Attended, Unattended, and Hybrid RPA Technology
Through the application of robotic process automation (RPA), businesses around the world have been able to streamline their operations while simultaneously providing consumers with higher-quality products and services. To this point, while RPA can be implemented in a number of different ways, all classifications of the technology fall under 3 separate categories as it pertains to their internal functionality. These categories include attended RPA, unattended RPA, and hybrid RPA respectively. Subsequently, these 3 forms of automation have led to new business opportunities within industries including software development, information technology, and agriculture, among a host of others.
Beginning with attended RPA, this form of automation refers to tools that must be initiated by a human employee, in contrast to those that are automatically triggered by another mechanism. To illustrate this point further, when a consumer calls the customer service line for a particular business and has their call transferred to an automated system in order to pay their bill or close their online account is interacting with attended RPA. To this end, human customer service representatives are responsible for transferring the calls of consumers under these circumstances, as the automated process cannot function without their manual input.
With all this being said, one of the primary benefits of attended RPA is increased efficiency, as a human employee can handle all job functions that require a certain amount of knowledge or expertise, and then enable an RPA tool to handle all of the mundane or repetitive tasks such as updating billing information, checking the return status of an order, setting up automatic payments, etc. Moreover, this improved level of operational efficiency also allows businesses to allocate time and resources to other more relevant tasks and objectives.
On the other hand, unattended RPA refers to automation tools that are triggered automatically without the need for manual human input. Likewise, the most common type of unattended RPA are tools that operate within the backend of IT infrastructure, as these tools can be automatically triggered when a specific task or event occurs. For example, a business could employ an automated cybersecurity process that is used to monitor network traffic. This process could be designed to search for patterns known as cyberattack signatures, defined as “a one-of-a-kind set of data that can be used to track down an attacker’s attempt to exploit a known fault in the operating system or application”, in an effort to reduce cyber attacks.
Alternatively, a bank could use an unattended RPA tool to automatically flag any suspicious activity or transactions that occur within the accounts of one of its customers. Due to the sheer number of transactions that occur within a single day globally, assigning a human employee to do this task would be unfeasible. This being the case, one of the primary benefits of unattended RPA is the ability to leverage technology within areas of business where the limitations of the human mind and body make certain tasks impossible. Without the use of these tools, many of the automatic notifications that consumers receive when their bank account is overdrawn, their data has been compromised during a data breach, or their item has been shipped to their address after making a purchase would be impracticable.
Finally, the third category of RPA is known as hybrid RPA, which refers to automated systems that contain both attended and unattended aspects. Due to the fact that hybrid RPA functions to combine the best of both worlds with respect to RPA, it is the most common type of automation that is currently being used by businesses around the world today. For instance, a retail company could deploy an unattended bot to analyze data within the background, and then present its findings to an employee for further analysis and review. Next, this employee in question could then press a button to initiate a series of actions, such as updating the contact information for a customer’s online account.
Due to the inherent uncertainty of business, there are many situations where relying on an unattended or attended RPA system would prove to be suboptimal, as a process that has been designed to be fully automated may need to be reviewed manually under certain circumstances and vice versa. In this way, one of the primary benefits of the hybrid RPA approach is the level of flexibility that it offers organizations, as has been already stated. While a business looking to employ an unattended or attended RPA tool within a specific organizational context might face certain challenges when looking to do so, combing these approaches can overcome these limitations in practice.
Robotic Process Automation has offered businesses the opportunity to completely transform the manner in which they serve their customers, as many objectives and tasks that would have taken a team of human resources to complete at previous points in history can now be performed automatically with minimal input. In this way, RPA has benefited society on a macro level as well, as human beings can spend less time completing tedious or painful tasks. For this reason, RPA continues to be implemented within a wide range of business models with each passing day.