Decoding the Difference between Robotic Process Automation and Test Automation

Difference between Robotic Process Automation and Test Automation
19Feb, 2021

Enterprises across sectors are looking to leverage the advantages offered by ‘Automation’ to improve product quality and enhance employee efficiency. Whether automation is performed using software tools or software bots, the end goal remains the same.

However, there is a significant amount of difference between automating testing procedures using Test Automation Tools and automating business processes using RPA (Robotic Process Automation). In this blog, we debunk the differences between RPA and Test Automation – the widely-used practices in the field of Automation.

What is RPA (Robotic Process Automation)?

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is the process of automating mundane and repetitive tasks using AI and software bots. In the case of RPA, tasks refer to business processes. RPA is witnessing a significant adoption in verticals like banking, IT, human resources, and more. As per Gartner, the worldwide revenue of RPA is expected to reach $2 Billion by end of 20211.

The major advantage of RPA over traditional automation is that automation can be performed without writing a single line of code. In RPA, software bots are installed on the target machines where business process automation has to be performed. The RPA tool (or bot) creates a list of actions by observing the tasks carried out by the user on the software’s GUI. Once the bot learns those ‘series of actions’, it can automatically run the steps without any manual intervention. As mundane & repetitive tasks are automated by RPA, employees can now focus on more skill-based tasks.

Also Read: A Complete Guide to Dos and Don’ts of Test Automation

Sample use cases of RPA in the Banking Industry

Banking is one field where manual business processes are used to a large extent and manual errors can lead to ‘financial damages’. RPA can play a huge role in automating the following areas in the banking sector:

  • KYC (Know Your Customer) Compliance
  • Loan processing
  • Credit Card Processing
  • Fraud Detection
  • Automating information movement across applications, and more.

Benefits of Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

Now that we have covered the basics of RPA, let’s look at some of the inherent benefits of RPA (not limited to a particular sector):

  • Elimination of mundane and repetitive tasks
  • Improved employee efficiency
  • Non-Invasive Technology
  • Process Improvements
  • Improved CX (Customer Experience)
  • Adherence to Compliance Standards

Akin to test automation, it is recommended to choose the best RPA tool that can drive value to your business. When it comes to test automation, enterprises (or businesses) should leverage the experience and expertise of a proven automation testing company like KiwiQA, as the approach can have long-term benefits.

Also Read: Automation Testing Vs. Manual Testing

What is Test Automation?

In contrast to RPA, test automation is normally used for automating repetitive test scenarios. Automation testing for web products can be performed using test automation frameworks like Selenium, Cypress, etc. With so many test automation tools available in the market, it becomes essential to choose the best tool for automation testing that adds value to the testing process.

Many product enterprises also prefer to partner with a company that is into automation testing services since the services firm has immense expertise working with a varied set of clientele.

In a fiercely competitive software field, Time to Market (TTM) has become more important than before. Test automation in combination with CI (Continuous Integration)/CD (Continuous Delivery) tools, aid in reducing the feedback and testing cycles. This enables enterprises to release products to the market at a faster pace.

As far as test automation is concerned, codeless automation testing is a growing trend where test scenarios are automated without writing a single line of code. Though there is no code involved in the automation process, Codeless Automation is not the same as Robotic Process Automation (RPA).

Benefits of Test Automation

Irrespective of the methodology (Code or No Code) used for test automation, automation testing offers a wide range of benefits:

  • Automation of repetitive test scenarios
  • Faster detection and resolution of bugs
  • Improved test coverage
  • Faster TTM

Does this mean that manual testing is irrelevant? Definitely not! Manual testing is still used for testing scenarios where the benefits offered by manual testing outweigh those offered by test automation. However, the recommendation is to leverage the benefits of test automation during the product testing process.

Automation Testing

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) vs. Test Automation – The Final Showdown

It is now clear that the offerings of RPA and Test Automation are centered around ‘Automation’. Both are used for automating tasks, improving product quality, and increasing efficiency. However, there is a basic difference between the ‘why’ of RPA and Test Automation.

Test Automation is used for automating testing procedures with the aid of relevant software tools. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is used for automating business procedures with the aid of software robots (or bots).

Both test automation and RPA drive significant benefits to the business but the target business segment for automation is different! Most of the widely used test automation tools and RPA tools offer mobile device automation, along with the option to choose from in-house & cloud-based (SaaS) variants.

Here is the head-to-head comparison between Test Automation and Robotic Process Automation:

Test Automation

Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

Used for automating testing procedures (or test scenarios) in a product Used for automating business processes
Can be performed using Code and Codeless automation tools Does not require development or access to any kind of source code
Can be implemented across a range of environments (Prod, Release, etc.). Lets you accelerate the TTM through the usage of popular CI/CD tools (e.g. Jenkins, Circle CI, etc.). Requires a single production environment


Test automation and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) are both used for automation purposes. However, test automation automates test scenarios and RPA automates business processes. The target segment of both the tools is different, RPA is primarily used in organizations where there are complex systems that interact with each other for data sharing, processing requests, and more.

In case a business does not have in-house test automation expertise, it should partner with an automation testing services company since it is a win-win situation for all the stakeholders. The bottom line is “Automation is a must for technology-led (or technology-first) businesses” and it is essential to leverage the advantages offered by Automation for the growth of the business.

Avatar for Mit Thakkar
About The Author
Digital Marketer at KiwiQA: Software Testing Service Provider Company Worldwide.