Should Your Business Be Using AI or RPA? 

artificial intelligence RPA

All businesses, whether they be large corporations or emerging startups, rely on technology and its essential functions. Many companies use technology in the form of artificial intelligence (commonly termed AI) or robotic process automation (also termed RPA).  

Either of these technologies are critical to creating smooth automated processes. But what is the difference between these two? How are they similar? Should your business be using AI or RPA? Let us explore further to make your business decision easier. 

Why You Should Consider AI 

Artificial intelligence is taking the tech world by storm. It is an extremely exciting technological innovation, and everyone seems to want a part of it while it is in its early stages.  

The quicker you jump on the AI train, the more benefits you can reap from it because you are operating your business “ahead of the game”, so to speak. Mainstream innovators love AI, and startup tech companies are developing their own AI software to get a foothold in the industry. 

It makes sense because virtually all business activities can be synced with AI software or AI tools. For example, if your business routinely uses a chatbot to assist with online customer service, artificial intelligence can operate the chatbot and learn how to help customers with each interaction better.  

AI can also be used to schedule activities, analyze data and content, foster lead generation, detect suspicious activities, automate mundane work processes, and more. The options for how AI can assist your business are endless. 

When considering if your business should be using AI, remember this. Investing in artificial intelligence software is like gaining a new employee- metaphorically speaking.  

The software is designed to mimic a human brain’s thinking and learning process, which means your AI tech is similar to an employee who performs activities and thinks about the task as it is being done and then afterward to analyze what happened and how to improve. Now that is smart technology. 

Compared to RPA, AI is vastly more expensive just because of the complexity of the technology. If your company focuses on integrating software that “rights the wrongs” in business processes, checks facts, looks for errors, and optimizes workflow, you should consider using AI for your business. 

Why You Should Consider RPA 

Robotic process automation is a close competitor to artificial intelligence. They are built similarly with similar functions, yet they are vastly different.  

To start off, RPA is a much more affordable alternative to AI. The reason, as mentioned earlier, is because it is not a “machine learning” technology; RPA is built for robotic processes that do not require change or robotic thought.  

You simply set up the software, put it in action, and the process will run continuously until you stop it or it encounters some error.  

You should consider using RPA instead of AI if you want repetitive tasks completed with consistency and no dynamic process change- the same activities repeated the same way over and over.  

Many businesses choose to integrate their processes with RPA to free up valuable time for employees. Instead of one employee doing everything, RPA can take the pressure off by handling automatic email responses, payroll, invoice processing, refund processing, or other mundane tasks. Not to say RPA cannot mimic the human brain in some ways- because it can.  

It just does not have the capabilities to learn and improve itself. 

One important factor to keep in mind when considering using RPA for your business is the user interface. The technology behind repetitive process automation is heavily dependent on the stability of its UI. Any changes to the software or UI will cause immediate issues.  

The only other challenge to RPA can be too much unstructured data, but this can be easily overcome with better data organization. 

So, what are the benefits of RPA for businesses? 

A vast majority of businesses (nearing 50%) use RPA to automate their repetitive tasks, thus, making life easier for their employees. Here is a breakdown of the benefits of RPA and how you can implement it to save your employees from mundane work. 

  • Project implementation time is heavily reduced. 
  • Maximum consistency is maintained since RPA is always running with no change. 
  • RPA and AI can be used together if needed. 
  • Makes operations scalable; it can be combined with other RPA systems. 
  • Performance-based data can be gathered to determine process efficiency. 

Overall, there is a lot to consider when deciding if RPA or AI is right for your business. In the end, it comes down to cost and what you want to achieve with process automation. Determine your budget, business needs, strategy for use, and go from there.  

Lila BENHAMMOU