RPA vs AI: What is the Difference?



Reinvention and innovation are imperative to the success of any business, no matter how big or small. Cultivating a culture of continuous improvement will not only help you stay ahead of the curve but also better prepare your company for the future. One way to do this is by implementing new technologies that can streamline business processes and another way is to drive efficiency throughout your organization – especially those that assist in automating tasks with minimal human intervention. These two concepts may appear similar on the surface, but they’re actually quite different. In this blog post, we’ll dive into what RPA and AI are, how they compare, and which one is right for your business.

What is Robotic Process Automation (RPA)?

RPA is a type of software that automates tasks traditionally performed by humans. Where AI is a technology that learns, RPA is a technology that replaces. More specifically, an RPA solution allows you to create software robots that can execute business processes by reading, interpreting, and executing a series of manual tasks. In many cases, RPA software can replicate the actions of a human with speed and precision that would be impossible for a human to achieve. Generally speaking, RPA is software that emulates the actions of a human by reading a script and interpreting the data. RPA is the automation of manual tasks across different channels like websites, apps, emails, voice, and SMS and in the back office and front office, such as customer service, sales, marketing, finance, and HR.

RPA doesn’t require a big upfront investment because RPA can be implemented without changing existing business processes or applications. RPA can also be implemented without disrupting any of your employees’ workflows. The use of RPA can result in cost savings by reducing the number of employees needed to perform routine tasks.

RPA allows you to streamline non-value-added administrative work and focus your resources on more productive activities that drive revenue growth by improving employee productivity, reducing cycle times, and eliminating error-prone manual processes.

RPA is an effective way to streamline business processes and improve operational efficiency while allowing your human employees to focus on high value activities that drive revenue growth.

RPA software is built on three core pillars: 

  1. Capture – RPA software captures data from multiple sources which are then processed as per business logic 
  2. Process – Once data has been captured it will be processed according to business rules 
  3. Automation – Once the process has been executed the software will then complete any steps necessary for the completion or hand over control were required (to a human).

What is Artificial Intelligence (AI)?

AI is a technology that automates tasks traditionally performed by humans. Unlike RPA, however, AI is a technology that learns. That is, it continually gathers and analyzes data to improve its decision-making capabilities. Generally speaking, AI is software that interprets data and uses machine learning algorithms to continuously improve its decision-making capabilities. AI is the automation of manual tasks across different channels like websites, apps, emails, voice, and SMS.

AI is not only software but rather a set of technologies (machine learning, predictive analytics, natural language processing) that can be used to automate tasks. It enables business users to focus on high-value activities and drive revenue growth. A new study by IDC predicts that by 2025, the AI market will reach $36 billion, with an average annual growth rate of 55%.

How are RPA and AI Different?

One of the most common misconceptions about RPA and AI is that the two technologies are one and the same. While they both automate certain tasks and replace certain actions, they’re actually quite different. Here are a few differences between RPA and AI that will help you better understand how the two concepts differ from one another: 

                                    RPA     AI
RPA is linear: RPA software is designed to execute scripts in a linear fashion, meaning you’ll need to start at the beginning of the process and finish at the end before going on to the next step

AI, on the other hand, is nonlinear – it can jump around throughout the process depending on what it discovers along the way. In many cases, this is what allows AI to make better decisions than humans. 

RPA is limited to a sequence of programmed steps: Because RPA is linear, it’s limited to a sequence of programmed steps that are designed to run in a specific order.  AI, on the other hand, doesn’t have a set order and is able to jump around throughout the process as it learns what works best. 
RPA is bound to a specific set of data: It means it can only manipulate information as it’s programmed to do so AI is capable of interpreting a wide range of data and can continuously improve the more data it analyzes.
RPA is confined to a specific platform: It means it will only work on one type of software. AI is capable of being implemented in multiple platforms and can be used in any software that has AI capabilities. 
RPA requires a person to oversee the process: It means that if something goes wrong, there’s no way for the process to fix itself.  AI, on the other hand, doesn’t need a person overseeing it because it’s able to make decisions on its own based on what it learns throughout the process.
RPA requires an individual with programming skills: In order for an organization to use RPA effectively, they’ll need at least one individual with programming skills so they can ensure the software is working correctly and troubleshoot when necessary. AI doesn’t require this because it can troubleshoot itself based on what it has learned throughout its lifetime.

