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Low Code vs RPA: Which is Best for your Project?

November 10, 2023Raunak Jain
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Low Code vs RPA Which is Best for your Project
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In today’s fast-paced digital landscape, businesses and organizations constantly seek innovative ways to streamline their processes, enhance efficiency, and stay ahead of the competition. 

Two emerging technologies that have gained significant traction in the quest for operational excellence are Low Code and Robotic Process Automation (RPA). These two approaches offer unique solutions to automate and optimize various aspects of business operations, but choosing the right one for your project can be pivotal.

Low code is a development approach that uses visual interfaces and pre-built components to simplify and accelerate software application development, often requiring minimal coding skills. On the other hand, RPA or Robotic Process Automation is a technology that employs software robots or bots to automate repetitive and rule-based tasks within business processes, mimicking human actions in software applications.

In this article, we will delve into Low Code vs. RPA, comparing their strengths, weaknesses, and ideal use cases. By the end, you’ll have a clear understanding of which technology aligns best with your project’s goals and requirements. So, let’s embark on a journey to explore the intriguing battle of Low Code vs. RPA.

What is Low Code?

Low code is a modern software development approach designed to simplify and expedite the creation of software applications. It empowers both developers and non-developers to build complex applications with minimal hand-coding, relying instead on visual interfaces, drag-and-drop components, and pre-built templates. 

This approach significantly reduces the traditional coding effort, making it accessible to a broader range of individuals within an organization. Low-code platforms often include features like workflow automation, data integration, and mobile app development, allowing for the rapid creation of applications tailored to specific business needs.

Consider a large retail company aiming to enhance its customer engagement by launching a loyalty program. With a traditional development approach, this would require a lengthy development cycle involving a team of skilled programmers. In contrast, using a low code platform, a business analyst or a marketing manager can design the loyalty program application visually, incorporating features like user registration, point tracking, and personalized offers. 

The low code platform automates much of the underlying code generation, enabling swift development and deployment of the application. This agility and accessibility are key advantages of low code, making it an attractive choice for businesses looking to bring ideas to life quickly.

What is Robotic Process Automation (RPA)?

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is a transformative technology that leverages software robots or bots to automate routine and rule-based tasks within business processes. These virtual robots are programmed to mimic human interactions with digital systems, applications, and data, allowing them to perform a wide array of tasks, such as data entry, document processing, report generation, and more. 

RPA is known for its ability to boost operational efficiency by relieving human workers from the burden of repetitive, mundane tasks, thereby freeing up valuable time for more strategic and creative activities. It is a game-changer in various industries, from finance and healthcare to customer service and logistics, driving cost savings, accuracy, and process optimization.

Imagine a financial institution handling a substantial volume of mortgage applications daily. In a manual process, employees would need to extract data from various documents, input it into the system, perform credit checks, and generate reports. With RPA, software robots can be programmed to read documents, extract relevant information, validate it against predefined rules, and update the system automatically. 

These bots work around the clock with incredible accuracy and consistency, significantly reducing the processing time and minimizing errors. By implementing RPA in this scenario, the financial institution can not only expedite mortgage processing but also enhance compliance and customer satisfaction, all while freeing up employees for more strategic tasks like customer engagement and decision-making.

How Does Low Code Relate to RPA and AI?

Low code, RPA (Robotic Process Automation), and AI (Artificial Intelligence) are interrelated technologies that can work together synergistically to enhance automation and streamline business processes. Low code provides a user-friendly platform for developing applications, which can integrate with RPA and AI functionalities. RPA complements low code by automating repetitive tasks, allowing low-code applications to interact with systems and data more efficiently. 

AI can further enhance this synergy by providing cognitive capabilities like natural language processing and machine learning, enabling low code applications and RPA bots to make intelligent decisions and perform tasks that require data analysis or understanding of unstructured data. Together, these technologies create a powerful ecosystem for building intelligent and automated solutions that can drive productivity and innovation across various industries.

RPA vs. Low-Code: When to Use Each Option?

When it comes to choosing between Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Low Code for your automation needs, understanding the specific strengths and ideal use cases of each technology is crucial. Here, we will explore when to leverage RPA and Low Code to make informed decisions for your projects.

