Comparison of RPA and iPaaS: Difference of RPA to iPaaS and Cloud BPA.

May 2020
Comparison of RPA and iPaaS: differences, advantages and disadvantages

iPaaS vs. RPA advantages and disadvantages

The pros and cons of RPA and APIs.

SaaS, IOT or artificial intelligence: more and more technologies are supposed to drive the digital transformation in companies. But a large part of all business processes is still handled manually. That doesn't have to be the case: Automate processes and thus drive growth.

Wachstum mit iPaaS und Cloud-BPA
Compare with iPaaS and RPA

Business Process Automation (BPA) is the process of automating your organisational workflows and activities with software and application integration. This enables your business to operate more efficiently, transparently and cost-effectively. To this end, a number of technologies have emerged that offer different approaches to master various automation tasks.

Business process automation systems can be implemented in all departments of your company, such as human resources, sales, marketing, IT and customer support. They can be used to automatically execute all types of jobs - from simple tasks such as managing leave days to complex tasks such as employee retention, customer ticket resolution and sales pipeline management - to make routine business processes faster, error-proof and cost-effective.

Nevertheless, it is important to understand that automation for automation's sake can also be counterproductive. The goal of business process automation is not just to automate your organisational workflows; it must make business processes simpler and more efficient. The best way to achieve these goals is to consider two critical factors before you start automating.

1. what needs to be automated?

You can automate all your business processes. But not all processes are the same. Some are easier to automate than others. To ensure that you invest resources in automating the business processes that actually need to be automated and that would produce better results, start with those that meet the following parameters:

1. business processes that must be error-free.

2. business processes that are consistent across the organisation.

3. business processes that are repeatable.

2. tools you need for automation

The best tool for business process automation: iPaaS and Cloud BPA - No RPA!

Writing custom integrations to automate business processes can be quite expensive, time-consuming and error-prone. The best way to automate is to implement an integration solution that enables smooth B2B data exchange, automates common processes, reduces IT complexity and minimises overheads throughout the process.    

Enterprise iPaaS (Integration Platform as a Service) comes with ready-to-use workflows or templates for various applications that can be easily configured to seamlessly integrate applications.

Here are some other benefits of using iPaaS for BPA:

1. little or no facility required

2. users with little or no technical expertise can use it

3. fast and reliable scaling is possible due to the cloud-based infrastructure

4. no upfront costs; with the SaaS model you can pay immediately

5. protocols and data audit options for tracking and monitoring real-time and historical data.

What is RPA? And why might it be important?

RPA (robotic process automation) and APIs, or iPaaS, are considered competitive approaches to business process automation. If one starts from the classic definition, each approach has its merits.

RPA can quickly and easily model a business process by simply recording and emulating human action against a user interface. RPA platforms ensure that you get from A to B in a single pass. However, they lack the flexibility that an API can give you. RPA is classically used for interface automation. This involves emulating a human moving a mouse, clicking and typing data to interact with the application. In contrast, API integration largely refers to coding integration logic to automatically pass data between applications. Both technologies can complement each other.

Simply put: RPA only makes sense for old software without interfaces.

What is the difference between RPA and iPaaS?

RPA platforms are quick and easy to implement and have low maintenance costs. While they are suitable for simple integration tasks with low risk potential and small amounts of data, API-based integration is an approach for complex integrations with large amounts of data and higher risk potential. For example, RPA tools are better at converting data captured through optical character recognition (OCR) into the correct formats for applications such as SAP. From there, API integration can improve the flow of data into other business processes.

If there is a large integration effort or limited budget with a proposed API, then RPA offers a better immediate solution. In contrast, APIs are the preferred path for long-term, strategic business use cases.

iPaaS kostengünstige RPA
iPaaS cost-effective RPA

RPA does not have to replace legacy systems. RPA's ability to simulate human interactions with legacy systems allows them to be included in automation and modernisation efforts. API projects are often new and involve new applications or new processes. Therefore, it may take several cycles to achieve the desired result.

Why can it be better to use iPaaS instead of RPA?

RPA can be seen as a brittle form of streamlining. It can streamline processes that are already in place, but it does not necessarily improve them. When dependent systems change, RPA-powered processes may not be able to accommodate the small changes that humans would pick up without noticing. Changes such as colours, key labels or menus can cripple RPA integration. Better OCR and machine learning capabilities could reduce these problems by detecting changes and adjusting configurations. Still, APIs can be more flexible at this stage.

