What is the Difference between AI and RPA?

The advancing world we live in requires the use of advanced and modern technologies. AI and RPA are among the top solutions in the business environment. They both aim to achieve high optimization and efficiency. In fact, RPA and AI do have a lot in common – they both share the goal of increased customer satisfaction and reduced operational costs. However, based on the processes that need automation, AI and RPA have different applications and advantages. Then, what do these complementary technologies have to offer and how are they best deployed?

RPA: The Basics and The Details

The use of software “robots” (i.e., computer software that delivers automated activities on the base of digital systems) to standardize and automate pretty stable repetitive business processes is termed as Robotic Process Automation (RPA). RPA solutions are designed to perform repeated workflows and tasks like:

• copying and pasting data;

• web data scraping; data extraction from structured forms and documents;

• logging into applications;

• dealing with emails and reading files.

This means that they are programmed to execute tasks from previously given instructions. They do not improvise or suggest solutions based on the task they are performing. RPA robots are more like virtual assistants, allowing you to offload repetitive activities that take up important staff time. Robots, unlike humans, never become bored since they do things exactly as told and with the highest level of efficiency. In addition, the time-consuming tasks can easily be quickened 5-10 times with the use of RPA.

RPA application can be seen in financial and accounting institutions but also many other industries. Invoice Processing, for example, is one of the most time-consuming procedures in Accounts Payable. Invoices come through various channels, then you need to match them to purchase orders, and often need senior people to approve for payment. Organizations can use RPA to establish rules that automatically submit invoices to the right person for approval, while associates focus on the outliers. In many other industries, companies can develop and deploy RPA robots pretty easily for about 2 months of projects to bring value and increase efficiency by up to 50%.

What Comes as a Result?

Robotic Process Automation holds the following advantages:

•           Increase accuracy as human errors is minimized;

•           Better compliance – it helps create audit trails and adhere to all regulatory requirements;

•           Time is reduced without harming efficiency;

•           Robots can work round-the-clock which minimizes delays;

•           Employees are more motivated as they are freed from repetitive tasks and can focus on productivity, not processing.

AI: What is AI and how does it Differ from RPA?

The simulation of human intelligence processes by computer systems, or “machines,” is known as Artificial Intelligence (AI). Learning (acquiring information and contextual norms for applying it), reasoning (using context and rules to draw conclusions), and self-correction are examples of the processes performed by AI. AI operates on the core principle of learning from successes and failures. AI includes the technologies of ML (Machine Learning) and NLP (Natural Language Processing) for :

• image identification,

• machine vision,

• speech recognition, natural language processing

• comprehensive chatbots conversations,

• sentiment analysis

• understanding of documents and handling semi-structured or unstructured data

In comparison to RPA (process-driven) where it assists workers by automating repetitive tasks on pre-defined rules and decisions, AI is considered a data-driven technology. It can replace human labour and automate end-to-end operations. That includes human-like conversations and automated decision-making processes. The power of AI can be treated as almost limitless. AI uses unstructured inputs and develops its own reasoning, whereas RPA uses organized inputs and logic.

The complexity of AI implementations is much bigger than the RPA process automation. It depends on the good quality of data and a much longer period of building the logic and algorithms.

What Comes as a Result?

The advantages of AI like RPA bring power to the business to boost its performance with lower or no human efforts. However, on top of the RPA capabilities, AI technologies do offer self-learning and cognitive capabilities. Also, hypothesis generation, decision-making without human involvement. What is meant by that is AI could simply consider possible outcomes and alternatives to choose the best solution. Therefore, AI solutions are suitable for more complex tasks in order not just to optimize efficiency and speed but to solve areas that require more human-like activities, thinking, and decisions.

While RPA is fully dependent on humans’ previously assigned norms and characteristics, AI decides and acts on previous mistakes and experiences. Thus, it carries some disadvantages:

•           Bad data makes and AI implementation a significant challenge

• High cost of development and implementation;

•           In some cases, it might increase the risk of unemployment;

•           Although it calculates and performs the best alternative, it lacks creativity;

•           It is unpredictable – mainly because it does not operate on previously assigned instructions;

• Needs very specific and highly experienced development resources.

In conclusion, more cognitive capabilities are required as firms try to automate more complicated business processes using data from unstructured sources (such as scanned documents, emails, letters, and natural voice). Organizations may operate not only quicker, but smarter by implementing either RPA or AI to achieve higher efficiency, cost reduction, and customer satisfaction goals. It is essential to note that RPA solutions can be a better option than AI as they are way more affordable. Nevertheless, many businesses require both RPA and AI to fully automate processes from end to end, since they have both structured (e.g., form fields) and unstructured data (e.g., free text, natural voice).

If you are a business owner and you are looking to automate your business processes, contact DigiTech Consult for a consultation to determine what should be automated and how. Our specialist can support you in both RPA and AI (Chatbots) solutions implementation and adoption.


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