In an economic age where your business needs to work smarter and more efficient, you might be thinking of either transforming or starting to implement a digital transformation strategy to take operations to the next level. There are so many buzzwords and tools out there that have a lot of potential to bring in a lot of ROI for the business, however at the hierarchy of any digital transformation is the idea of automation. A critical part of implementing automation tools is knowing the difference between them and how they can benefit operations.

Robotic process automation (RPA) tools and low-code solutions might sound like similar things- and they are at their core, but it’s important to know the differences and how using both can create a powerhouse digital transformation for your business.

Defining low-code

So what is low-code? Low-code application platforms offer full IT applications across various platforms with the ability to build databases, change management, and deployment capabilities- and doing so in lightning speed. The time and cost savings really are hard to argue with a low-code platform. Because of the speediness, prototypes can be developed and because manual coding is reduced, there’s less room for human error. Gartner is predicting that three quarters of organizations will have at least four low-code solutions in their portfolio by 2024- that’s huge! There’s no doubt that low-code platforms are shaking up the industry and for many beneficial reasons.

Microsoft PowerApps is a leading example of a low-code platform. PowerApps is a highly productive, low-code platform that will allow users to build comprehensive web and mobile applications with low-code capabilities, but also offering more advanced application development for more professional developers. So why does this matter? It matters a lot – especially when there is a shortage in skilled coders. To speed up the process in application development, you might have a team that combines citizen and more professional developers in such a competitive market. A platform like PowerApps offers the following benefits:

  • Provides one platform for business, productivity, and standalone apps.
  • Develop at scale without having to risk quality, security or control.
  • Offers cloud services and integration
  • Reduces overall development time
  • Provides an analysis tool that identifies potential stability and performance risks

Is your development team constantly facing a backlog of tasks due to very sophisticated programming? Low-code may be your saving grace.

Defining RPA

So in contrast, what is RPA? RPA software is not actually part of an organization’s infrastructure- it identifies what that current infrastructure is and has the ability to capture and learn actions of certain processes in those existing applications. Once the RPA tool has gone through that setup phase, it then has the power to manipulate the data, trigger responses, start new actions, and connect with other systems within the organization autonomously. The best applications for an RPA tool are repetitive tasks such as accounting tasks for budgeting or payroll, providing improved customer service by setting up an automated message center or handling claims. RPA tools definitely play a very advantageous role in supply chain management. There are many vendors that offer RPA tools, but it’s important to look out for those with the following features:

  • Highly scalable with the ability to deploy software bots to desktops or virtual environments
  • Reliable – the RPA tool should have built-in monitoring and analytics to ensure reliability
  • Simple and fast – the tool shouldn’t be so complex that it alienates some people within the organization from using it, that will defeat its purpose and limit the tool’s use case within the organization’s operations.
  • Level of intelligence – The tool should be able to handle simple tasks and have the ability for advanced learning to improve the automated tasks.

According to Global Market Insights Inc, the RPA market is expected to reach $5 billion by 2024. There are three main goals organizations have in mind according to a Gartner report, top decision-makers implement RPA software for one or all of these reasons: to optimize operational efficiency, to increase an existing process, or to optimize costs.

Linking RPA and Low-Code Solutions

Now it’s easy to view RPA and Low-Code as the same, but they clearly have their differences, yet still have the core similarity of integrating applications together as previously outlined. The critical factor is to consider how involving both of these solutions can transform your digital transformation solution as a whole. You need to identify and understand the key differences between the two to apply them correctly. Low-code can build entire databases and deliver applications to IT, RPA tools take on tasks at the “human” level, meaning that RPA tools focus on mimicking repetitive, human interactions that can be automated.

Implement these tools correctly, and an organization can thrive, however if not enough implementation planning is scheduled, then be prepared to make some costly mistakes. It’s vital to make sure everyone on board is properly educated and trained to get the most out of these tools. RPA allows citizen developers to build UI scripts at rapid speed that ultimately emulates human workflows across multiple systems. If there’s a disconnect within the organization as to how this is working and if there are any changes within those processes, upgrades will be required.

With automation, it’s easy to just implement and forget, but the maintenance involved is exponential to get the most out of these tools. RPA and Low-Code are just two tools to deliver complete hyper-automation.

Both RPA and low-code can and should be part of your overall digital workforce to increase optimization and to take advantage of the ROI both of them bring to an organization. In order to have a powerful digital transformation strategy, stakeholders need to identify how these tools work together to provide a number of integrated solutions that are working together for the organization as a  whole. Many organizations are trending toward the idea of complete hyper-automation as they embark or continue on with their digital transformation strategy and RPA and low-code platforms are definitely part of that equation.

Exploring or Advancing RPA At Your Organization?

If you’re considering implementing or expanding RPA or low-code solutions at your organization, then Aptude can help. We’re available to help you clarify the options and simplify the steps forward by giving you experts who can build you a working solution that will save you time and money. The initial discussion call is free, so contact us to book a call today.
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