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RPA vs. ITPA – What’s the Difference?

RPA vs. ITPA – What’s the Difference?
January 19, 2022 • Marcus Rebelo, VP, Global Sales Engineering and Security Officer

RPA vs. ITPA – What’s the Difference?

The promise of robots integrating into our everyday lives has long been on the minds of forward-thinkers and visionaries. Perhaps none were quite as bold in their future predictions as American chemist and Nobel Laureate Glenn T. Seaborg, who envisioned a 21st century in which every home would not only have its own robot, but also an intelligent species of animals that could help with household chores.

While it’s quite obvious that Mr. Seaborg missed the mark, robots have become an integral part of our lives. Technologies like robotic process automation (RPA) and IT process automation (ITPA) are fundamentally transforming the way businesses operate, enabling the delivery of better service while also making life infinitely easier for employees.

But while these two technologies are often referred to interchangeably, there are distinct differences between the two. Let’s explore those key differences below.

What is Robotic Process Automation?

RPA utilizes a technology that is designed to emulate manual tasks that are normally performed by humans. The types of tasks that robotic process automation tools mimic typically involve those that are repetitive and rule-based, have defined inputs and outputs, and occur frequently. RPA also requires that the data it uses be structured in nature. Examples of ideal uses of RPA technology include tasks like data entry, account opening, onboarding, data processing, and data mapping.

What is IT Process Automation?

IT process automation brings RPA to the next level. It builds upon those basic capabilities and leverages advanced technologies, like artificial intelligence and machine learning, to not only replicate human actions, but actually learn from and improve on those actions over time. Because ITPA does not face the same restrictions as RPA, it is able to handle far more complex workflows and business processes – and all with little to no human input or intervention.

For instance, ITPA might be used to automate incident management in a way that handles incoming alerts, analyzes, verifies, and prioritizes them, notifies the appropriate parties and then, upon the desired action being taken, completes the workflow and closes the ticket. This is a relatively complicated process that usually requires the oversight of an experienced IT professional.

Key Differences

Simply put, ITPA can be viewed as an upgraded advancement of RPA. Unlike the latter, the former is capable of understanding context, learning, and continuously improving. ITPA can also operate using both structured as well as unstructured data. And because of the intelligent technologies driving it, ITPA can provide valuable insight and data-driven, decision-making support.

This isn’t to say RPA doesn’t have its place in the IT realm. To the contrary, while the two technologies are not mutually exclusive, they can be used in tandem to deliver additional business value. For instance, ITPA can be used to turn unstructured data into structured data, which RPA can then use to carry out various tasks and workflows.

Which Solution is Right for You?

As with most business decisions, there's no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. However, given the fact that ITPA offers the same capabilities as RPA and then some, it’s safe to say that investing in this more advanced technology may make more sense. Even if you feel your current needs can be met using RPA, you may soon find yourself facing the need to upgrade to a more intelligent and intuitive solution.

Furthermore, if you’re new to automation, a more basic tool like RPA may seem like a logical first step, but this isn’t necessarily the case. In fact, with a platform like Resolve, which offers thousands of out-of-the-box automation templates, you can take advantage of ITPA with no coding or programming skills required.

Curious? Try Resolve free for 30 full days and unleash the power of intelligent IT process automation in your organization. Click here to download your free trial and be up and running in minutes.

Marcus Rebelo

About the Author, Marcus Rebelo:

Marcus Rebelo serves as the vice president of global sales engineering and as the security officer at Resolve, where he works with the Fortune 1000, leading telcos, and global MSPs to design and implement creative IT automation solutions that enable more agile, efficient IT operations. With more than two decades of experience in networking, software, and hardware technologies, Marcus has deep expertise designing and architecting IT solutions that create strong foundations for innovation.

His love of technology started with his first Basic programming course in the early 1980s and since then he has held positions ranging from the service desk to complex service development across a wide variety of organizations including NTT Communications, IPsoft, BMC Software, Wipro, and Hewlett Packard. In his current role at Resolve, he has grown the sales engineering team to a global organization and worked with numerous customers on their journey to automation success. He frequently speaks at industry events on automation, digital transformation, and cybersecurity topics as well as writes or contributes to industry articles.

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