The Side Gloss

Automation Terminology

Sidekick’s glossary of automation terminology to help you navigate your automated procedure journey.


An algorithm is a step-by-step guide outlining how to do something. In automation software, algorithms are the precise instructions telling the computer how to do a task or manipulate data.


Refers to making a task, workflow or process happen automatically. So, routine tasks are completed in an efficient way, without human intervention.

Attended Automation:

Typically utilised as a front-office solution. Attended Automation is installed on a desktop computer to increase productivity. Attended bots automate processes but from time when a process or procedure requires human judgment, the attended bot can be interrupted so the human can make the best decision. Attended bots are ideal for call-centres, where a customer might need specific information. Attended automation can be combined with other automation solutions such as Unattended Automation and Cognitive Automation to form a hybrid RPA model.

Artificial Intelligence (AI):

Technology intended to respond to and learn from stimulation in a similar way to human responses with a level of understanding and judgement that’s normally only found in human expertise.

Business Process Automation (BPA):

The full name for automation software in businesses. It refers to the automation of businesses processes, whether those are simple tasks or complex workflows.

Business Process Management (BPM):

The practice of using modelling, automation, data insights to optimise business activities, enterprise goals, and employee operations.

Centre of Excellence (CoE):

A department within an organisation set up in the early of the RPA journey to support the implementation and ongoing deployment of RPA. This team uses RPA tools and technical experience to identify and manage the organisation’s RPA journey. The team generally includes members from multiple departments across an organisation.

Cognitive Automation (CA):

Cognitive automation leverages different algorithms and technology approaches such as such as natural language processing, image processing, pattern recognition, text analytics and contextual analyses to make intuitive leaps, perceptions, and judgments. Advantages resulting from cognitive automation also include improvement in compliance and overall business quality, greater operational scalability, reduced turnaround, and lower error rates.

Computer Vision:

The technology that allows automation software to recognise and interact with information from images or multi-dimensional sources that can be used for artificial intelligence, machine learning, and pattern recognition.

Digital Innovation (DI):

DI is about designing disruptive business models to solve complex problems and deliver value to stakeholders. It blends technology, people, processes and data to deliver value by elevating the customer experience. It can be built around the way companies operate, engage or interact within their ecosystem of customers, partners and vendors.

Enterprise RPA:

An RPA scenario where a company aims to automate and optimise the execution and rollout of RPA robots, not just the creation of them. This includes a strategy for how the robots are deployed in relation to human teams throughout the organisation, supported by a flexible process flow.

Full-Time Equivalent (FTE):

The amount of work a full-time employee does in a department, or on a certain project.

Graphical User Interface:

A method of computer interaction that allows users to trigger program actions with windows, icons, and menus.

Industry-Specific Processes:

Processes that are unique to a specific industry, such as fraud claims discovery in banking for example.


The ability of automation software to communicate and work with other programs and technology. Often referred to as System Integration.


An architecture where a single instance of a software application is used by multiple teams/departments.

Optical Character Recognition (OCR):

Software that singles out letters and symbols in PDFs files, images, and paper documents that enables users to edit the content of the documents digitally.


To parse literally means ‘to break down into components’. Automated parsing is the search for and extracting of information from inbound text such as emails, documents, messages, language etc.

Proof of concept (POC):

A test run of the planned automation to discover its limitations and help ensure the robot works as intended.

RPA Journey:

The end-to-end journey from creation change—operational and cultural—that will empower your workforce to be more productive and more creative.

Robotic Operations Centre (ROC):

A robotics department which specialises in rapid automation and high-quality, low-cost change management. Where a CoE supports early RPA implementation and roll-out, an ROC supports existing robots, automates new processes, manages RPA-related security and performs compliance functions for more mature RPA models. An RoC is a structured department with a defined budget and operational service-level agreements.

RPA Roadmap:

A plan that comes after the automation design phase and provides companies with guidelines to meet their RPA goals. This includes a cost-benefit analysis of the processes selected for automation.

RPA Environment:

The combined processes that have been automated in a company, usually within a singular department.

RPA Operating Model:

The plan for how RPA will be designed and rolled out. This often involves process architects, technology experts/advisors, and ongoing maintenance and support staff. The model will vary company from company and industry to industry.

Rule-Based System:

Rule-based logic sits at the core of most automated processes. Rule sets are human-crafted or curated.

Screen Scraping:

Copying data from one application to another using a computer program.

Sentiment Analysis:

A language parsing tool that analyses written text to find the sentiment behind it. With automation, this is a process that can happen automatically for any inbound written text such as: emails, blogs, social media posts, live chat conversations, and online reviews.

Single Source of Truth (SSOT):

An information architecture practice of storing data, files etc. exactly once to ensure everyone in an organisation uses the same data when enacting business procedures or when making business decisions.

Software robots:

Software robots automate tasks by interacting with applications and systems through a graphical user interface or command-line interface to carry out routine tasks. They can take a number of forms such as; a chatbot, web crawler bots and rule-based automation bots.

Task Automation:

When various software, hardware, and other technologies are used to minimise or reduce the amount of time a human spends doing a given task.


A trigger is a business ‘event’ that sets off an automated workflow. For example, an email lands in an inbox, it sets off an email parser, which finds a triggering keyword that sets off the next task, and so on.

Unattended Automation:

Software bots execute tasks and interact with applications independent of human involvement. Unattended bots can be triggered by events and they can be scheduled. Administrators can view, analyse, and deploy scheduling, reporting, auditing, monitoring, and modification functions in real-time from a centralised hub.


A series of tasks or procedures that take a given job from start to finish. Automation software can handle portions of or entire workflows.