What’s the difference between RPA and intelligent automation?

Robotic process automation (RPA) has been a major force for augmenting how we live and work since long before COVID-19, but there’s no denying that it made pacey advancement over this period – so much so, Forrester predicts the market will grow to $22 billion by 2025.

And with intelligent automation combining the benefits of RPA with artificial intelligence (AI) to accelerate digital transformation, the horizons of this technology continue to extend even further.

Nevertheless, there are still lots of people who don’t truly understand what either of these solutions entail, and are still hung on the overdramatic misconception that robots are here to steal our jobs.

Here, Rob Dawson, Principal Consultant at Robiquity, helps to iron out some of these creases, before delving deeper into further developments that have emerged in this realm…

While automation is powered by technology, it shouldn’t be viewed as a tech investment, it should actually be seen as an investment in people – empowering them to fulfil their core purpose.

Automation isn’t designed to reduce headcount and make humans obsolete in the workplace. Instead, it fuels growth, drives value, enables companies to do more with less, aids compliance, and maximises the gold dust of experience.

But this exciting world is changing further still.

Where RPA deals with the ‘dumb stuff’ – saving organisations time, money, and headaches – intelligent automation represents where the market is going. Such automation can ingest, interpret and think about data, therefore working smarter for businesses and enhancing the roles of people even further.

This is when things can get even more exciting.

For example, intelligent automation can…

1.Interpret data

This software is able to automate traditionally labour-intensive, ruled-based analysis without human intervention, with intelligence technologies including:

  • Structured data processing – This involves scrutinising information that has been processed into pre-defined, formatted repositories.
  • Natural language processing (NLP) – Software that enables a computer to understand, interpret and synthesise human language or speech.
  • Optical character recognition (OCR) – This automates data extraction from printed or written text from a scanned document or image file, before converting it into a machine-readable form that is both searchable and editable.

2. Build a brain

Using business logic processing – or the part of a programme that encodes custom rules and algorithms that determine how data can be created, stored, and changed – and machine learning technology, intelligent automation is able to build a database which can make informed decisions. Think of it as an ‘AI brain’.

Unlike generic-driven RPA tasks which require no ‘thinking’, intelligent consequently automation decides how and in what ways to automate different business processes, using simulated human intelligence and analysis.


If the first two elements bring the ‘intelligence’, this is where the robotic part comes into play.

Unattended ‘digital workforces’ and ‘assistants’ are built and managed to emulate, as well as automate, repeated human actions, taking the ‘grunt work’ out of repetitive, time consuming, low-value tasks.

And this isn’t all.

Automation is not only able to work three times faster than human processing, but it delivers 100% accuracy and infinite scalability, too.

This is where job security fears typically arise. However, repetitive tasks are often one of the biggest causes of job dissatisfaction and wasted time. Yet by integrating this state-of-the-art solution into your existing legacy systems, some businesses can save an average of 27,000 hours per year – leaving people more ‘headspace’ to be productive elsewhere.

Automation is a complex world, and the most forward-thinking organisations are rightfully jumping on the bandwagon. But just because conversation around RPA and intelligent automation is getting louder, it doesn’t mean it’s new.

At Robiquity, for example, we have 250 years’ combined experience in this field – that’s experience that allows our clients to reap maximum value from automation, as quickly as possible, and without paying excessive amounts in fees, lost time, and for underwhelming results.

Want to know more about automation? Get in touch with us to discuss your needs.

Posted By Vapour Comms Team

The A-Z of Workplace technology.

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