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RPA Versus Traditional Software Development: 6 Key Differences

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Automation can take lengthy manual tasks, like data entry, and execute them with better accuracy and efficiency. For any business, the ease of implementation, maintenance, and modification of automated processes can have a significant impact on operational cost and efficiency.

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is a relatively new technology for creating digital bots to automate business processes. When it comes to the creation of such software, RPA differs from traditional development in a way that’s beneficial for both the business and the developer.

These six main differences may make you want to use RPA instead of traditional development for your automated business processes:

1. RPA Is Specialized

In software development, using a specialized tool is almost always a better option than using something else. As an example, think of cutting a steak. You can cut a steak with a spoon if you try, but it’d be much easier achieved using a steak knife.

Traditional software development is versatile. The process involves coding in one or more programming languages to create software and applications to perform specific functions. There may be certain programming languages and frameworks that make it easier to develop automated processes, but they still require a lot of coding to implement.

On the other hand, RPA software creation tools are specifically for building automated process bots. In other words, it’s non-versatile and can’t be used to develop things like web, mobile, and desktop apps, unlike traditional development. However, its specialization makes it a better tool for creating automated processes than any traditional development tool. You can visit sites like for more information on this.

2. Less Code Needs To Be Written

Robotic Process Automation often implements a drag-and-drop interface of instructions. Some systems also allow the software to learn behaviors by watching and mimicking user behavior.

Traditional development requires the developer to understand programming principles and be proficient in multiple programming languages. Developing automated processes typically requires further understanding of the system it’s to be used on. There’s also an initial programming stage followed by multiple iterations of testing and modification before the final product is completed.

The developer doesn’t require this prior knowledge when using RPA. This makes it comparatively easier to develop automated processes using RPA systems than traditional development methods.

3. Everything In One Place

One of the most challenging aspects of traditional development is the need to combine multiple functionalities from multiple resources. Programming usually uses a collection of libraries, frameworks, and Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), pulled together to form the final piece of software. As you might expect, developers need to understand the use of all these resources before being able to use them.

With RPA tools, all these functionalities are contained and managed within the tool. The APIs can be used in applicable cases, but they don’t have to be.

4. Scalability And Maintenance

Ease of scalability and maintenance are among the most crucial factors to consider when developing software. As a business grows, so do its processes.

One of the advantages of RPA development is that modification becomes easier than regular programming. To make any changes to something developed through traditional means, the developer needs access to the source code. They then need to read and understand its function across all libraries, frameworks, and APIs before they’re able to make any changes. This can be difficult, especially if the source code is poorly documented and isn’t being updated by the original developer.

With a well-structured RPA application, this doesn’t become much of an obstacle. Anyone who’s learned to use the RPA software should be capable of changing and adapting existing automation processes with relative ease.

5. Back-End And Front-End

Traditional software development is usually split into back-end code which controls the program’s functionality and front-end code which gives the user a way to interact with it. To create an automated process, a developer must program its functionality in the back-end and then link this to a front-end user interface.

Now, RPA removes this requirement by occurring entirely in the front-end. The creation and modification of automated processes happen here. As mentioned earlier, this usually happens with a drag-and-drop interface requiring no interaction with any back-end code. This is carried over to any updates and maintenance.

6. Time And Cost

Traditional software development needs programmers to be well-versed in programming languages and development tools before being able to develop software. While this can lead to the creation of powerful automated processes, it can also be costly to train or hire a team to implement it.

In comparison, RPA is relatively inexpensive. It’s easier to implement and doesn’t require your team to have undergone advanced software development training—decreasing the overall cost.


When it comes to automating your business processes, Robotic Process Automation will almost certainly win over traditional software development. Process automation is extremely beneficial and is an excellent technology to implement if you want to modernize your business.

While traditional software development demands an extensive understanding of code, RPA offers a more straightforward path. If you think about how much your business could benefit from process automation and how achievable it would be with RPA, there’s nearly no reason not to try it.

Sonia Arce is an experienced data scientist. She’s been in the industry for 12 years. She also teaches several online classes to small business owners looking to automate their business processes. Sonia writes blogs in her free time, hoping for her message to reach a larger audience.


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