Unlocking value with attended automation


The digital ecosystem is growing at a staggering pace. As a result, profitability-driven businesses increasingly turn to RPA to automate front office, middle office and back office tasks. In a highly competitive and ever-changing environment, RPA enables businesses to automate repetitive tasks, resulting in higher productivity and more associate bandwidth for higher-value activities.

Processes that involve both rote tasks and higher-level cognitive functions benefit from intelligent automation. It adds value by improving process efficiencies, mitigating human errors, augmenting the end-user customer experience and saving costs. By honing in on the strengths of humans and robots, digital transformation experts can benefit a business’ bottom line.

RPA classifications

RPA bots are programmed to be part of a unified digital workforce. To free up human resources for more complex tasks, RPA can eliminate rule-based and repetitive tasks from processes, or assist with routine jobs. They can be broadly classified as:

  • Unattended/Unassisted
  • Attended/Assisted
  • Hybrid

Attended Bots/RPA

Existing as a set of design and runtime features, these Bots enable humans and digital resources to collaborate, resulting in better end-user satisfaction and retention levels.

Attended Bots enhance process efficiency; however, where processes are long and/or intricate in nature, they seek human direction to offer the most efficient decision.

For example, human intervention is warranted when a Chatbot is servicing an irate customer. Similarly, a Bot processing a borderline application in a back-end screening process could decide better with a little human guidance.

In a complex process where all tasks and sub-tasks within a workflow must be processed by a single associate, a bottleneck can occur. (This is often referred to as a ‘swivel chair interface.’) Automating most of the tasks within these complex processes can release the associate to focus on higher value tasks within the service hierarchy. This helps convert them into a more productive resource.

Note: stand alone and insular automation tools may not fit the bill in processes where Bots require human assistance to make decisions.

Benefits of Attended Bots

Boosting a volume-heavy process with advanced attended RPA capabilities drives cost-efficiencies, profitability and growth for clients:

  • Attended Bots are ideal where end-to-end process automation isn’t possible, such as in frontoffice activities and service-desk environments.
  • Attended Bots can work with humans to deliver exceptional customer service. They can be triggered by system-level events to share requisite data with humans and can handle tasks within longer and more complex processes.
  • Attended Bots are typically nested within an employee’s workstation and are triggered by specific actions, commands or events within a defined workflow.
  • Most Attended Bots are agile and user-friendly, catering to associates toggling between multiple applications, screens and interfaces, often in a clientfacing context.
  • Attended Bots are deployed with Orchestrator to enable centralized deployment and logging.
  • At a more advanced level, RPA experts program Attended Bots to handle a set of tasks before interacting with a human. Such next-gen Attended Bots are seen as potent digital partners for diversifying a set of capabilities that humans can’t do.

Concerted application of attended RPA to highly complex and error-prone processes essentially leads to swift, agile and error-free operations, thus delivering speed-to-value outcome by lending associates a better handle of everyday operations. Eventually, this enables yielding unprecedented value for business.

RPA remains a constantly maturing discipline, often expanding to include natural language and machine learning. It’s a potent cog in the wheel of technological tools that can benefit business. In the face of talent scarcity, data usage limitations, functional and communication silos that restrain end-to-end deployment, and the absence of commitment and ownership from stakeholders, a distinct roadmap for Bot execution must be developed to achieve any true business value.

Best attended bot opportunities

  • Front-Office/Contact Center Operations: Customer service specialists benefit from Attended Bots in numerous ways:
  • Aggregation of information: Attended Bots seamlessly engage documents, data and account details. This allows front desk executives to focus on high-value tasks like problem solving with information from disparate sources.
  • Data analysis: Attended Bots can analyze available customer information in real time, using insights to recommend customized products, services or solutions.

Exception handling within pre-defined workflows

This is, by far, the most one-dimensional application of Attended Bots. When a Bot discovers a glitch from an out-of-reach resource, it directs the user to an alternate execution path. For instance, an attended Bot that processes daily orders and generates reports can instantly notify the user of any database inaccessibility issues. This, ultimately, leads to a timelier resolution.

