Low-Code Vs RPA - Which Is Best?
Employees spend 60 hours monthly–about three hours a day, per employee–on tasks that can be automated. Workflow automation helps you focus on organizational improvements and more revenue-generating efforts, transforming your business to best serve customer needs.
To thrive in a more digital world, work smarter, and replace manual, error-prone tasks with digital alternatives, businesses are increasingly investing in process automation. It automates, standardizes, and streamlines business processes, reducing costs, and improving operational productivity, plus efficiency.
There are many new tools and technologies, all with the potential to simplify processes, bring in ROI, and add value to your organization. But knowing the difference between the automation tools, use cases, and their benefit is vital to making the right choice.
While low-code development platforms and robotic process automation (RPA) may have similarities, they couldn't be more different. Since each has its benefits, capabilities, and use cases, identifying the differences between the two helps you determine why you should use low-code solution instead of RPA.
What is RPA (Robotic Process Automation)?
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is a form of automation that uses technology to automate manual, simple, repetitive business tasks. It's based on the concept of self-learning digital workers, or virtual robots (bots) that mimic human user interactions with software systems.
RPA’s goal is for bots to handle more manual work so human workers can focus on strategic, higher-value and more impactful tasks. There are diverse types of RPA technologies available, from programmed or intelligent bots, but most are used in back-office applications without much value.
With RPA, bots are programmed using a set of predefined rules and steps to perform repetitive actions like filling out documents, data entry or migration, copy and pasting information, or logging into apps. RPA can also extract content from emails, PDFs, or other documents, scrape and read data from websites or systems, migrate files and folders.
What is low-code?
Low-code is a visual approach to application development useful for automating tasks, complex workflows, and end-to-end processes. It uses an intuitive, simplified, graphical user interface with drag-and-drop elements that enables tech and non-tech professionals across business units to collaborate easily on process automation efforts. They can build databases, manage change, build and deploy apps at lightning speed and with less human error.
Low code platforms use pre-built templates that allow users with little coding knowledge or expertise to design and create custom IT solutions for their company. Businesses can flexibly implement modern digitalization quickly with drop down menus and seamless application workflows. Apps are drawn like a flowchart
Low code platforms reduce cost by minimizing the need for third party apps, contracting external firms, or hiring expensive developers to design and produce apps. They also cut down on the development time because a wider range of people can participate in application development, and develop prototypes, irrespective of their coding experience.
How does Low code differ from RPA?
Optimizes and speeds up application development.
Uses structured inputs and business logic to automate manual, repetitive processes.
Offers cloud-based services and integrations that help organizations scale without risking quality.
Requires significantly more time to identify and analyze which processes need to be automated.
Allows business users to build comprehensive applications.
Builds a system that mimics human actions with speed and predictability.
Promotes productivity and enables users to turn ideas into solutions.
Great for organizations running legacy applications looking to transform digital process flows.
Key advances in the low code market
Here are the key advances in low code market :
- Global revenue from low-code development will reach approximately $65 billion> by 2027, and it may get to $187 Billion by 2030.
- By 2025, organizations will build 70% of their applications with low-code or no-code platforms.
- Asia Pacific is the second-largest global consumer of low code platforms, with over 50% of companies implementing them.
- By 2024, 75% of large organizations will use at least four low-code/no-code development tools.
- Within 2-5 years, low-code platforms (citizen integrator tools) will reach mainstream use.
- By 2024, businesses will use low-code to develop over 65% of their applications.
- 26%of company leaders consider low code platforms their most critical automation investment.
- Large corporations will use low-code/no-code development platforms to produce 70% of their new applications and meet the market demand for app development.
- 450 million out of the 500 million apps Microsoft expects over the next five years, will be built on no-code/low-code platforms.
