Top Menu

What’s the difference between attended and unattended robotic process automation (RPA)?


What’s the difference between attended and unattended robotic process automation (RPA)?


Robotic process automation’s two primary categories, attended and unattended, both perform automated processes by emulating human workers. Unattended automation is used to fully automate high-volume transaction-based activities and processes. Unattended automations are generally leveraged in task-heavy back-office environments; however. some repetitive end-to-end contact center processes can be completed using unattended RPA. Unattended robotic process automation can run on a dedicated workstation, server, web or mainframe. Once programmed, unattended RPA solutions do not require human intervention; they replace work performed manually by employees with a fully automated process. Unattended RPA applications can be invoked by a schedule or timer, a trigger such as an email, file or queue task, called up by another application, or can run on-demand.

Attended RPA is more commonly used in contact centers. Attended automations run on the agent’s desktop and are invoked by the user via context-based screen triggers, an embedded screen button or hot key, etc. An attended RPA application “works” alongside agents to improve productivity and quality. It provides employees with real-time process guidance and automates routine activities associated with the process in a fast and accurate manner. Attended and unattended RPA can also be used together in a hybrid model. A task can start with an agent and be enabled by an attended automation, which can kick-off unattended RPA to complete the process. Both attended and unattended automation software can be deployed without modification to the applications or systems being automated.