So, everyone is looking for ways to automate processes using their own employees and this is possible using low code / no code solutions, such as RPA for example.

VP at IoTXChangeSoftware
Jun 23, 2021

  1. Do they complement each other? I am not sure complement is the right word to use. However, I feel that the underlying logic and algorithms needed to achieve success in either area are basically the same.

  2. In the long run, is RPA going to dominate and replace BPM? This is hard to predict. I believe proponents of each are likely to continue to pursue their own business interests. Whichever develops the best underlying software infrastructure will probably prevail.

I am speaking from considerable experience. I worked for Computervision (CV) when it was the market leader in CAD/CAM. At some point, CV’s president declared the corporate product strategy to be Product Process Automation (PPA). At the time, I agreed with the general objectives but the PPA implementation details were vague. I, therefore, formulated specific plans for my target market. I called the result the Project Integration Management System (PIMS). While I knew there was considerable synergy with PPA, my attempts at collaboration failed.

The aftermath: CV was acquired by Prime 5 years later, which was then acquired by PTC after 10 more years. A similar evolution may occur with businesses pursuing RPA and BPA.

    Real User
    Jun 22, 2021

    Sometimes a bad process is just that and technology has little to do with it.  

    By approaching process redesign with a variety of tools you can bring to bear, not just RPA, you ensure the optimal solution. Sometimes it can be inherent application functionality, etc. that solves it. 

    So, I would say it is complementary as one of the solutions that can be used in optimizing a business process.

    KevinO'Rourke - PeerSpot reviewer
    President at CloseReach Ltd.
    Top 5
    Jun 18, 2021

    Definitely complimentary.  BPM is all about process improvement, organizational collaboration and implementing organizational change. 

    RPA Automation of a bad process does not make it a better process - just means that you are doing things poorly faster and with perhaps less oversight ;) ... RPA has existed for a long time (i.e. credit management) - does not mean that the need for business process management has gone away.

    Arpit Agarwal - PeerSpot reviewer
    Enterprise API Architect at Al-Futtaim Group
    Real User
    Top 5
    Aug 3, 2021

    In my POV, it's not only about RPA and BPM complementing each other. 

    I would rather see this in a much broader context. All these integration technologies like BPM, RPA, ESB, iPaaS, APIM, MFT, etc. complement each other. They are all about creating Hyper Automation Integration Toolset in your organization where all of the above technologies play their roles.

    I don't think any of the above are going to dominate each other rather they will be needed to cover different use cases, which may be a part of the organization's broader integration strategy.

    Learn what your peers think about IBM BPM. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: November 2022.
    657,849 professionals have used our research since 2012.
    Neil Simpson - PeerSpot reviewer
    Founder/Principal at InnoVelocity
    Top 5Leaderboard
    Jun 24, 2021

    From a marketing and mindshare perspective RPA is certainly 'dominant' currently, but in practice they are complementary technologies usually utilized to solve different problems. 

    BPM is typically used to improve the *movement* and *tracking* of work between many different humans and information systems, whereas RPA tends to be better at automating the repetitive manual work a *single work performer* would typically be doing on their desktop. 

    We commonly see BPM orchestrating long-running processes with many steps and participants and/or many concurrent requests to keep on top of - and some of those steps/participants can be automated with a robot if there isn't an API or automation already available.

    We actually did a 30min meetup on this topic recently with some further explanation and examples and posted it to YouTube. It seems I can't embed the video, but it can be found at innovelocity.com/presentations 

    Intelligent Information Management Lead at Ofimundo
    Jun 23, 2021

    BPM and RPA must be integrated.   The RPA approach is simple and direct, but you are touching the processes.

    Sherif Ibrahim - PeerSpot reviewer
    Presales Consultant at EBLA
    Real User
    Top 5
    Jun 22, 2021

    BPM and RPA are complementing each other. 

    For example, you may automate a process using BPM and at some point, you need to integrate with some legacy applications which could easily be achieved by RPA. 

    KevinO'Rourke - PeerSpot reviewer
    President at CloseReach Ltd.
    Top 5
    Jun 18, 2021

    RPA is only part of the organization's automation activities. Cannot exist in isolation and needs to be incorporated into service improvement activities and overall organization strategy.

    L'GHOUL Youcef - PeerSpot reviewer
    Digital Solution Engineer at a tech services company with 1-10 employees
    Real User
    Top 5
    Aug 9, 2021

    Hi @Nancy_Sachdeva

    I've been using both technologies. In my opinion, they are complementary. Why? 

    In your way to automate a workflow, there are some standard tasks that don't really need a human brain so you integrate with RPA and let the bot do the job. In this case, you'll have a DPA (digital process automation) (BMP+RPA). 

    Evgeny Belenky - PeerSpot reviewer
    Director of Community at PeerSpot (formerly IT Central Station)
    Community Manager
    Jun 16, 2021

    Hello @Venkateswarlu Paturu ​, @Biswajit Mohanty ​, @Okay Akdeniz ​, @HimanshuTejwani ​, @Julio Falcón ​and @Uday Shankar Tummala. Can you please share your professional opinion?

    Thank you.

