What is the difference between automation and robotization?

Mateusz Tajak

Traditional automation and robotic process automation are very different things, and some business owners out there may not know when it is appropriate to implement either of them. The truth is, both of these forms of automation can be extremely beneficial to a business-- but they are, fundamentally, very different when it comes to design, operation, implementation, and success.

In this guide, we’ll explore what automation and robotic process automation are, their key differences and similarities, and some examples of how both work within a business to perform tasks more efficiently.

What is Automation?

Automation is the process of using physical machines, computer software, and other technologies to perform tasks that are usually done by humans. Basically, traditional automation is the process of performing a repetitive task without human intervention, all by using physical machines, computer software, and other technologies. You’ll find traditional automation in a ton of product workflows in different businesses, and it can be very simple or very complex depending on the need. Traditional automation will typically involve application integration, specifically at a database level or at the infrastructure level. Automation software can take quite some time to implement, up to months.

To paint a better picture of how automation works, let’s look at an example. Let’s say you run a startup that produces an application for businesses. Because of the nature of your product, you need customer support to be available around the clock. This isn’t feasible, however, because your business does not have that kind of funding. This is where automation comes in via chatbots. Chatbot software can be integrated into one’s website and mimic real human beings, all while accessing your platform’s knowledge base to provide answers to customer questions.

The Benefits of Using Automation

There are many benefits to using automation, including:

  • Improved reliability in terms of ensuring that each task is performed exactly the same way.
  • Consistency with your clientele. For example: You can automate your follow-up process after a customer engages with customer support, ensuring that they know the business cares about them.
  • Time saved by rerouting manual, tedious tasks.
  • Improved metric visibility.
  • Improved operational efficiency.
  • Improved competitive advantage.
  • Money saved on accidents that were caused by human error, as well as overall reduced cost.
  • Significantly reduced turnaround times on projects.
  • Reduces the need for paper documents.
  • Improved employee time utilization.
  • Easier to define your business processes.
  • Make better projections for your business.
  • Open the door for more business opportunities by configuring and supporting assets that you couldn’t focus on with human-only resources.

What is Robotization?

Robotics is the process of designing, creating and using robots to perform a certain task. Robotization, which we can refer to as Robotic Process Automation (RPA), is an application governed by business logic with the aim of automating business processes. RPA tools can make it possible for businesses to configure software to robots in order to interpret applications for processing things like transactions, data, triggered responses, and general communication with other integrated systems.

There are many examples of robotization out there today. Common RPA scenarios can involve from simple automation response generation to an email, all the way to deploying a significant amount of bots that are programmed to automate jobs via an enterprise resource planning system. Commonly, you’ll see RPA used for call center operations, data migration and entry, forms processing, claims administration, onboarding employees, help desk services, sales process support, scheduling systems, and expense management,

Nora Schlesinger, COO of Growth Machine, noted the value of RPA in a writeup for Growth Machine. “When you do the same task over and over again, you risk leaving out information or even explaining something in a confusing way,” said Schlesinger, “Automating these kinds of tasks decreases the potential for human error.”

This is very true for both traditional automation and RPA, but RPA can take on this responsibility in a more independent, non-intrusive way.

The Benefits of Using RPA

There are many benefits to using RPA, including:

  • It’s non-intrusive, as many RPA bots stay at the front-end of the system without having to interact with the back-end.
  • It can work across multiple application types
  • RPA bots can take action fairly quickly, as it is designed to mimic agents.
  • Scalability is easily achieved.
  • System integration is simple.
  • Non-technical people can use RPA, as there is no code to learn.
  • Improved commercial outcomes.
  • Reduced costs and human-error operational risks.
  • Employee engagement is improved with significantly improved customer experience.
  • It’s flexible, simple, and fast to implement.
  • Most RPA tools provide analytics and insights into how tasks are being reported and organized.
  • Service becomes much faster when it comes to handling queries of users.
  • Governance arrangements are very well-defined.
  • New IT infrastructures is not required, as RPA tools do not need to be adopted in this way.

What is the Difference Between Automation and Robotization?

Traditional automation can takes months to properly implement, while RPA can be implemented very quickly. RPA also does not require application integration, and instead utilizes the graphical user interface (GUI) to perform its programmed tasks across various systems. Traditional automation integration can also take a very long time to complete.

RPA could also be considered a “quick fix.” Since it can be implemented in mere weeks, it’s a fast solution that traditional automation cannot provide. Just as well, RPA can also be used as a short-term solution while a traditional automation project is being implemented. However, traditional automation tools are rarely implemented as short-term solutions, as they take so long to implement.

RPA is also the superior choice when it comes to providing personalized engagements or tasks that are complex or difficult to execute across multiple applications. Because RPA can access multiple applications with ease, it’s ideal for this use case when compared to traditional automation.

How are Automation and Robotization Similar?

Today’s businesses want to make processes more efficient, allocate their workforce for decision-making and non-tedious tasks, and minimize errors and faults that typically come from people. RPA and traditional automation do all of this, although through different means. Traditional automation and RPA are similar in that they are both types of automation. Just as well, both are excellent tools to use to reduce overhead costs and to lessen operational risks.

Will RPA Cause the End of Traditional Automation?

In short-- not at all. You don’t need to use beefy technology if the technology you have now is good enough. Traditional automation works for many businesses, while others struggle with its integration and choose to opt for RPA.

“Automation is good, so long as you know exactly where to put the machine,” BM guru Eliyahu Goldratt once said.

If your business’s use of traditional automation is working, it may not be efficient or cost-effective to jump into using RPA. Just as well, you might not even have a use case for RPA either.

GGS is Delivering Automation and RPA Intelligence

GGS IT Consulting is proud to provide RPA services to our clients worldwide. We believe that RPA could drastically change how businesses automate tasks in a number of ways, and we want to provide that ability to take control of one’s business to our clients. Our talented team or professionals can help you delivery projects through RPA processes, planning, designing, scoping, developing, testing, and so much more. Get in touch with us today to learn more about how our RPA specialists and consultants can implement RPA into your business.