RPA vs. Systems Integration (and API Integration)

While there are many similarities between robotic process automation and systems or application integration, there are some differences one must consider when approaching an implementation. We’ll compare Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and systems integration, the benefits of each, and when to use one of the other. We also discuss how API integrations play a part in both RPA and Systems Integration.

The ability to simplify and streamline processes plays a pivotal role in digital transformation. Also important is the ability to combine multiple technologies and platforms into one easy-to-use interface to enhance productivity in the workplace. With this in mind, you need to understand the major similarities, differences, and use cases between two of the technologies that aid in this endeavor – RPA vs. systems integration.

RPA vs. Systems Integration

RPA vs. Systems Integration – Compare and Contrast

First, let’s define what each solution is and what purpose it serves. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) technology is a form of software automation that exists for the primary purpose of automating rule-bases tasks, which relieves manual strain from the human workforce. With the solutions and intelligent enhancements to RPA today, automation bots are now capable of streamlining complex/end-to-end tasks that require judgement and deductive reasoning, and that exist among multiple platforms. Further, RPA solutions stretch to various industries and functions, such as accounting and finance, marketing and sales, and even supply chain.

Systems integration solutions (which is sometimes referred to as applications integration) are similar in that they serve the purpose of delivering optimal user interface to the workforce. By bringing together multiple technological sub-systems into one aggregate system, an overarching, more efficient functionality is achieved.

This is done through using a variety of techniques, such as computer networking, programming and enterprise application integration. Similar to RPA, business process management is also used, which is a practice organizations use to model, analyze, measure and ultimately automate certain business processes.

Through strategic RPA partnerships, as well as systems integration partnerships, our team of experts can assess your processes and integrate the right solution.

When to use RPA

Now that we know the high-level similarities and differences of these two entities, we need to understand when to leverage one solution or the other. In the big question of RPA vs. systems integration, here are some instances where an RPA implementation may be the more beneficial avenue:

  • The organization is less “tech savvy”

    For business users wishing to automate rule-based processes, enhance and simplify existing systems, and do so without a fear of loosing ROI, implementing RPA will likely be the more beneficial route. Though every organization needs to implement an RPA Center of Excellence, partnering with the right provider can ease the fear of undergoing a strenuous and lengthy “learning curve”.

  • The implementation is primarily automation-focused

    If your organization doesn’t want to entirely revolutionize existing platforms, and wants a more focused solution to automate an existing process(s), RPA is the right option. From more robust solutions like UiPath to simpler solutions like Microsoft Power Automate, there are a variety of options to choose from that fit your initiative.

  • Time is of the essence

    While it’s important to understand that RPA cannot and should not be used as a “band-aid” for already broken processes, implementations can be achieved quicker than complete system integration overhauls. Further, RPA implementations offer the ability to see ROI faster, and through a more practical lens.

When to use Systems Integration

If an organization’s system needs an end-to-end overhaul/evaluation, or the solution being offered needs to be more dynamic, systems integration might be your best option. Here are some instances where this might be the better avenue:

  • You’re wanting to bring multiple systems together

    While bringing multiple systems/applications together does involve some extent of business process management, the end goal isn’t always focused on automation. While this endeavor will likely take more time and require a larger up-front investment, a full systems integration solution would be more ideal. Automating processes through RPA after a systems integration is completed is also an ideal approach in this case.

  • Multiple products and services are present

    Organizational giants like Uber and Airbnb are two relevant examples of enterprises that achieved success through sophisticated integration capabilities. If your organization offers multiple products or solutions, managing these through one aggregate system will alleviate strain on your workforce, reduce human error, and offer a better user experience altogether.

  • Digital transformation is needed away from legacy applications

    Traditional integrations of your business may not be able to sustain your business in the future. As such, customers and partners will eventually require you to integrate with their systems of choice digitally. If you’re facing this milestone now, or foresee doing so in the future, it’s imperative that you accelerate systems integration capabilities to gain a competitive edge over competition.

How API Integrations play a part in both RPA and Systems Integration

API’s play a big role in both RPA and system integration by enabling data exchange and communication between different software applications and services that are used in the end-to-end business processes which are enabled by RPA or via systems integration. An API has the rules and protocols that allow developers to create connections and integrate systems. Use cases include extracting data from an application, triggering actions in One system based on certain events from another system, or accessing functionality from external services, APIs serve as the bridge that facilitates interoperability and automation.

Key advantages of API include:

  • Standardized communication
    APIs provide a standardized way for applications to communicate and exchange data, regardless of the underlying technologies or platforms.

  • Flexibility and scalability
    API offers flexibility and scalability, allowing organizations to adapt to changing business requirements and incorporate new functionalities without rebuilding their entire integration.

  • Security and governance
    Proper API management ensures security, compliance, and governance of data exchange processes. This helps with protecting sensitive information and preventing unauthorized access

RPA vs API integration

Does all this sound overwhelming? We can help!

Examining the big “RPA vs. Systems Integration” question can be daunting, and might make you consider how one of these options are even possible to achieve and understand how APIs play a part. However, you don’t have to go at it alone!

Smartbridge is equipped with the breadth of expertise required to assist with both an RPA implementation, or a complete Systems Integration overhaul and API enablement.

>> Schedule a call on the calendar of one of our managers or directors and skip sales!

Through the years, we’ve gained extensive experience in helping enterprise-level organizations realize and achieve their automation initiatives through RPA implementations. Further, we partner with leading integration platform players to help you navigate the integration landscape maze, and achieve your desired result.

Looking for more on RPa and systems integration?

Explore more insights and expertise:

There’s more to explore at Smartbridge.com!

Sign up to be notified when we publish articles, news, videos and more!