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Making RPA, BPA, and workflow automation work by digitizing front-end customer input

Making RPA, BPA, and workflow automation work by digitizing front-end customer input | EasySend blog
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8 minutes

Automation is no longer a nice to have in the back office, and it is now a critical part of providing a great customer experience. When it comes to robotic process automation (RPA), business process automation (BPA), and workflow automation, there is often a lot of confusion about the differences between these three terms.

This blog will explain the difference between robotic process automation (RPA), workflow automation, and business process management (BPM.) Then, we will dive into why insurance and banking organizations must combine front-end digital experience with automation in the back-end processes to achieve their digital transformation goals.

What is Robotic process automation?

Robotic process automation (RPA) uses software robots, or “bots,” to automate repetitive, rules-based tasks. RPA bots can mimic human actions, such as opening files, logging into applications, filling out forms, and extracting data. 

RPA is typically used to automate time-consuming and/or manual tasks, such as data entry or claims processing.

RPA is good for: RPA is best suited for highly repetitive tasks, is rules-based, and does not require decision-making.

RPA is not suitable for: RPA is not suited for tasks that require human judgment or expertise, such as underwriting or fraud detection.

What is business process automation (BPA)?

Business process automation (BPA) uses technology to automate end-to-end business processes. BPA can be used to automate any repeatable, predictable process and includes a defined set of inputs and outputs.

BPA is suitable for: BPA is best suited for automating complex processes that span multiple systems and involve decision-making.

BPA is not suitable for: BPA is not suited for tasks that are highly repetitive and rules-based, such as data entry

What is Workflow Automation?

Workflow automation is the use of software to automate the flow of work. Workflow automation includes both robotic process automation (RPA) and business process automation (BPA). Unlike RPA, which focuses on automating individual tasks, workflow automation tools focus on automating the entire process.

The main difference between workflow automation and RPA is that workflow automation tools provide a more holistic view of the process, while RPA tools focus on automating individual tasks.

Workflow automation is suitable for: Workflow automation is best suited for automating tasks that are both repetitive and require decision-making. Workflow automation is best suited for processes that are well defined and do not require frequent changes.

Workflow automation is not suitable for: Workflow automation is not well suited for complex or frequently changing processes. Workflow automation is not suited for tasks that are highly repetitive and do not require decision-making, such as data entry.

RPA vs. BPA. vs. Workflow Automation

The difference between RPA, BPA, and workflow automation matters because each type of automation has its strengths and weaknesses. When selecting an automation solution, it is important to consider the specific needs of your organization and the tasks you want to automate.

Organizations should also keep in mind that no single type of automation is a silver bullet. The best results are achieved when different types of automation are combined. For example, RPA can be used to automate repetitive tasks, while BPA can be used to automate complex processes.

In summary, RPA vs. BPA vs. workflow automation is a difference that you should care about because:

  • RPA is best suited for tasks that are highly repetitive, rules-based, and do not require decision-making. For example, processes like data entry or policy cancellations.
  • BPA is best suited for automating complex processes that span multiple systems and involve decision-making. For example, customer onboarding or fraud detection.
  • Workflow automation is best suited for automating tasks that are both repetitive and require decision-making. Workflow automation is best suited for processes that are well defined and do not require frequent changes. For example, loan origination or claims adjudication.

[.emph]Organizations should also keep in mind that no single type of automation is a silver bullet. The best results are achieved when different types of automation are combined.[.emph]

The missing link: customer input automation

If you’re automating processes in the banking or insurance industry, you know that collecting customer data is a painful process. Customer data collection is typically manual, involving customer service representatives (CSRs) entering data into your systems.

Manual customer data intake is one of the main bottlenecks that prevent processes from being truly automated.

Common ways to intake customer data and signatures

Many processes in insurance and banking can be automated but are still relying on manual data entry or customer input via PDF and web forms which can lead to errors and inefficiencies.

There are several common ways that customer data is collected: PDF forms, web forms, and call centers.

Using fillable PDF forms to collect customer data 

PDF forms are a common method for collecting customer data, but they are difficult to parse and often contain errors. It can also lead to customer frustration, as CSRs may need to ask customers for the same information multiple times. Even if the data on the form itself is correct, manual data entry into your core systems is time-consuming and also prone to errors.