- By the end 2025, 50% of all new no-code/low-code clients will come from buyers outside IT
Limitations of robotic process automation
While RPA has some advantages, these limitations can be a deterrence for forward-looking organizations seeking to thrive in an increasingly digital world:
1. High maintenance
RPA requires regular management, maintenance and security, which adds on to the processes the IT department has to tackle. The more bots your organization deploys to automate processes, the more the likelihood of your IT department being overwhelmed. Since RPA requires integration into the corporate IT infrastructure, it adds a layer of architectural complexity, and IT overhead. IT personnel have to ensure your RPA bots are working optimally and simultaneously manage other IT processes.
2. Successive changes break processes
RPA is limited to individual tasks and cannot adapt to change. Software bots are trained to follow specific, straightforward actions, so even minor updates to the user interface or underlying systems can cause processes to fail, or return incorrect data. Any exceptions outside predefined procedures can confuse bots, make the automation process brittle, halt RPA processes and require complete re-tuning.
3. Move the focus away from strategic projects
RPA is a tactical, relatively easier way to gain swift process efficiency, but it may unintentionally divert attention away from more critical and strategic projects. It can also make you overlook digitalization opportunities or take you away from more valuable activities, such as replacing large legacy core systems or creating new systems for disruptive business processes.
4. Cannot interpret unstructured data
RPA is not a cognitive solution for interpreting unstructured data. It's more useful for rule-based processes with set criteria and structured, easy-to-access data entry with well-defined processes. It's best for data stored in a quality standardized format in columns and rows that conforms to a data model. Unfortunately, many business documents have unstructured data such as rich media, images, or text that require a higher level of intelligence.
The low-code edge over RPA
Low code is a practical development platform shaking up the industry. Its diverse benefits give it a definite edge over RPA:
Low code’s simplified development process and ready-to-use templates reduce the need for regular maintenance. It lets your business manage and track development processes across the organization from one central dashboard. It's a comprehensive, end-to-end solution that reduces the number of bugs, and streamlines the automation process, making it stress-free.
Low-code is an innovative and flexible tool that helps businesses scale easily. It allows organizations to fill the IT skills shortage gap with business users who build custom applications, helping the company quickly adapt to ever-changing market requirements and business conditions. It increases retention rates because non-tech users can meet customer needs and enhance customer experiences across all channels without waiting on IT developers.
Low code process automation is designed to simplify the exhaustive and time-consuming application development process. You can build and update applications faster and easier, to meet current requirements and changing organizational needs. The little coding knowledge and skills required to build apps, pre-built templates, and automated testing in low-code platforms increases organizational agility.
Low code offers an intuitive and highly visual graphical user interface that uses API connectors to integrate with third-party tools to quicken app development. The time and effort typically required to create enterprise-grade applications with low code are relatively less, whether you’re building apps, completely redesigning processes, or adding features. You’ll deliver apps in days or weeks instead of months.
Low-code platforms’ initial set-up, training, implementation, and maintenance cost less. Creating custom, fully functional apps and updating them requires little coding skills and takes little time, which saves you time and money. Also, low code has fewer staffing needs and doesn’t require specialized IT skills, so it greatly reduces the need for IT experts. IT developers can automate and refine processes to deliver projects faster, further saving money because fewer developers can handle key non-repetitive IT processes.
RPA or low-code solutions: which is better for my company?
RPA is a good fit for “one-off” initiatives and self-contained processes within one department. It’s a good tool for basic task automation and piloting business process automation projects. On the flip side, low-code development is ideal for more complex assignments that require data and coordination across multiple departments or input from employees. It's a sophisticated tool to promote cross-departmental collaboration and increase efficiency.
While your business situation and requirements determine which is better for your company between RPA or low-code platforms, low code remains the standard for business automation. It's a comprehensive strategy that factors in your current and future needs, aligns with your goals, adds value to your business, and can help you outpace your competitors.
Low-code over RPA every time
RPA may be easier to implement, but it's slowly dying. Switching to Kissflow low-code moves you to a more sustainable and adaptive platform that increases business agility, integrates easily with remote solutions, and will help you innovate frequently. It's a cloud-driven solution to help you implement a better digital transformation strategy and meet changing business and customer needs.