Learn about the differences and similarities between chatbots and robotic process automation. Both chatbots and RPA have reached a level of unrivaled sophistication while also becoming easier to use. Learn about the differences as your organization begins exploring new possibilities on what these technologies can do to help streamline your organization.
Chatbots and robotic process automation can allow your organization to help streamline various business processes. The main difference is that the chatbot interfaces generally with your customer (and can be setup as a self-service bot for your employees) while robotic process automation generally interfaces with your employees by automating simple, repetitive IT tasks.
Definitions of Chatbot and Robotic Process Automation
A chatbot is a bot that is programmed to chat with a human in a conversational tone with the ability to pre-learn a resolution to a problem that the bot has the skill to resolve.
Robotic process automation (RPA) is a bot programmed to automate manual, repetitious processes within a business function to help streamline the process and improve productivity.
Chatbots and Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
Both of these are greenfield technologies are continuing to mature and include other technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning which are also technologies that have started to mature as well.
Chatbots and robotic process automation have similarities in that they use artificial intelligence to perform tasks. However, the tasks can be classified differently between chatbots and robotic process automation.
Differences in Stakeholders Chatbots vs RPA
How is a chatbot different from robotic process automation?
With chatbots, the target audience are the business’s customers with its primary task of helping relay information and data in a conversational format. Chatbots are great at customer facing opportunities to improve response time, faster resolution rates, and increasing brand visibility.
With robotic process automation, the internal stakeholders and employees generally utilize RPA to perform back office tasks and other processes by starting the process. These streamlined processes can include, but are not limited to, data mining, data cleansing, and workflow automation.
Comparing Benefits and Value of Chatbots versus Robotic Process Automation
Chatbots focus on minimizing the response time for customers and providing overall improvement of customer service for a business. On the business value side, there are less resources needed to maintain customer service inquiries with an added value of preventative ticket creation. The business outcomes for chatbots are focused on improved customer engagement at a lower cost.
Robotic process automation (RPA) are tools that provide the ability to automate manual backend workflows and IT work that is repetitive and time consuming. The business outcome of RPA is focused on process automation at a lower human capital cost.
Business Process Comparison Between Chatbots and Robotic Process Automation
Chatbots focus on a user specific process whereas robotic process automation focuses on very predictable, repeatable, and generally rule-based workflows.
General Use Cases for Chatbots versus Robotic Process Automation
Chatbots are generally conversation-driven processes that are user-centric whereas RPA is focused on back-office, administrative processes.
Chatbots can be a conversational discussion that is voice-initiated or with messaging services like Microsoft Teams and Slack. Chatbots can be used to relay information and interpret a customer’s intent in order to retrieve the correct information.
RPA is applicable to specific discrete workflows that don’t even require a user interaction (by using screen-scraping and data extraction).
Decision Making for Chatbots Compared to Robotic Process Automation
Decision making for chatbots are generally business-led whereas robotic process automation is IT-led.
Implementing Chatbots versus Robotic Process Automation
Chatbots allow teams to create dialogues based on common user intents and tasks that are asked, providing a high degree of flexibility in delivering the right tasks. In comparison, robotic process automation is less flexible and more rigid because of a forced process-driven, guided automation workflow as compared to a conversational interaction to start the orchestration of a conversation or a task.
Frequently Asked Questions Comparing Chatbots versus Power Virtual Agents
Can chatbots and robotic process automation work together?
Chatbots and robotic process automation can work together to help streamline process flows. For example, a conversational dialogue with a chatbot can used to trigger a process flow on the back-end for processes that were repetitive historically.
Conversational chatbots have become sophisticated enough to understand high-level user intent and can pass this information onto a task-oriented RPA bot to execute the steps to carry out and complete the task.
Will RPA replace chatbots?
It is highly unlikely that robotic process automation will be replaced by chatbots. Both technologies have very different initiation points and stakeholders. It is more likely that robotic process automation and conversational chatbots will work together to help include both services together.
What are popular platforms for Robotic Process Automation versus for Conversational Chatbots?
Popular robotic process automation (RPA) tools include BluePrism, Automation Anywhere, UiPath, OpenSpan and Microsoft’s PowerAutomate platform.
Popular conversational chatbot tools include Dialogflow, Kore.AI, AWS Lex, and Azure Bot Service/Framework.
Summary of Differences Between Chatbot and Robotic Process Automation
This was a short summary of the differences between a chatbot and robotic process automation. Generally, a smart conversational chatbot will ensure that the customer is being served, thus reducing the response time a customer has to wait for information, which can continue to increase customer satisfaction rates. Robotic process automation (RPA) can allow you to create rule-based, repeatable, and iterative processes to help decrease the burden on employees, cut operational costs, and increase employee productivity and satisfaction.
Related Chatbot Business Value Links
- Chatbot vs. Conversational Agent
- Chatbot Development Lifecycle
- Chatbot Request for Proposal Example Questions