RDA, also called attended RPA, is Robotic Process Automation (RPA) for the masses. RPA includes:
- Attended RPA which enables most knowledge workers to automate their work
- Unattended RPA which runs in the background, completing tasks in batches
- Hybrid: A combination of attended and unattended RPA tasks.
Read our RPA article’s types of RPA section for more on definition of different types RPA.
Just for clarity, we have seen the terms “RDA”, “attended RPA”, “personal bots” or “software assistants” used to mean the same type of program. We’ll refer to this type of program as “RDA” in this article but we also refer to it as “attended RPA” in other articles.
Why is RDA relevant now?
RDA facilitates human/bot collaboration. Sadly or luckily (based on how you view AI), cognitive capabilities of bots are quite limited when compared to humans. Therefore most of the time it’s not possible to completely automate a process, there are parts of a process that need to be evaluated by humans. With RDA, bots perform their tasks and then allow the human to make the necessary judgement calls/communication after which the simple parts of the tasks can be handed over to the bot.
What are the benefits of RDA?
Benefits of RDA are not much different from benefits of RPA which we explained in detail. RDA’s primary benefit is that it helps knowledge workers become more efficient, allowing them to outsource simple tasks to bots.
Who uses RDA?
RDA is suitable for any knowledge worker. Most common area of application is call centres because call centers have highly consistent processes to ensure that customer experience is consistent. Consistency is automation’s best friend.
As reps work on sales or customer service, they need to access various systems like CRM and need to undertake actions that would take them multiple clicks and switching between screens. With RDA, they can complete these actions with a single click.
How does it work?
Once the steps to be automated is decided, RDA program is prepared (possibly without coding, only using a user interface).
Launcher for RPA can be setup in 3 main ways to facilitate employee’s access to the tool. Launcher can be
- on an RPA client tool where the customer service rep select the bot to be launched
- embedded on the personnel screen when certain conditions are met (e.g. when the rep is talking to a customer)
- auto-run when certain conditions are met. For example if some KYC check needs to be performed on newly acquired customer phone numbers, bot can be launched as soon as the phone number field is filled. In this manner, RPA bots can be launched automatically with no intervention from the employee.
What are the right tools for RDA?
While we already provided a comprehensive list of criteria for RPA tool selection, there are a few aspects which are especially important for attended automation solutions:
- Concurrency: If a human worker can not work on her workstation while the bot is working, then RDA is not feasible for process steps that take a long time for a bot to complete. Therefore, vendors started offering RDA solutions that allow bots to work on the same workstation as the employee at the same time which means employees no longer need to wait for RDA bots to finish their job.
- Ease of programming: Since these are simpler processes, no code solutions are advantageous against more complex solutions
- System requirements: Since these bots get programmed/run on end user devices, system requirements are important
Concurrency enables a bot and a human to work on the same workstation at the same time, eliminating unnecessary wait times for human workers.
Eliminating wait time is important because not all bot work is instantaneous. For example, pulling customer data from legacy systems can take 5-10 seconds as it relies on legacy system data load times. While 5-10 seconds is a short period of time, it is quite noticeable and disrupts employee’s continuous work. Crawling data online takes even longer. For example, a contact center agent may want to use an RDA bot to get public data from social media sites about the current lead she is talking to. This process can take up to 10-20 seconds depending on page load times.
Unfortunately, most RDA providers do not offer this feature. Since RDA (and also RPA) relies on using UX like a human, it is natural for bots to use the same UX as the employee. It takes significant additional development effort to be able to offer bots that can work on a containerized UX so they do not disturb the human working on the same workstation. We have verified that Argos RPA+ is offering this functionality but have not been able to verify this with another team yet.
Ease of programming
No code RPA solutions that we explored previously make sense to use in RDA.
RDA tends to be simpler than unattended RPA because it is used in areas where there’s frequent handover between bot and human, leading a high number of simpler programs. No code solutions are ideal for preparing such automation solutions because:
- they are easier to use and can enable the workforce to build the automations they need
- faster to implement. As your workforce becomes familiar with the tools, they’ll take over some of the programming tasks and your company would not need to procure with implementation partners. Procurement process can be a major cause of delay for simple automation programs.
- easier to maintain
Slowing down workstations can be quite a drain on productivity and could reduce the benefits of bot/human cooperation through RDA. We compared various RPA tools in terms of system requirements with support from various RPA companies. Please feel free to contribute or leave a comment on this, the dramatic differences also surprised us.
|RPA solution provider||OS||Free disk space (GB excluding free space used by OS)||Memory (GB)||CPU (GHz)||Installed size (MB)|
|Blue Prism||Windows Server||10||8||2.6||Free version N/A|
|Nissho Electronics Bizrobo! Basic||Windows|
|5||5||3.3||Free version N/A|
|2||2||2.5||Free version N/A|
Now that you know about RDA, you may want to