My view is that APIs are always superior for integration.
The only time to use RPAs (Robot Process Automation) are:
1. One or both of the systems to be integrated either lack an API, or the ability to call APIs.
2. The systems are legacy, and cannot be modified to provide/call APIs, or the cost of implementing an API is prohibitive given the budget or timeline.
The reason that APIs are always preferable is that the process is robust, consistent, and straight forward. CIOs should always favor environments that work consistently, and correctly, with no surprises.
With RPAs, even with the help of today's AI, you are dealing with using software to replicate a human being interacting with a user interface. Menus can change, be inconsistent among different screens, and screen renderings can be affected by network effects. Creators of software interfaces designed and tested their software for use by humans, not automation. Humans can quickly adjust to slight variations.
APIs, on the other hand, are designed specifically for bypassing human interfaces, and making software to software calls.
© 2019 Praveen Puri
Praveen Puri is the Strategic Simplicity® expert who has delivered over $400 million in value. He helps clients identify the key changes that result in dramatic improvement. Visit PuriConsulting.com