Other issues with PDF forms include:

  • PDF forms are not interactive and lack any personalization capabilities
  • PDF forms cannot be easily completed on mobile devices
  • PDF forms can be difficult to fill out, leading to customer frustration
  • PDF forms are not directly integrated into your core systems and require parsing and manual data entry

Using web forms to collect customer data

Web forms are a more interactive way to collect customer data, but they still have some potential drawbacks. Especially for complex processes that require customers to submit a lot of information, web forms can be time-consuming and frustrating. Other issues with web forms include:

  • Web forms are often complex to fill in and require customers to have a lot of patience
  • Web forms are limited in terms of user experience
  • Web forms require development and are resource-intensive to create and integrate

Collecting data from customers via Call Centers 

Call centers are another common method for collecting customer data. However, they can be very time-consuming, as CSRs need to ask customers the same questions multiple times. Other issues with call centers include:

  • Call center customer data collection is costly, as they require human labor
  • Interactions with call centers can lead to customer frustration, if customers may need to wait on hold for a long time
  • The data from call centers is not always accurate, as CSRs may make mistakes when entering information

RPA vs BPA vs Digital Journey | EasySend blog

Customer data intake automation with digital journeys

As you can see, customer data input is a crucial first step to making automation work in insurance and banking. If data is not correct, the entire workflow needs to be redone, which can be costly and time-consuming. Yet, data needs to be collected in a way that is frictionless and effortless for customer, or else you risk customer churn.

This is where customer input journeys come in. They empower organizations to digitally collect and update customer data in a seamless and user-friendly way. This data can then be used to trigger workflows, ensuring that the right information is always available when it’s needed.

How customer input automation with digital journeys works

When a customer initiates a task that requires data input, such as opening an account or filing a claim, they are directed to a digital data intake journey. The journey can be triggered on any channel, either on the website, app, via SMS, an email, or customer support chat, and accessed on any device.

What is a digital data intake journey?

A digital data intake journey is a guided process that takes the customer through a series of steps, such as inputting their data, uploading documents, and signing paperwork.

Digital data intake journeys are more user-friendly and efficient than web forms since they gather consumer information through a series of interactive stages rather than a single long and complicated form. Digital journeys may also dynamically change to meet customer input, further enhancing the client experience.

As the customer completes each step, their data is validated in real-time to ensure accuracy. The customer then can review and confirm their input before moving on to the next step. Once all the required information has been collected, the digital journey is complete, and the customer’s data is automatically updated in the back-end system. All data is correct, there are no missing signatures or x

What are the benefits of customer input automation with digital journeys?

Digital data intake journeys are a powerful tool that can help insurance and banking organizations improve their customer experience. There are many benefits of using customer input automation with digital journeys, including:

  • Seamless and user-friendly experiences for customers
  • Data is collected quickly and accurately
  • Integrated into back-end systems
  • Can be triggered on any channel or device

What are the challenges of customer input automation?

Organizations must collect customer data, but common methods to do so are often time-consuming and lead to customer frustration. Digital customer intake journeys offer superior customer experience and improve data accuracy, but there are few challenges to consider when implementing customer input automation with digital journeys, including:

  • Ensuring customer data is secure: When collecting customer data, it’s important to ensure that it is collected securely and stored safely. This means ensuring that the digital journey is hosted on a secure server and that the data is encrypted.
  • Designing digital journeys: designing digital journeys can be challenging, as it requires a deep understanding of customer needs and behavior.
  • Resource-intensive and lengthy development: Implementing customer input automation with digital journeys can be resource-intensive, as it requires the development of digital journeys and the integration of back-end systems. The development often takes months, which can be a challenge for organizations with limited resources.

Despite these challenges, customer input automation with digital journeys is a powerful tool for customer data intake that insurance and banking organizations need to make their investments in automation go further.

That is where no-code digital journey builders such as EasySend come in – they make it possible for organizations to quickly and easily create custom data intake journeys without the need for coding or IT resources in a secure and compliant way.

Vera Smirnoff
Vera Smirnoff

Vera Smirnoff is the demand generation manager at EasySend. She covers digital transformation in insurance and banking and the latest trends in InsurTech and digital customer experience.