What’s the difference between attended and unattended bots?



Bots have entered our workplaces.

Robotic process automation (RPA) has risen in use in recent years. With the continued push for digital transformation, RPA is introducing a new digital workforce to the office.

Comprised of bots, this digital workforce is augmenting the work we do daily. But the way they do so varies based on bot type.

Here, we explore the two most prevalent types of bot that RPA brings to your office. Attended and unattended bots: what’s the difference?


RPA bots

In robotic process automation, software referred to as ‘bots’ complete tasks for you. They work via the user interface, manipulating your programs and systems the same way a human would.

But there’s a little more to it. Not all RPA bots are created equal, and there are different types that work in different days. Namely, there are attended and unattended bots.

While both help automate your processes, attended and unattended bots are better placed for front office and back office tasks respectively.

So, let’s look a loot a little closer at what this means.


Level of human intervention

Attended and unattended bots differ in terms of the level of human attention or support they use.

Unattended bots, as the name suggests, are those that are left to get on with things. That is, they aren’t supervised or supported by a human. Once set up, unattended bots operate in the background. They trigger and complete tasks automatically, without human intervention.

Attended bots, meanwhile, work in conjunction with individual human team members. They augment your teams’ workloads with automation, to help workflows run smoother. Attended bots operate under the direction of your team. So, they don’t trigger without human intervention.


Type of process

Due to their core differences, attended and unattended bots also differ in the types of processes and tasks they automate.

•        Unattended bots

Unattended bots handle repetitive, frequent and simple processes. These are the tasks that can break down into step-by-step rules. They need to happen repeatedly or on a mass scale but completing them is formulaic.

For example, think manual data entry, email management, repetitive admin, monitoring, and so on. (Essentially, any back office task.) Unattended bots take on processes like these from start to finish.  

•        Attended bots

Attended bots, meanwhile, handle the simple steps of much bigger processes. Because they work in conjunction with human team members, attended bots automate parts of more complex workflows. As such, they largely handle tasks for individual employees. They don’t operate at an at-scale basis.

In this way, attended bots act like mini automation assistants. A popular example is in a customer service setting. A human team member can handle talking to a customer, while triggering the bot to pull customer information, for instance. The bot helps the agent support the customer.


Combine attended and unattended bots

Attended and unattended bots each have unique benefits to bring to your business. While unattended bots free the team from rote work, attended bots help the other tasks run smoother.

As such, the best way to get the most out of your RPA is to use both types of bots to support your team. That way, you maximise the benefits that automation has to offer.

Are you in need of an automation platform? Then look no further than ThinkAutomation. Get started today, with a 30-day free trial.


Useful links

The new buzzword: what is robotic process automation?

What are software bots?

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