When an interface exists, APIs offer advantages. An RPA serves only one purpose, while APIs are a collection of methods that can be reused for multiple purposes. APIs are celebrated for their real-time connectivity benefits, being able to connect to partner and SaaS applications quickly and efficiently. APIs are ubiquitous in both life and business. Most enterprise business processes are far more nuanced than those RPA can solve, relying on complex data and application integration scenarios that must work as needed.

But: Technologies like iPaaS are complex, powerful and made for IT.

Conclusion: iPaaS or RPA? Which solution should companies use? iPaaS, Cloud BPA or RPA?

Both RPAs and APIs play a role in meeting integration needs. Tools like RPA that are based on UI automation are great for legacy systems but brittle for UI changes, unnecessary for API-based systems and less applicable for modern SaaS applications. iPaaS tools are API-based but do not connect to legacy systems. Companies need both, depending on the software to be automated. Due to the fact that modern SaaS API-based software is less costly, companies should consider integrating iPaaS into their processes.

IPaaS automatically integrates thousands of APIs without the need for developers. Therefore, entrepreneurs should prefer iPaaS and cloud BPA rather than RPA solutions.

Comparison of RPA and iPaaS: differences, advantages and disadvantages

Comparison of RPA and iPaaS: differences, advantages and disadvantages

Cloud Integration, iPaaS, SaaS, BPA… Ough, hard to keep track of all these terms. They are currently used frequently (and increasingly) in the context of automation, and it is sometimes difficult to make a clear distinction and distinction. We have already written blog posts on the terms iPaaS, SaaS and BPA, but we’ll take them up again here to make the difference.

But let’s start with cloud integration, because that’s the central umbrella term in which we embed all the other technologies in this blog post.

Arrange a free cloud integration consultation now

What does Cloud Integration mean?

What does Cloud Integration mean?


  • Is available in real time
  • Can be accessed from almost anywhere
  • Reduce potential sources of error by entering the same data multiple times
  • Require less installation and maintenance
  • Can optimize business processes

Arrange a free cloud integration consultation now

To illustrate these advantages, an example is suitable that we know well from our everyday work as an automation agency:

The central data to be used here is the data of a major customer. This can be the simplest information, such as the address. This address is required in numerous but completely different processes in the company: on the one hand, for correct invoicing in accounting. On the other hand, in the CRM system, where all the data of the large customer is also stored. But the address is also important in sales, for example, when employees go to the sales meeting on site.

Now the customer announces that the address of the company has changed after a move. This information will reach you by e-mail. There are now two options:

01. The e-mail is forwarded to all affected departments, accounting, sales, customer service, marketing… All persons open their corresponding program, CRM, accounting software, marketing tools (such as newsletter marketing) and change the data already stored there of the customer. This means that in multiple applications, different people do exactly the same thing: change one address.

02. But there is also an alternative: By connecting your applications, thus by integrizing them, the customer’s e-mail, or rather the information it contains about the address change, is automatically passed on to all affected applications: CRM, accounting, marketing, ERP. This does not require any clicks, because the cloud integration detects a trigger, i.e. address change, and thus automatically starts the process.

What sounds unimpressive in a single process becomes more effective when such a process occurs several times a day or weekly. Because there is a lot of data that is available in different applications and should always be correct. If these applications are cloud applications they are suitable for cloud integration.

But cloud integration doesn’t just happen. There are now a variety of applications that enable and implement this. Such tools usually allow us to link the relevant cloud applications on a central platform and define clear rules on when, how, where, how much data should be passed on and what happens to them.

IPaaS, SaaS, BPA, ABC – who can still see through it?

To realize cloud integration, there are various applications and technologies that are sometimes used interchangeably.

We have made a first distinction between iPaaS and BPA here.

We explain the term SaaS in more detail here.

Here the short version, again:
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Cloud integration cannot be done without SaaS, iPaaS and BPA

Cloud integration is rather an umbrella term that includes numerous technologies, such as SaaS, iPaaS and BPA, and this is also absolutely necessary. Cloud integration is a concept that is made possible by appropriate technologies.

However, all terms share the commonality that they are cloud-based and thus offer enormous potential for growth and scaling. In addition, they are often cheaper to implement and maintain because changed requirements are easy to implement.

As an independent automation agency, we implement cloud integration according to your requirements. We use a variety of SaaS tools and iPaas (strictly speaking BPA) software. Together we find individual solutions that are flexible and scalable.

Arrange a free cloud integration consultation now

Automation consulting. Automate. Improve. Succeed.

We advise you independently and offer our expertise.
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Automation consulting. Automate. Improve. Succeed.

We advise you independently and offer our expertise.