    Related Questions
    Linda NamayanjaPMP,CBPA,ITIL - PeerSpot reviewer
    Supervisor Business Analysis-Process Management at a government with 1,001-5,000 employees
    Aug 23, 2022
    Hello community members, At the moment, I'm tasked to develop the enterprise architecture of the organization and I have a couple of questions below: What capability models/mapping (business architecture) do you know/exist and how do they eventually connect to the application, data, and infrastructure architecture?  What tools and/or templates can I use? Thanks in advance for your help!
    2 out of 4 answers
    Shibu Babuchandran - PeerSpot reviewer
    Regional Manager/ Service Delivery Manager at ASPL INFO Services
    Aug 20, 2022
    Hi @Linda NamayanjaPMP,CBPA,ITIL ​, Choosing the right EAM tools involves various steps that are aimed to ensure smooth integration and maximum benefits. Some points collected with the help of my peers may be of help to you. Understanding the benefits of EAM tools: Through advanced and integrated features, EAM tools help you to uncover and avoid unmanaged IT applications that would otherwise increase your cloud spend and create potential security risks for sensitive data. Once you understand the benefits that modern EAM tools have to offer, you can focus on finding the right solution for you and your EA strategy. Choosing an EAM tool based on your EA program: When opting for an EAM tool, make sure that it helps you achieve your business and IT goals. These could be application portfolio management, technology risk management, post-merger IT integration, or an overall business transformation. Assessing needs of stakeholders: Since you don't want to create another IT silo, you should ask yourself what informational needs each stakeholder has and how EA can bridge knowledge gaps. Ideally, the tool will foster cross-department collaboration and optimize workflows. Stakeholders should be able to access data and drive their own analysis. On top of that, QA mechanisms will improve overall data quality. Reviewing the data model of prospective EAM tools: Make sure to evaluate the data model of your prospective EAM tools. You should be able to align it with your current terminology and attributes and assign authorization roles with ease. Measuring the onboarding process against goals: Once you have settled on an EAM solution that fulfills your current and foreseeable future needs, you can start with the onboarding process. It’s important to set initial goals and keep measuring the process as you go. From data mapping, imports, workspace reviews, and success KPIs – ideally, the tools allow you to use the desired form of measuring your onboarding success and keep track of the work in progress. Some products suggested by my peers are below BiZZdesign Enterprise Studio Avolution Abacus Software AG Alfabet Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect Hope the above will help you choose the right solution for your requirement.
    @Linda NamayanjaPMP,CBPA,ITIL, ​ check this out: https://resources.bizzdesign.c...
    User at avin
    Aug 18, 2022
    Hi colleagues, We're looking for BPM/BPD/etc. software that can connect the top layer of Enterprise Architecture (EA) to our processes.  Do you have any recommendations? Is it achievable? Thanks
    2 out of 5 answers
    Andrew-Lim - PeerSpot reviewer
    Managing Director at Optus
    Aug 4, 2022
    @Zooo Sasasa ​ Signavio, ARIS, and GBTEC have ArchiMate modules for modeling Enterprise Architecture (EA) and are great potential candidates.
    IanRamsay - PeerSpot reviewer
    Director Business Consulting at Cognizant
    Aug 8, 2022
    I think you may need to be a bit more explicit as too “what” is the “top layer” and “how” do you wish to “connect” and “why”. Anything is possible from a modelling point of view, less so if you plan to generate the processes from the architecture.  Just about every relationship between architectural components is a “many-to-many” relationship, so things can get quite complex quite quickly.
    Related Articles
    Evgeny Belenky - PeerSpot reviewer
    Director of Community at PeerSpot (formerly IT Central Station)
    Aug 17, 2022
    Hi dear community members, In this edition of PeerSpot's Community Spotlight, you can find out what your peers are discussing and join in the conversation. Ask and answer questions on the topics that interest you most! Read and respond to articles or contribute your own! Trending These are the topics your peers are talking about on PeerSpot this week How do I estimate the requir...
    See 1 comment
    Evgeny Belenky - PeerSpot reviewer
    Director of Community at PeerSpot (formerly IT Central Station)
    Aug 17, 2022
    Thank you to all the community members who share their knowledge with other peers! Also, special thanks to the articles' contributors included in this Community Spotlight: @Janet Staver, @Abhirup Sarkar, @Manoj Narayanan, @Beth Safire and @Shibu Babuchandran.
    Evgeny Belenky - PeerSpot reviewer
    Director of Community at PeerSpot (formerly IT Central Station)
    Jul 18, 2022
    Dear PeerSpot community members, Welcome to the latest PeerSpot Community Spotlight, where we sum up the most relevant recent postings by your peers in the community.  Check out the latest questions, articles and professional discussions contributed by PeerSpot community members!  Trending Here are some topics that your peers are discussing at the moment: What is your recomme...
    Related Articles
    Evgeny Belenky - PeerSpot reviewer
    Director of Community at PeerSpot (formerly IT Central Station)
    Aug 17, 2022
    Community Spotlight #20
    Hi dear community members, In this edition of PeerSpot's Community Spotlight, you can find out w...
    Evgeny Belenky - PeerSpot reviewer
    Director of Community at PeerSpot (formerly IT Central Station)
    Jul 18, 2022
    Community Spotlight #18
    Dear PeerSpot community members, Welcome to the latest PeerSpot Community Spotlight, where we su...
    Download Free Report
    Download our free IBM BPM Report and get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: November 2022.
    657,849 professionals have used our research since 2012.