Robotic Process Automation (RPA) vs. End-to-End Automation

There comes a time for every business to consider: What can be done to increase ROI while keeping up with the fast pace of a changing market and rising competition? The task is truly challenging. At that point, businesses start to look in the direction of automation. But how best to automate?

When looking for automation solutions, Robotic process automation (RPA) is often the first solution you find. Digging deeper, other options like end-to-end automation platforms are mentioned.

When you hear robotic process automation or RPA you imagine some small robots, doing work for you while you are drinking your coffee, right? It is just partially true. Here are the main differences between RPA and end-to-end automation easily explained. This guide will help you choose the system that meets the needs of your company best.

DevOps Engineers vs. Business People

One of the biggest advantages of RPA is the fact that practically any person with common sense and intermediate computer knowledge can start their first automation. This means that no highly qualified IT professionals need to be asked for help. End-to-end automation is complex and often requires coding knowledge.

Why then do so many companies still choose end-to-end automation? Here we come to the next big difference.

The Level of Complexity

What is the difference between a calculator and a cell-phone? The level of complexity of tasks that they can process. For some tasks a simple calculator can be the perfect choice. But if there is a step to the side, like to send a calculation to your colleague, it is stuck. A cell-phone can do it easily.

It is the same with automation: RPA tools can cope with limited degrees of complexity, while end-to-end tools can take care of and automate very complex systems and processes.

Change Management

The topic of changes should be considered from the very beginning. Changes can be of various types: you need to make a change in the process, or the process stays the same but you need to change or add one tool in the chain of tools. Sooner or later, this will happen. The pain of many RPA tools is that such a situation forces a rebuild of the entire process. The strength of an end-to-end automation platform is in its adaptability, it is built for quick and constant change.

Error Handling

Errors are also something that often happens with IT systems. How to handle them so that an error doesn’t break your automated process is very important.

In reviews of almost all RPA platforms there are multiple complaints about how inflexible and up to impossible it is to handle an error. End-to-end automation platforms on the other hand offer very flexible error handling. This is one of the core strengths of end-to-end automation.

Conclusions

Summarizing, RPA is a great solution for quickly automating simple tasks. If you are looking for a short-term solution to get some work out of the way, RPA is the right choice for you. End-to-end automation is an amazing solution for robust, long-term automation of processes – even if they start simple, they can grow more complex over time and can change with your needs. Considering the points from above, you will be able to make a well-thought-through decision.

Comparison Table

End-to-end automation

Robotic process automation

Code-based automation No-code automation
End user is technology-savvy, often a DevOps engineer or a system administrator End users are business users in administrative roles
Handle complexity, automate very complex processes and systems Defined limits of complexity
Changes in processes (e.g. tool change or update) require only minor adaptation of automation  Changes in processes (e.g. tool change or update) require rebuild of entire process