How to Choose Between Robotic Process Automation and Back-End System Automation?

Esko Penttinen, Henje Kasslin, Aleksandre Asatiani

Research output: Unpublished contribution to conferenceUnpublished Conference Paperpeer-review


Recent literature has identified two main types of IT-enabled innovation and labelled them as lightweight IT and heavyweight IT. In this study, we look into robotic process automation (RPA) as lightweight IT and traditional back-end system automation as heavyweight IT and study how a case company Telco makes the choice between these two alternative ways of implementing automation. Drawing on an empirical study conducted at Telco examining two automation projects, we find support for earlier studies addressing specifically the choice problem of RPA. Our main contribution lies in uncovering the role of the two-dimensional feature stability on the choice. While heavyweight IT is preferred when system architecture is stable, lightweight IT, operating on the presentation layer, holds a prerequisite of stable system interfaces.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jun 2018
EventEuropean Conference on Information Systems 2018 - Portsmouth, United Kingdom
Duration: 23 Jun 201828 Jun 2018


ConferenceEuropean Conference on Information Systems 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom

Bibliographical note

© 2018 The Authors


  • Robotic Process Automation
  • business process
  • lightweight IT
  • heavyweight IT
  • system architecture
  • RPA


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