Blog | Technology

What's the Difference Between RPA, Intelligent Automation and Hyperautomation?

Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Intelligent Automation and hyperautomation overlap significantly, but they offer different benefits. Learn more.

JULY 12, 2023

Almost all areas of business have been touched by automation. But as the field grows, it also becomes increasingly complicated. And it doesn’t help that the terminology we use to describe the various types of automation can be so similar.

Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Intelligent Automation and Hyperautomation are the three labels you are likely to encounter the most often. Each can help your business lower operational costs and boost customer satisfaction – but there are some key differences.

Let’s break down the top three types of automation that may impact your organization.

What is RPA?

RPA is rules-based software programming that automates repetitive, mundane business tasks and processes. The types of actions that don’t require intelligence, analysis or special skills are ideally suited to RPA workflows. For example, RPA can perform virtual assistant functions, such as:

  • Collect and transfer data among multiple spreadsheets or files

  • Tabulate results

  • Process invoices.

  • Manage payrolls

RPA can improve speed and accuracy for many tedious business processes. However, it can’t handle any variation, and it requires restarts and reprogramming to handle any process changes.

What is Intelligent Automation?

While RPA technologies increase the efficiency and accuracy of well-defined business processes, they’re not enough to keep a modern organization running smoothly. Intelligent Automation is the next evolution of RPA – the “brain” to RPA’s “brawn.” Intelligent Automation uses more advanced AI technologies to build on the functions of RPA, enabling the ability to learn, reason and make decisions.

What's the Difference Between RPA, Intelligent Automation and Hyperautomation?

While Intelligent Automation maintains the speed and precision of RPA, its added features integrate automation for more complex business processes, with the ability to respond to change, variety and circumstances that fall outside the boundaries of its scripts. In addition, Intelligent Automation can analyze and interpret data to identify patterns, draw conclusions and make predictions. And, importantly, it improves itself over time.

Intelligent Automation can:

  • Process unstructured data

  • Automate tasks that require judgment

  • Detect and adapt to consumer and business changes

  • Facilitate resource and KPI planning

  • Manage exceptions and make internal course adjustments

Intelligent Automation offers many benefits, but it also requires substantial infrastructure and complete organizational buy-in. Despite the initial investment, Intelligent Automation can exist in many parts of your business in separate silos – one to facilitate HR practices and another for bookkeeping, for example.

What is Hyperautomation?

The next evolution of automation is Hyperautomation. It’s a framework for end-to-end automation, applying more capabilities of AI, Machine Learning and several other technologies to assess, supervise and implement as many new, automated digital workflows as possible.

In other words, hyperautomation integrates and oversees the capabilities of RPA and Intelligent Automation so everything in your organization works together in the ways that make the most sense. It adds strategy, scope and sophistication to your operations.

Achieving hyperautomation facilitates higher-level actions such as discovery, analysis, design, monitoring and assessment. It helps you maximize the cost-saving, productivity and accuracy of automation. It also enables more effective decision-making by generating useful data about both the business and the automation process itself.

Implementing a hyperautomation platform can help you:

  • Reduce your automation costs

  • Align your business and IT processes

  • Enhance your company’s security and governance

  • Improve your ability to measure the ROI of your automations.

  • Establish priorities for future automations

  • Streamline back-office and customer-facing operations

  • Improve the quality, speed, accuracy, cost and efficiency of your operations and processes

  • Improve revenue and increase market share

Robotic Process Automation vs Hyperautomation vs Intelligent Automation

Here’s a quick and easy comparison:

What's the Difference Between RPA, Intelligent Automation and Hyperautomation?


As you’ve seen here, each type of automation serves a different function. Implemented wisely, they can all work together to help your organization reap the maximum benefits from each, from rules-based RPA actions to whole processes facilitated and streamlined by Intelligent Automation – all integrated via hyperautomation to maximize your ROI and business growth.

Get started today with Sutherland Prodigy, our advanced hyperautomation platform. It combines analytics and business intelligence to transform disparate back-office operations into new, effective digital workflows. Get in touch to find out more.

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