This post is about the difference between Front-office and Back-office automation, what attended automation 2.0 is, and how new Productivity Packs allow users to automate directly within other apps, like Excel or Google Sheets. The information about this topic is given by Sirisha Damarapati, Principal Production Engineer, Automation Anywhere. She is specifically focused among other things on attended automation which is a set of features that focuses on how bots and humans can interact on a daily basis.
Attended automation is where you have humans interacting with the bots. The human can communicate with the bot. While the bot is executing it runs into an exception. The human is brought into the loop to help with the exception and move it forward because bots are not always self-learning. As you know, AI helps somewhat but there are still certain aspects of it that require human intervention.
A lot of these automated tasks were scheduled off to the Back-office, the Back-office meaning it runs on a remotes virtual machine on a remote server, it’s been scheduled to run, there is no human intervention there. It goes off and runs on a device. But as the platforms have matured, as the features have matured, where the bots can actually run on your desktop while you doing other things they’re looking at how to move some of those tasks previously sent to Back-office so it could be automated, now bringing back to the front. So a typical example for a Front-office would be a bank teller or a contact center agent that you would call in if you had a problem with your phone. The back-office side of things is people who are processing your orders in the Back-office. They’re still doing tasks that could be easily automated, easily repeatable kinds of tasks and so that’s where the back-end and the front-end distinction come into the picture.
Sirisha and her team did a lot of rework, re-platforming, rethinking how things are done. Just in the last quarter of last year, they came up with something called Productivity Apps. They’re increasing their touchpoints to various applications people use on a daily basis and that’s a key thing for attended automation. Nowadays, Automation Anywhere makes life easy to run bots for someone who’s using Google sheets or an Excel or who is working with Microsoft Teams without having to use a different platform to get the same work done. There’s been a lot of traction, they’re gonna continue to invest in that. And they’re also building their own native apps, user experience apps that people will be able to take with the bots. It’s not a separate platform, it doesn’t require a separate install. It’s just part of everything that you’re doing with the bots. It’s the same install, same footprint but you’ll have extra apps that will be running on your desktop, just giving you various ways to do the same things, which is giving you more options, more touchpoints.
Automation Anywhere’s team wants to deliver a solution that resonates, not a solution that you sit in isolation and build and that’s always been the vendor’s motto to be user-centric.