What Is Robotic Process Automation (RPA): Unattended, Attended and Hybrid?
By Mary Lou Joseph
Posted in Customer Engagement
Robotic Process Automation, or RPA, is a hot topic right now. But what exactly is it?
Essentially, RPA is the use of software robots that can be programmed or trained to execute repetitive, rules-based tasks currently performed by employees. Examples include data entry, data capture and categorization, copying and pasting, and many of the steps in such processes as billing and accounts payable, claims or loan processing, or order fulfillment. Through this video, learn more about RPA.
But wait! RPA is not a one-size-fits-all solution. In fact, currently there are three forms of RPA: Unattended, attended and a new hybrid offering--here are the differences.
RPA in its purest form: software robots that can execute process steps for repetitive, rules-based tasks. They can process work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, the exact same way--reducing or even eliminating errors. The robots live on a virtual machine or server, which can house a virtual, digital workforce of cross-skilled robots to draw upon for different tasks and processes as volumes or priorities ebb and flow.
It's as if you own a personal temp agency you can call on during seasonal peaks to help handle an influx of requests. Want help deciding which processes are prime for unattended automation? Read this executive perspective.
Attended automation is like having your own personal coach. The robot works alongside you, the human worker, offering processing assistance. An employee can have the robot "show me" how to do a task or process, or ask the robot to "do it for me."
For example, you may want new hires to leverage the "show me" option as they learn a new process. But once they understand how it works, they could have the robot do the process step for them. Such steps might include:
Attended automations can also prevent employees from performing tasks, such as approving loans above their authorization credentials.
Hybrid automation combines attended and unattended RPA and enables the passing of work to robots automatically or by employee prompt, allowing the robot and employee to work on different tasks simultaneously. This ability to move work back and forth between the robots and employee works especially well for processes that have:
The knowledge worker is needed to make judgment calls based on the context and data available. They can also use creative thinking to identify new, innovative ways of working.
These are three ways to improve efficiencies, accuracy and employee engagement. Want an example of Hybrid Automation in action? Read the eBook: Humans and RPA Robots Working Side-by-Side: Are You Ready?
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