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VMblog Expert Interview: Bright Data Explores Findings on Bots - Benefits, Key Functions, Regulation, and Futures

interview-brightdata-orgad 

Bright Data recently released new research that highlights the increased role bots are playing in automating key corporate functions, including customer service, web data collections and more.  To find out more and better understand, VMblog spoke with Omri Orgad, Managing Director, North America for Bright Data.

VMblog:  To kick things off, give readers a general overview of bots and how they can benefit an organization.

Omri Orgad:  Organizations use bots to support processes through enhancing efficiency. They automate manual work that's often repetitive, mundane, and time-consuming. This helps organizations in two ways: First, bots make it faster to complete time-consuming tasks, and second, they give an organization's team members time back in their day to focus on the more creative and productive aspects of their jobs.

Recently, bots have received a bad reputation, perhaps unjustly so. We need to remember that bots are a technology tool and, as such, they are neither good nor bad. The people responsible for bots' actions should make sure that bots are being used for the sole purpose they were invented for - automating time-consuming, repetitive actions to make us more efficient.

VMblog:  What are some of the key functions bots carry out on a daily basis?

Orgad:  Customer service is the most common use of bots in corporate environments, according to our recent bots research study conducted with Vanson Bourne. While real people - the customer service representatives - are working with customers, bots are acting in the background to pull up helpful information that can guide the representative through the call to deal with queries and questions and to predict solutions. 

Data-related applications are the second-most common use of bots across the survey's UK (69%) and US (48%) respondents. This is due to the increased role of data-driven decision-making that many organizations are turning to. Other common uses of bots revealed in the survey include cybersecurity (51%), automating backend tasks (35%), automated trading (23%), and social media engagement (22%).

VMblog:  What are the general attitudes towards bot regulation?  Are businesses satisfied with the current level of regulation on bots?

Orgad:  Bots are an advanced automated tool, and we need to make sure that this innovative tool is not abused. I'm happy to see that those surveyed also agree with me. Generally, organizations have a very accepting attitude towards bot regulation. Forty-eight percent of US respondents surveyed said they have guidelines in place to moderate all uses of bots, while another 48% said they have guidelines relating to some use of bots. In the UK, these figures are 57% and 40%, respectively. It's promising to see that many organizations have taken on the responsibility of creating in-house standards and guidelines on bot use. 

However, the majority of organizations feel that the level of bot regulation is unsatisfactory. Currently, 45% of US organizations and 33% of UK organizations say they actively want to see increased external regulation of bots. This need should be met, sooner rather than later, with a comprehensive industry-wide framework that addresses bot usage from all angles. As the existing regulation dealing with bots mainly focuses on data privacy, we need to expand it so that it addresses many other aspects that are just as important. This is a matter of urgency and is vital to driving our real-time economy forward.

VMblog:  Who manages oversight of bot development within an organization?

Orgad:  Fifty-two percent of US organizations and 50% of UK organizations said that their IT team primarily dictates or controls the bots used in their organizations. This response is expected.  However, it's important for the C-suite to be aware of and involved with bot deployment in their organization. Why? The C-suite is the driver and influence for all decision-making within a company. Having executive leadership champion bot use can help get the right tools, guidelines and buy-in required to run a responsible and successful bot deployment program that champions clear compliance-driven guidelines.

VMblog:  Are organizations outsourcing their bot deployment, or handling bots in-house?

Orgad:  The general consensus is that bots are outsourced, at least to a degree. Thirty-eight percent of US organizations and 19% of UK organizations said that they outsource the majority of their bot operations. More commonly, 53% of US organizations and 74% of UK organizations said that they outsource some of their bot operations. Overall, only 8% of surveyed IT leaders report that their organization does not outsource operations carried out by bots to third parties.

My advice, especially for organizations just starting to develop and deploy bots within their organization's data operations, would be to outsource bot operations. The bot space is so fast-moving that outsourcing responsibilities to a third-party provider frees up time and makes it easier for financial services, IT, and technology teams to focus on what they know best. That being said, it is important to select a partner that is not only technology-focused and can help drive your business to success but also compliance-minded. This way, you'll avoid having to deal with unwanted future hurdles.

VMblog:  What do you predict the future of bots to look like?

Orgad:  In one way, the future of bots is already here. The research shows that bots are already playing a crucial role in driving our real-time economy forward. Almost all (95%) of organizations said that they plan to further develop and expand the use of bots within their organization. This is a very telling indication of what's yet to come - we need to prepare for it.

I can't stress this enough: To manage this bot explosion, there must be an extensive framework that all bot-using organizations adhere to so that bots are not compromised by malicious intentions. Bot regulation guidelines will also need to be updated frequently since their nature and innovations are changing every day. We must always remember that bots were developed to make us move faster and be sharper and more efficient; this is their "life mission" - anything else should be looked into extensively. Bots should allow us to focus on those tasks that require the most creativity to thrive.  

With the right set of guidelines, this mission can clearly be achieved.  

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Published Tuesday, October 12, 2021 7:32 AM by David Marshall
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