Use RPA When Automating Repetitive, Rule-Based Tasks

Robotic Process Automation excels in scenarios where tasks are highly repetitive, rule-based, and involve interacting with various applications and systems. RPA bots can mimic human actions with precision, making them ideal for automating data entry, report generation, and other tasks that follow well-defined processes. Industries like finance, healthcare, and logistics benefit significantly from RPA, as it can handle high-volume, transactional processes effectively, reducing errors and processing time.

Utilize Low Code for Rapid Application Development

Low code shines when you need to develop custom applications quickly and efficiently, especially when traditional coding may be time-consuming or resource-intensive. It’s an excellent choice for businesses looking to innovate and respond to changing market demands rapidly. Low-code platforms offer a visual, user-friendly interface, making application development accessible to a broader range of individuals, including non-developers. Use low code when you want to streamline workflows, create customer-facing applications, or build prototypes to test new ideas without extensive coding efforts.

Low-code also has an interesting use case in test automation. There are low code test automation tools like Testsigma that have proven to be an effective solution for test automation. 


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When Should You Use Low Code Instead of RPA?

Low code and RPA (Robotic Process Automation) are both valuable automation tools, but there are scenarios where low code stands out as the preferred choice. Here are some situations in which you should opt for low code over RPA:

Custom Application Development

If your primary goal is to create custom software applications or solutions tailored to your specific business needs, low code is the way to go. Low code platforms are designed to streamline the application development process, making it accessible to a broader range of individuals, including business analysts and non-developers. You can quickly design, build, and deploy applications with user-friendly interfaces using visual tools and pre-built components.

Complex Workflows and Integration Needs

Low code is ideal when you need to design and implement complex workflows that involve multiple steps, user interactions, and data integrations. Low-code platforms often come equipped with robust integration capabilities, allowing you to connect with various data sources, APIs, and external systems seamlessly. This is particularly valuable when you are orchestrating intricate business processes that require a high degree of flexibility and customization.

Rapid Prototyping and Agile Development

Low code is a perfect fit for agile development methodologies, enabling you to iterate quickly and adapt to changing requirements. It excels in scenarios where you need to build prototypes or minimum viable products (MVPs) to test new ideas or concepts. The visual nature of low code development allows for rapid adjustments and enhancements, making it a preferred choice for projects with evolving and dynamic objectives.

Empowering Citizen Developers

Low-code platforms empower individuals who may not have extensive programming experience to actively participate in application development. This democratization of development allows business users and subject matter experts to take ownership of creating solutions that address their specific challenges. RPA, on the other hand, typically requires a deeper technical skill set to design and implement automated processes.

User-Centric Applications

If your automation project revolves around creating user-centric applications, such as customer-facing portals, mobile apps, or interactive dashboards, low code is better suited to design attractive and intuitive user interfaces. RPA is primarily focused on automating repetitive tasks in the background and may not provide the same level of user interaction and experience as low-code applications.

When Should You Use RPA Instead of Low Code?

Here are a few instances when you should opt for RPA:

Highly Repetitive and Rule-Based Tasks

RPA excels in automating tasks that are extremely repetitive, rule-based, and involve interacting with various applications and systems. When your primary automation need is to perform routine, data-driven actions with a high degree of accuracy and efficiency, RPA is the superior choice. It can handle large volumes of transactions without the need for extensive custom application development.

Legacy System Integration

If your organization relies heavily on legacy systems that lack modern APIs or are challenging to integrate with, RPA can bridge the gap effectively. RPA bots can navigate through the user interfaces of these legacy applications, extracting and entering data as needed. This is especially valuable when upgrading or replacing these legacy systems may not be feasible or cost-effective.

Speedy Implementation for Immediate Efficiency Gains

RPA offers rapid deployment and quick ROI, making it suitable for situations where you need to achieve immediate efficiency gains. It typically requires less lead time compared to developing custom applications using low code. When time is of the essence, such as in compliance-driven processes or crisis response scenarios, RPA can provide a swift solution.

