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RPA & WLA — Why you need both

RPA and WLA are complementary solutions with distinctly different enterprise use cases

Read Time
2 mins
Filed Under
Competitive Advantage
Last updated
Jul 10th, 2020


Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is software programmed to do basic tasks across applications that mimic human users.


Workload Automation (WLA) is software used to design, schedule, monitor and manage scripts and executables across the enterprise.

Automation Focus

RPA focuses on frontend process automation. It's primarily for business users, installed on desktops, and utilizes bot technology.

WLA focuses on backend process automation. It's primarily for IT users, and utilizes agent technology installed on servers along with REST APIs to integrate with other applications.


RPA excels as a frontend or desktop automation tool

  • Implementation complexity: Quick for simple tasks. Spirals up as more complexity is demanded.
  • Solution scalability: Low. Able to automate desktops but it can be limited when automating servers and data centers.
  • Technical usage: Mimics user input into the application UI, file downloads from web sites, and similar tasks.
  • Cost: Low if your needs are simple and you don't have many users.
  • Scheduling and trigger options: While low-end solutions are activated by the user, high-end products provide time-based execution.
  • Use case: Facilitates mass data-entry with ease, auto-formats documents, and replaces similar repetitive end user tasks.
  • Best suited for: Business users. Minimizing data entry so they can focus on higher value responsibilities.

WLA excels as a centralized automation platform

  • Implementation complexity: More work upfront, but built to handle scalable complexity.
  • Solutions scalability: High. Can typically automate any process involving data centers, servers, and applications, as well as some mobility offerings.
  • Technical usage: Automates any executable across any number of servers in the enterprise simultaneously. Includes file transfer, mobility, and SLA monitoring.
  • Cost: Higher upfront, but less expensive at scale.
  • Scheduling and trigger options: Both time-based and event/dependency-based. Operate across all systems simultaneously, in sequence, or both.
  • Use case: Allows end-users to make processing requests or pull complicated reports with a click of a button, without making a call to IT.
  • Best suited for: IT Users. Minimizing production errors, centralized version control of scripts, audit trails, compliance and security, provisioning systems, and many others.

Business Impact

RPA provides value to organizations with a high volume of data collection or data entry, so business users can focus on the highest value work.

provides transformation IT infrastructure automation to organizations with complex needs and mixed environments. Advanced WLA products provide robust disaster recovery capabilities, APIs, and connectors.

Ready to talk to an automation expert?

SMA Technologies can help your enterprise create a comprehensive automation solution that delivers strong ROI.

In this article

RPA and WLA should both be used as a comprehensive automation solution. While RPA covers simple tasks like form-fills, WLA can handle far more complex IT process automation and integrate with third-party apps much more efficiently.

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