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RPA Vs Traditional Automation

RPA Vs Traditional Automation

RPA Vs Traditional Automation

In “RPA Vs Traditional Automation” blog, I have compared the RPA(Robotic Process Automation) and Traditional Automation with respect to various parameters.

Let me begin this blog with a question.

What pop ups in our mind when we heard any of the below word?

  • Selenium
  • QTP
  • Load runner
  • Apache JMeter
  • TestingWhiz
  • TestComplete
  • Ranorex

Testing beginner’s would say “All above are testing tools”.

Testing professional’s would drill down and say “All are test automation tools which are use to automate different types of testing like functional testing, performance testing etc”.

We can say that above tools are somehow related to “Automation testing”.  In this blog I am referring all above tools as traditional automation tool.

So, How RPA differs from traditional automation?

Let’s us compare traditional automation and RPA with respect to various parameters.

Primary Usage:

Traditional Automation:

Selenium is primarily used to automate web based applications. QTP is used to automate desktop as well as web applications. Load runner, Apache Jmeter is used to automate performance testing.

To sum up it in one line, each tool serves the specific purpose to automate particular type of testing.

Example: Automation of login and logout functionality.


RPA is not a testing tool. It is use automate any business process or functionality using RPA software.  It is platform independent. User can automate web, desktop, mobile applications, mainframe based application and even the application’s which are running on virtual machine etc. In future RPA could used to automate testing.

Example: Automation of bank account creation process. In most of the companies it is perform by back office executives.


Working layer:

Traditional Automation: It works on data layer, does not mimic user actions; it only executes the programmatic instructions given.

RPA: It mimics user actions; it can cognitively take decisions to perform actions, once leaning phase of robots gets over.


Programming skills:

Traditional Automation: User needs to have programming skills to automate the functionality. Programming language requirement can vary with automation tool used.  User has burden of remembering language syntax.

RPA: User does not require any Programming skills. User does not have any burden of remembering language syntax, as automation is as simple as creating flowchart diagram. User needs to focus on functionality under automation.


Process/domain knowledge:

Traditional Automation: User or tester requires domain knowledge of functionality under test; usually Manual tester defines scenarios for automation and dedicated automation tester writes a script.

RPA: User should have strong process and domain knowledge. Like traditional automation, here there is no separate individual for defining process and to script them.

Here Buniess Analyst does RPA of business functionality, which could lead to vanish the need of having manual and automation testers in future.


Complex systems:

Traditional Automation: Due to programming language limitations we might not able to automate complex systems.

RPA: RPA mimics the human actions. It is having lesser dependency on architecture of system under test.


Test/scenario design time:

Traditional Automation:  Moderate amount of time is required in traditional automation. Feasibility study and test designing takes longer time.

RPA: Less amount of time is required. As RPA software’s are process driven, where user defines process in the form of flow charts using drag and drop feature.


Test execution time/ Scalability:

Traditional Automation: Different programming techniques are used to achieve parallel execution or scalability. It requires physical machine with good processing capabilities to perform parallel execution.

RPA: User can assign the work to thousands of virtual machine, without bothering about machine which performs the allotted task.


In long run RPA will be a cheaper solution, as it reduces dependency on human resources.

Test scenario maintenance:

Traditional Automation: In future if there are changes in particular module, that could leads to change into various scripts. So, maintenance could be costlier.

RPA:  User can very easily update any business flow due to the RPA’s simplicity.

 Hope you like this blog. Comparison parameters are not limited to above list, I tried to cover major one.

You can post your thought in comments section.

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This Post Has 16 Comments

  1. saru

    Thanks for summarizing the difference. It will really helps.

  2. brahma

    Why can’t we automate any business process or functionality using traditional Automation tools?

    1. Swapnil Bhukan

      Hi Brahma, We can, but it will require lot of coding and infrastructure development but RPA makes it easier.

  3. Andrew

    Thank you for actually providing differences between RPA and Test Automation. I’ve been searching everywhere for actual differences. Most blogs don’t go into the detail you have an I created an account specifically so I could tell you how much I appreciated your work. Specifically the sections on: programming skills, complex systems, design time, test scenario maintenance. These are areas that I can justify RPA to the business with, not just some airy fairy waffle that makes no distinction. Thank you again for your time in writing this.

  4. Brad

    what do you mean by mimic users? flow charts decides which path to use depending on if statements and looping statements. both conditional and looping is present in selenium. also when a module is updated only that module is updated not several, thats what page object is for(refactoring repeated lines into a single function).

    1. Swapnil Bhukan

      Hi Brad
      In the process RPA evolution, as some of RPA tool uses Artificial intelligence, so bots can actually make decisions based on process designed. Bots can think cognitively like human do.

  5. Hey Swapnil….Thanks for the article, it’s pretty interesting.

  6. Prashant

    Thanks Swapnil for posting this Article.
    Nice Article.I will book mark this page for Future Reference.

  7. saurabh

    nice article

  8. Akiva Miller

    Thank you, Swapnil! This is incredibly good!

  9. mayanka

    RPA is the future and is far better than traditional Automation. Thanks For sharing such a valuable information and i have bookmarked this page for future references.

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Swapnil Bhukan

I am an IT Professional, who is expert in Software Testing. Passionate about Automation Testing, persuade ample amount of experience in Investment Banking and E-commerce domain. If you love to know about discussions going on in IT sector, you will feel right at home here. From my posts you will get to know about my point of view and conclusion about the topics I posts.