Robotic Process Automation – RPA – 5 differences between low-code (licensed) and code (unlicensed) to support a decision-making process.

Robotic Process Automation – RPA – 5 differences between low-code (licensed) and code (unlicensed) to support a decision-making process.

Businesses are constantly evolving, and the way decision-makers view tools in digital ecosystems has significantly evolved in recent times, at least from our perception of the market and discussions we’ve had with clients. Until now, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) platforms have predominantly been based on low-code tools with licensing, raising questions about the sustainability of these solutions due to their compromised stability in certain cases. IT and business decision-makers are increasingly aware and informed about what the process automation market can offer, eagerly awaiting the results of various initiatives involving Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Don’t get me wrong, but this is the perception resulting from our market evaluation, confirmed by other partner companies. However, it’s important to note that there is a market for both realities: low-code RPA and custom automation development. Let’s start by explaining each concept – A low-code RPA tool is usually paid for by robot license or consumption. They have development environments aimed at facilitating the automation creation process, often through boxes and parameterization. Deep programming knowledge is often not necessary, and these platforms include certification plans to attest to the user’s knowledge. They also offer orchestration environments where executions are scheduled and audited, and many of them have other complementary platforms to meet the needs of business process development, such as document interpretation and chatbots, among others.

On the other hand, we have script-based automation development, which does not require licensing unless a more complete orchestration scenario or consumables such as OCR or OpenAI are desired. Development environments are code-based, requiring teams capable of developing software. Orchestration can be scheduled and monitored with scheduling processes on machines, and the execution audit process is done through the record documents they produce.

However, based on our understanding and experience, which can significantly influence the decision between using one or the other to automate a process, some companies use both as a complement, applying the one that best suits the scenario. Thus, we have compiled 5 key differences that can help a manager in the decision-making process:

Cost: The cost of licensing is a trade-off between the acceleration power that a low-code platform can provide and the ease of forming resources compared to traditional software development, which is typically slower and more complex. However, the acceleration resulting from ease of use hinders scalability and sustainability, not only in terms of increasing licensing, but also in maintaining the solutions, since they are not always suitable for more complex and enterprise-level scenarios. Even in the low-code environment, it is necessary to have people with a deep understanding of what is needed to produce quality software.

Complexity: The stage of IT initiatives and the knowledge that decision-makers and businesses have about what is needed to create solutions that generate value for the business are important aspects to consider. An organization with low or no digital maturity can benefit from the quick returns that a low-code RPA tool can provide, as this will allow them to acquire valuable insights into automation initiatives. A more mature company may benefit more from the return that code-based automation development can provide.

Scale: What is the ambition regarding the direction of growth and expansion of automation usage? Is the chosen platform able to grow adequately to meet growing needs? Whether in terms of development time, maintenance, license cost, and recruitment of competent resources. For example, code scripts can execute multiple processes simultaneously on the same machine, while low code is limited to one execution per machine. Complex scaling processes may cause low-code platforms to struggle to execute and maintain.

Flexibility: The flexibility of the chosen solution is crucial to adapt to different business needs and scenarios. Low-code RPA platforms generally offer limited customization options, which may be sufficient for simple automation cases. However, in more complex situations that require specific customization or integration with existing systems, code-based automation development offers greater flexibility. With the ability to write custom scripts, teams can adapt automation to meet the unique needs of the organization, ensuring a more adaptable and effective solution.

Control and Security: Control and security of automated processes are essential aspects to consider when choosing between a low-code or code-based RPA solution. While low-code platforms offer basic control functionalities, such as scheduling and monitoring of executions, they may have limitations in terms of customizing security policies and detailed control over workflow. On the other hand, code-based automation development allows for more granular control over each step of the process, ensuring that sensitive company data is protected and that automated processes comply with security and privacy regulations. Additionally, development teams can implement custom security measures to mitigate security risks and ensure data integrity throughout the automation lifecycle.

By considering these key differences, managers can make a more informed decision about which process automation approach is most suitable for their company’s specific needs and objectives.

In both cases, Engibots can serve as a strategic partner, offering customized solutions that meet the unique process automation needs of each client, ensuring efficiency, scalability, and long-term sustainability.