Minimal Dependency on User Interfaces

RPA doesn’t rely heavily on user interfaces or custom application development, making it a suitable choice for tasks that involve interactions with systems where API access is limited or not available. It can automate processes across a wide range of applications, including those that do not have well-defined APIs.

Handling Data Entry and Validation at Scale

When your automation requirements involve data entry, validation, or data manipulation tasks on a large scale, RPA’s ability to work with structured and semi-structured data sets it apart. RPA bots can process data with a high level of accuracy and consistency, making it invaluable for industries like finance, healthcare, and logistics.

Complementing Low Code with RPA

Complementing Low Code with RPA

In many cases, the best approach is not an either-or decision but a combination of RPA and Low Code. When automating complex business processes, consider using RPA to handle the repetitive, data-driven tasks while leveraging Low Code to build user interfaces and custom applications that orchestrate the overall process. This combination creates a comprehensive automation solution that marries the strengths of both technologies, ensuring efficiency, accuracy, and user-friendliness. For example, in customer service, RPA can manage data retrieval and processing, while Low Code can facilitate seamless customer interactions through user-friendly interfaces.

No Code vs RPA: Key Differences

Here are the key differences that highlight the contrasting strengths and use cases of No Code and RPA, making them suitable for distinct automation needs within organizations.

AspectNo CodeRPA (Robotic Process Automation)
User Skill RequirementMinimal coding skills are required.Typically requires more technical skills and scripting knowledge.
Application DevelopmentFocuses on creating applications or workflows with visual interfaces, often without writing code.Primarily focuses on automating existing processes and tasks, reducing manual effort.
Use CaseBest suited for rapid application development and workflow automation.Ideal for automating repetitive, rule-based tasks within business processes.
ScopeTypically used for creating new applications or enhancing existing ones.Primarily used for automating tasks within existing applications and systems.
CustomizationProvides limited flexibility for highly specialized, complex solutions.Offers a higher degree of customization for handling specific business rules and processes.
Deployment TimeRapid application development can result in quicker deployment times.Deployment can vary but often requires more time due to task automation intricacies.
IntegrationMay have limitations in integrating with legacy systems or complex APIs.Well-suited for integrating with various applications and systems, including legacy systems.
Skillset DiversityEncourages participation from a wide range of users, including non-developers.Typically requires a more specialized team with coding and automation expertise.

RPA or Low Code Solutions: Which is Better?

Choosing between RPA and Low Code solutions depends on your automation objectives. RPA excels at automating repetitive, rule-based tasks and is ideal for quick wins in efficiency gains, especially when integrating with legacy systems. On the other hand, Low Code solutions are better suited for custom application development, complex workflows, and user interface enhancements, making them valuable for broader automation projects with a focus on user experience and adaptability. 

The decision, to choose RPA or Low code, should align with the specific nature of your tasks and integration requirements, with the possibility of leveraging both technologies for a comprehensive automation strategy in some cases.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the choice between RPA and Low Code solutions is not a matter of one being definitively better than the other but rather a strategic decision rooted in your organization’s unique automation needs. The key lies in understanding the nature of your automation goals, the complexity of the tasks at hand, and the need for seamless integration. Often, the most effective approach may involve a harmonious blend of both RPA and Low Code solutions, harnessing their complementary strengths to drive innovation, efficiency, and competitiveness in the ever-evolving landscape of automation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is RPA considered low-code?

No, RPA (Robotic Process Automation) is not considered low-code. While both RPA and low-code aim to simplify and streamline processes, they serve different purposes. RPA focuses on automating repetitive, rule-based tasks. In contrast, low-code platforms are designed for application development, offering visual interfaces and pre-built components. While there can be some overlap in functionality, these technologies serve distinct use cases, with RPA emphasizing task automation and low-code prioritizing application creation.

Is RPA better than API?

It’s not accurate to say that RPA is inherently better than APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) or vice versa, as they serve different purposes. While RPA is ideal for automating manual, repetitive tasks, APIs are designed for structured data exchange and integration between different software systems, making them essential for real-time data access and communication. The choice between RPA and APIs depends on the specific automation requirements and the need for data exchange, with the possibility of using both in tandem to optimize processes and data flow within an organization.

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