You’ve probably heard robotic process automation (RPA) programs referred to as “bots”. You’ve probably also heard said bots referred to as “attended” and “unattended.” But what does that even mean? What’s the difference between attended and unattended bots? The simple answer is that attended bots work in a process that involves humans and unattended bots work independently of humans. But, like most things in technology, there is a little more to it.
Attended bots are best for when a process involves decision-based work completed by a person. The person can do “people” things, like field customer service calls while leveraging the bot to do “bot” things, like send and retrieve customer data from multiple systems, helping the human do his or her job faster and easier. Attended bots are typically for front-office activities, like helping a customer service representative by fetching customer files from one system, while the rep speaks on the phone to the customer and works in another system.
Unattended bots are best for rules-based, highly repetitive work. This might involve batched data entry and other long-running programs with very large volumes. These bots work nonstop with little to no human intervention. They are built for high-speed efficiency and productivity. Unattended bots are usually for back-office, task-heavy operations, like entering high volumes of new client data into office applications.
When Unattended and Attended Bots Work Together
If it hasn’t become clear yet, we’re getting to the best part. You don’t have to pick! Attended bots and unattended bots can work in harmony alongside the people and processes they are meant to support. In fact, using both is one of the best ways to drive returns with RPA, allowing you to scale up or down as needed at any given time. Plus, the human workforce has an opportunity to reap the benefits of automation firsthand.
Understanding the Role of the Process
Some RPA opportunities are very straightforward, with simple, well-documented processes primed for automation. Others are more complicated, with some parts suited for automation but others requiring a human element. This, as we have already outlined, is the distinction between attended and unattended bots, with attended bots being used for the tasks involving people.
But it highlights another point, and that is that, in order to make the most of RPA, you must first have a detailed understanding of your business process. Without this information, RPA can only help so much. Having clearly defined processes not only help you understand where automation can be the most valuable, but it can also help you easily decide whether to implement attended bots, unattended bots, or both.
Wondering which might be right for you? We can help. Schedule your free demo today.