Business Process Automation Basics: The Differences Between BPM, BPA, and RPA

BPA, BPM, and RPA are more than just trendy acronyms, we promise. Business process management (BPM), business process automation (BPA), and robotic process automation (RPA) are the methods today’s businesses are seeking out to eliminate bottlenecks and become more efficient across their business.

Each acronym refers to how organizations improve their processes  – leveraging the latest technology to reduce the time we spend on everyday, repetitive work. They all refer to slightly different parts of a broader discipline that aims to make everyday business tasks as efficient as possible.

Here’s the difference between each type of process tool – and how they might be used in your organization.

Business process automation

Business process automation (BPA) refers to any method that businesses use to streamline business processes through automation. BPA tools can take many different forms, but all aim to achieve gains in productivity, agility, efficiency, and compliance in the day-to-day tasks of businesses.

Every company executes a series of processes to get their work done. Automating these processes allows for these processes to run smoother.

Common examples of processes that benefit from BPA include:

  • Onboarding
  • Contract management
  • Vacation requests
  • Project reviews
  • HR requests
  • Expense filing
  • New equipment requests

BPA uses automation to reduce the number of individual tasks within a process, and the time it takes to complete them. At Nintex, we commonly refer to efficient processes as streamlined workflows.

Automation also eliminates potential bottlenecks like data input mistakes, lost information, and delays by automatically exchanging information and delegating tasks.

Robotic process automation

Robotic process automation (RPA) is another method that organizations use to automate rote, repetitive business tasks. The main difference here is that RPA specifically uses the latest technology in robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) to achieve it.

An RPA software bot can be ‘trained’ using AI to do the small tasks that make up a process. For example, if you are collecting customer data from an Excel sheet and inputing hundreds or thousands of names, addresses, and phone numbers into your CMS, a bot can take over and quickly extract and input that data for you.

Business process management

Business process management (BPM) aims to get the maximum possible efficiency and value out of everyday business tasks. Unlike BPA and RPA, it doesn’t refer to a specific method, tactic, or tool – it describes a discipline that exists on a company-wide level and is applied to a wide range of procedures within an organization.

This involves seeking new ways to map and understand your processes by visualizing the steps, making improvements, and monitoring the success of these improved methods.

After mapping and improving how a process is run, there are multiple opportunities for automating certain tasks. With tools like Nintex Promapp®, it’s easy to visually map and manage your processes, then quickly automate tasks to further improve and streamline the process using Nintex Workflow.

How to combine BPA, BPM, and RPA into a cohesive strategy

Defining each of these three trending terms can be difficult since they all refer to different ways of achieving the same thing: better business processes and more value from your existing resources.

It’s important to embrace an all-encompassing strategy for improving business processes.

The larger the business, the more important this becomes. An organization with more employees naturally has more complex processes. Each additional stage can create bottlenecks and reduce the value that a worker can add in the course of their standard working day. BPM, BPA, and RPA are essential ways of reducing the time that large-scale processes can waste.

Nintex is the code-free workflow management and automation platform that tailors to your business needs. The Nintex Platform combines the best of these three technologies to make it easier for you and your team to improve the way you work. Nintex Promapp® is a powerful, yet simple to use BPM tool that helps you understand and map your processes before leveraging Nintex automation capabilities to automate the process.

So the question is, are your processes running the way they should?

 

Contact us today to discover how we can help your organization optimize its most important business processes.

 

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