Why is RPA Important for Your Business?

RPA is important for businesses because it’s a technology that can help you save money. Not only does it allow organizations to improve their operational efficiency but also streamline their business processes by removing the need for human intervention. RPA is a cost-effective solution because organizations don’t need to hire and onboard new employees. RPA is also an automated solution that requires minimal maintenance and upkeep. Businesses that leverage RPA can expect to see savings of anywhere from 15-30% on their operating costs.

RPA is fast, efficient, and accurate technology that allows organizations to do more with less. RPA can be used in a variety of business scenarios ranging from back-office operations to customer experience projects. For example, companies can use RPA to automate their invoice processing or data entry tasks. Although these are typically manual processes, they are essential for organizations because they make up the backbone of their business.

With RPA, businesses can reduce the amount of time and resources required to complete mundane tasks so they can focus on higher-value activities like strategic thinking and improving customer experiences. For example, organizations can use RPA as a way to improve their internal operations by automating financial transactions like processing invoices or wire transfers or increasing employee productivity through automation in their call centers. 

When it comes to automation, the best approach is to start with RPA.

Once you’ve automated key business processes using RPA, you can then use those insights to identify areas of improvement and invest in AI. With RPA, you can begin to identify areas of improvement and begin to implement AI. You can automate a variety of manual tasks by using RPA, such as sending emails, retrieving data from an application, completing calculations, and more. By implementing RPA, you can efficiently scale and grow your business while improving your customer experience. 

Why is AI Important for Your Business?

AI is important for businesses because it allows them to engage with their customers in a more personalized and helpful way. AI can help businesses improve their customer experience by gathering and analyzing data, understanding customer behavior, and making personalized recommendations based on that data. AI is a useful technology because it allows businesses to scale their operations without having to hire more humans. This means they can handle more customers, provide better services, and increase their sales. It is a cost-effective solution because it requires less maintenance and upkeep than hiring a larger staff. It is also a scalable solution that allows organizations to grow as needed. AI is also expected to see an increased adoption over the next few years. This is due to the fact that AI is maturing and its costs are decreasing. Businesses that adopt AI early will be at an advantage because they can leverage the technology to improve their business processes, customer engagement, and overall competitiveness.

The following are the benefits of using AI:

  • The ability to identify patterns in data that would have been harder to detect with human eyes, using statistical models and machine learning algorithms
  • The ability to understand language by analyzing text in context
  • The ability to know when you have enough information without having all facts at hand
  • The ability to make informed decisions based on past data points without having all the facts

Conclusion: Which One Is Right for Your Business?

Now that you’ve been introduced to these two concepts, it’s time to decide which one is right for your business. When comparing RPA and AI, you’ll want to consider a few key factors to determine which one is best for your organization. These include the following: 

– The size of your organization: RPA is a great technology for small businesses that want to automate manual tasks and reduce their operating costs. On the other hand, AI is best suited for large organizations that want to scale and grow their business. 

– The type of business: RPA is ideal for businesses with a high volume of transactions such as call centers, financial institutions, and government agencies. On the other hand, AI is useful for companies that have large data sets and need help making sense of it all. 

– The scope of your project: RPA is best suited for simple, repetitive tasks that don’t require much creativity or intelligence. On the other hand, AI is designed for more complex projects that require creativity and intelligence. 

– The time frame of your project: RPA is best suited for short-term projects that don’t require any long-term planning. On the other hand, AI is best used for long-term projects that require a lot of planning and analysis. 

– The number of employees: RPA is ideal for small companies with a small workforce. On the other hand, AI is best for large companies with many employees. 

– The budget: RPA is affordable and affordable to start, but it does come with a high cost to maintain over time. On the other hand, AI comes at a higher cost initially, but you’ll be able to move on to more complex tasks in the future without having to worry about maintenance costs. 

– Your preference: If you’re looking for something simple and easy to use without all of the bells and whistles, RPA may be right for you! On the other hand, if you have more complex needs such as creativity or intelligence in your work process, then AI may be the better technology choice. 


In summary, while they can both help automate manual processes in your business and significantly reduce operating costs on an individual basis, they each have their own unique advantages and drawbacks depending on what you need from them. It’s important to understand which one would work best for your business before making a final decision so that you can make an informed decision about which one would suit your needs best!


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