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

Question:

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

Answer:

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.