Telecom operations

Attended Bots can offer operational process guidance to associates handling customer calls by mapping critical client data between applications. This kind of real time virtual assistance enables employees to focus on clients and offer prompt resolutions, rather than wasting time with tedious data searches.

Procure to Pay (P2P) domain

Associates in Procurement or Accounts Payable can launch an Attended Bot for Purchase Order (PO) comparisons and invoice sorting. Bots can also create advanced notifications for routine tasks like shipping notices, vendor payment notifications, invoice rectification requests, check status communication, past-due invoices, monthly vendor statements, etc.

Verification of documents prior to approval

Attended Bots can handle the massive volume of Insurance claims in a timely and accurate manner to ensure cost efficiencies, internal compliance and end-user satisfaction. While most requests follow a similar pattern, some may require incremental inputs or human approval for process completion. For instance, with a disputed claim or a potential fraud attempt, Attended Bots can flag these cases for human scrutiny. Additionally, Attended Bots can process exceptions where submitted figures surpass a given pre-approved threshold and require human discretion. IE: for mortgages, human intervention is critical when making a go/ no go decision for borderline applicants.

Data gathering and review processes

Most organizations today house data sets on different platforms like CRM applications (e.g.-Salesforce), back office integrated data suites (e.g.-NetSuite), legacy supply chain databases and MS-Excel to move data between disparate sources. Attended Bots facilitate effortless and accurate data transfer requests to create process efficiencies. They help humans navigate unwieldly processes with ease. For instance, associates who process invoices may use an Attended Bot to efficiently cull information from multiple sources on all pending invoices.

Enhancing recruitment and training efficacy

Attended Bots provide fast, self-guided knowledge transfer during peak ramp-up times. They can train associates in a simulated environment with minimal trainer handholding, preparing trainees quickly. In addition, within the hiring process, most steps can be digitized. This optimizes the hiring experience and frees up human resource personnel to focus on tasks like fostering individual connections, ensuring compliance and managing key logistical requirements.

Not all processes offer end-to-end automation opportunities and often comprise tasks where humans can best serve clients in a bot-assisted environment. IE: complex, rule-driven processes and those not following a specific pattern. Furthermore, pressing client-facing situations need attended automation support to handle tedious tasks so employees can offer swift resolution customers

Lastly, Attended Bots can offer unrivaled codification skills (like comparison/ categorization of documents) to address human limitation and add value to an otherwise cumbersome process.

Bots Within the RPA Model

For processes that need human intervention, Attended Bots allow disruptions to facilitate better decisions. Attended automation, when used in conjunction with other automation modes like Unattended Bots and IQ Bots, forms the systemic and highly synergistic hybrid RPA model.

These cutting-edge technologies are not mutually exclusive. They must function collectively to create an intelligent digital workplace where employees perform higher-value work while automated Bots perform precise repetitive tasks.

A June 2019 Gartner market update revealed RPA software revenue growth to be 63.1% in 2018 (amounting to $846 million). The research firm anticipates revenue levels to hit $1.3 billion in 2019. Gartner has, evidently, tagged it the fastest-growing segment in the global enterprises for market.

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Delivering sustainable value through targeted RPA

RPA has revolutionized the modern-day workplace, with attended automation transforming the dynamic advanced automation and robotics space.

The ability to integrate humans, systems and software robots into a cohesive process remains the hallmark of any successful automation project. While Attended Bots optimize processes by servicing the non-value adding tasks, Unattended Bots execute tasks and interact with applications independent of human intervention. Both are pivotal to the success of any RPA deployment exercise.

They propel growth-centric businesses towards highly productive, cost-efficient and compassionate environments.



Written by:

Vipul Singh
Assistant Vice President, Advanced Digital
Capabilities & Solutions

Keshoo Sharma
Manager, Advanced Digital Capabilities & Solutions