Organizations are increasingly looking at process automation as a major part of digital transformation. Robotic process automation and No Code platform development are both being used extensively for this task. But what are the differences between the two, and which one is suited for what kind of task? In this article, we explore these two technologies.
What Is Robotic Process Automation?
RPA is a form of business process automation that utilizes software robots. A software robot, or bot, can simulate human interactions with other software programs. Take, for example, simple tasks like copying and pasting data from one file to another, logging into an app, moving around files, etc.; all these simple tasks which humans do can be automated by bots.
RPA is often used as a tool to automate routine back-office tasks that don’t add much value but take up a lot of time. These tools can mimic human actions much faster and more accurately than an actual human, as long as the task is simple enough. The benefit of RPA is that it frees up time for humans to do more meaningful and strategic activities.
What is No Code?
In the context of business process automation, No Code offers much more powerful capabilities than RPA. While RPA tools focus only on automating repetitive jobs, low-code automation is capable of creating completely new process flows and has much more functionality and features than RPA.
What sets No Code application development apart from normal programming is that it is easy for even novice developers or non-technical staff to learn and use. It’s an easy-to-understand, drag-and-drop-based application-building tool that can deliver everything from simple tasks to end-to-end workflow automation.
Business users can visualize and define new process flows while the low-code platform codes the new flow in the background for them.
No Code vs. RPA: Key Differences
As mentioned earlier, RPA looks at automating mundane tasks which require a lot of effort but do not need much thinking. These are often “if → then” kinds of tasks where a trigger activates an action.
For example, in many workplaces, there are batch data uploads that happen during the night, which require a user to copy and paste data from folder A to folder B intermittently. Such tasks are perfect for robotic process automation. Another good example is data scraping.
Sometimes the purpose of RPA is just a temporary fix or patch on poorly integrated or broken application links.
No Code is much more powerful. For example, in the above example of batch data uploads, the real-time data upload is always a more elegant option.
With No Code, an organization can completely change the process of data flow itself. A No Code program can be built that continuously uploads data in the backend to the server without the need for an end-of-the-day data reconciliation.
But this is only a simple example: there is much more that can be done. No Code uses the power of APIs to integrate with legacy applications, provides tremendous flexibility in visualizing and creating process flows based on business logic, and can be used for practically building almost any application that the business needs.
One of the most important benefits of RPA is that it is easy to use. It’s incredibly efficient at what it does, which is to automate tedious tasks that do not require too much logic or thinking. Moreover, RPA is very cost-efficient, quick to set up, and quite scalable if several functions need similar process automation.
Lastly, RPA is very quick. It is one of the easiest and fastest ways to bring in productivity gains and captures the low-hanging fruits very smoothly.
No Code is a more comprehensive solution that addresses not just process automation but other aspects of business application development. One of the biggest advantages of No Code in BPA is flexibility – it is not limited to solving simple, repetitive tasks but can take on much larger process challenges and smoothen them out very efficiently.
Moreover, Low cow has several advantages from a long-term perspective – it reduces the need for hiring and training huge IT teams, improves IT productivity, and helps make business applications more robust and scalable.
Moreover, No Code uses powerful APIs and tools to integrate with existing business applications and make them more powerful. It provides the full suite of business application development, but it does so through a simple, easy-to-use interface that lets even business users create their own designs.
One of the key drawbacks of RPA is that they are quite mindless solutions without much possibility of rewiring or re-coding. Even a minor change in the interface of the bot would render it completely broken, with no way to fix it, at least at the business end.
Moreover, RPAs require constant management and can often be liable to bugs as well as security lapses. They can be quite complex to set up and work in only very limited scenarios. It can often become difficult to figure out the exact problem that the bot needs to solve and whether a bot is needed at all or whether a simple process tweak can fix it.
No Code is much more programmable and flexible. These solutions can be tailored to the exact requirement of the business application needed and can also be tweaked later on to reflect minor changes in the process flow or interface.
However, despite the easy interface, application building on No Code requires at least some level of upskilling for a novice user or a non-technical person. Moreover, low-code applications run on a vendor platform and are, therefore, subject to a higher security risk.
Lastly, low-code platforms are almost always cloud-based, which may not always be a good thing, especially for processes that the business may not want to expose to the cloud.
Can RPA and No Code Work Together?
RPA is intended for solving small process tweaks but not for overhauling processes or making them smoother. For example, an RPA would likely not be able to handle interfacing with a legacy system to connect it with a cloud-based user interface.
No Code is much more powerful and can build those interconnections between systems while also utilizing RPA automation.
Take the example of an ordering system in a company that requires flagging every order with a certain amount or higher to be marked for a certain percentage discount. This is clearly a very simple task, and a bot can quickly and efficiently do this internally with very little hassle.
But a low-code solution can take this activity much further. It can integrate with a legacy ordering system, connect it with a cloud-based app, and display a cheerful congratulatory message to every customer who receives the said discount.
RPA is a solution meant for automating simple tasks to make processes efficient, whereas No Code is a much more powerful solution that can help revamp the entire business process. Both technologies have their own usage scenario, and most importantly, businesses can and should look to combine both of them to get the most benefit.