Understanding Differences Between Cognitive RPA & BI

In today’s data-driven business landscape, automation plays a critical role in streamlining processes, boosting efficiency, and gaining valuable insights. Two prominent technologies at the forefront of automation are cognitive automation and business intelligence (BI). While both offer distinct functionalities, understanding their differences is crucial for maximizing their potential benefits. 


Cognitive Automation: Mimicking Human Intelligence 

Cognitive automation, a subset of Robotic Process Automation (RPA), leverages artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to automate tasks that require a degree of human-like judgement and decision-making.   

Unlike traditional RPA tools that rely on pre-defined rules and scripts, cognitive automation emulates human cognitive functions like learning, reasoning, and problem-solving. It achieves this through the application of technologies such as natural language processing (NLP), computer vision, and machine learning (ML). 


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Here’s a breakdown of some key characteristics of cognitive automation: 

  • Advanced Data Processing 

Cognitive automation goes beyond structured data, handling unstructured information like emails, documents, and images through NLP and computer vision. 

  • Learning and Adaptability 

These tools continuously learn from their interactions with data and can adapt to changing circumstances, improving their performance over time through machine learning algorithms. 

  • Exception Handling 

Unlike traditional RPA, cognitive automation can handle exceptions and unexpected situations by analyzing the context and making informed decisions. 


Applications of Cognitive Automation 

  • Customer Service: Chatbots powered by cognitive automation can handle customer inquiries, resolve issues, and even personalize interactions. 
  • Fraud Detection: These tools can analyze financial transactions and identify patterns indicative of fraudulent activity. 
  • Document Processing: Cognitive automation can extract information from complex documents, invoices, and contracts, streamlining data entry processes. 
  • Risk Management: By analyzing vast amounts of data, cognitive automation can help identify potential risks and recommend proactive measures. 


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Business Intelligence: Unlocking the Power of Data 

Business intelligence (BI) focuses on transforming raw data into actionable insights that can inform strategic decision-making. It encompasses a suite of technologies and processes for data collection, analysis, reporting, and visualization. 


Here are some key features of Business Intelligence

  • Data Integration 

BI tools can gather data from various sources, including databases, CRM systems, and operational applications, creating a unified view of the organization’s data landscape. 

  • Data Analysis 

BI platforms offer a range of analytical tools for identifying trends, correlations, and patterns within the data. This allows users to understand past performance and predict future outcomes. 

  • Data Visualization 

BI tools present data in clear and concise dashboards and reports, making it easier for users to grasp complex information quickly. 


Applications of Business Intelligence 

  • Sales Performance Monitoring: BI dashboards can track key sales metrics, giving managers real-time insights into sales pipeline health and identifying potential areas for improvement. 
  • Marketing Campaign Optimization: BI tools can analyze data on customer behavior and marketing campaign performance, allowing marketers to optimize campaigns for better results. 
  • Financial Reporting: BI platforms automate financial reporting processes, providing accurate and insightful financial data to support informed financial decisions. 
  • Operational Efficiency Analysis: BI dashboards can track operational metrics, allowing businesses to identify bottlenecks and optimize processes for improved efficiency. 


Understanding the Key Differences 

While both cognitive automation and BI play essential roles in driving organizational success, they address different needs: 

  • Focus: Cognitive automation focuses on automating tasks, while BI focuses on providing insights from data. 
  • Data Type: Cognitive automation excels at handling unstructured data, while BI primarily deals with structured data. 
  • Decision-Making: Cognitive automation assists in making individual task-level decisions, while BI supports broader strategic decision-making. 
  • User Interface: Cognitive automation tools are often designed for specific tasks or functions. BI platforms are typically designed for data analysis and reporting by a wider range of users. 


A Synergistic Approach: Combining Cognitive Automation and BI 

These two technologies are not mutually exclusive; in fact, they can be highly complementary. Cognitive automation can leverage the insights gained from BI to make more informed decisions within its automated processes.  For instance, a BI system might identify a trend in customer inquiries, which can then be used to train a chatbot powered by cognitive automation to better address those specific inquiries. 

Conversely, BI systems can benefit from the data collected by cognitive automation tools.  For example, information extracted from documents by cognitive automation tools can be fed into a BI platform to gain deeper insights into specific business processes.  By combining these technologies, organizations can create a more integrated and data-driven environment, fostering automation that is not only efficient but also insightful. 



Cognitive automation and business intelligence are powerful tools that can revolutionize how organizations operate. Understanding their distinct functionalities and strengths allows businesses to leverage them effectively.  By harnessing cognitive automation for task automation and BI for gaining business intelligence, organizations can create a holistic automation strategy that drives efficiency, improves decision-making, and ultimately fuels competitive advantage. 


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FAQs on RPA & BI 


How can RPA (Robotic Process Automation) improve customer engagement? 

RPA automates repetitive tasks in customer service, freeing up agents to focus on more complex interactions. This can lead to faster resolution times and a more personalized experience for customers. 


How can BI (Business Intelligence) be used to improve customer engagement? 

BI analyzes customer data to identify trends and patterns. This information can be used to personalize marketing campaigns, target customer support resources, and develop new products and services that better meet customer needs. 


Can RPA and BI be used together to improve customer engagement? 

Absolutely! RPA can automate tasks based on insights from BI, such as sending personalized follow-up emails or proactively reaching out to at-risk customers. This combination creates a more seamless and efficient customer experience. 



eDAS is a leading provider of digital automation solutions, offering cutting-edge Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions to help businesses operate more efficiently. Their comprehensive array of products, solutions and services are tailored to meet each customer’s unique needs. eDAS has a strong presence in India, Africa, the Middle-East, the UK, and USA, and serves both enterprise and mid-market customers around the globe. Their mission is to help customers simplify their business operations through digital transformation. They pursue this goal by utilizing the latest technologies and delivering uncompromised quality to achieve an improved customer experience, greater data exchange, enhanced security and process-oriented solutions. 

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