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Research: Tech decision-makers demand tighter regulation of bot use

A new survey from Bright Data also found that the vast majority of organizations have guidelines in place to ensure bots are used responsibly

CTech 09:1222.09.21
New research from Bright Data reveals an appetite for tighter external regulation of bot use among technology and financial services decision-makers. The research uncovered clear demand both in the U.S. and UK regions for enhanced regulation to drive effective, compliant and responsible bot usage. It also found that the vast majority (97%) of organizations have guidelines in place to ensure bots are used responsibly.


The research - carried out by Vanson Bourne, surveyed U.S. and UK decision-makers from financial services, IT, and technology organizations - revealed that most U.S. and UK organizations that utilize bots have developed clear compliance-driven guidelines to ensure they are used responsibly. In the U.S., 48% of those surveyed say they have guidelines in place to moderate all uses of bots, while another 48% say they have guidelines relating to some uses of bots. In the UK, these figures are 57% and 40%, respectively.


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According to Bright Data - an open-source data collection platform helping businesses or organizations gather publicly available online data in ethical and moral ways - while bots are changing the way we work, saving businesses thousands of hours and significant sums per year, due to the actions of some irresponsible bot users, myths and misconceptions about this technology are rife. The research also evaluated respondents’ attitudes towards bot regulation. Overall, a slim majority of respondents are satisfied with the current level of regulation related to bot use – 47% of those in U.S. organizations and 60% of those in the UK. Meanwhile, 45% of U.S. organizations and 33% of UK organizations say they actively want to see increased external regulation of bots.


The positive impact of bots in a growing number of industries illustrates the rising demand for this technology tool. Almost all (95%) of organizations surveyed plan to expand their automated functions, and with that bot usage, in the next two years. The survey reveals the most common uses of bots in corporate environments. Customer service topped the list, with 76% of organizations utilizing bots to deal with customer queries and feedback.


Given the increased role of data-driven decision-making in many businesses, data-related applications are the second most common use of bots across both geographies. 69% of UK and 48% of U.S. respondents report using bots for this purpose. Of organizations that use bots to retrieve data insights, 66% report occasionally using an external provider, whilst 8% of surveyed IT leaders report that their organization does not outsource operations carried out by bots to third parties. The other common uses of bots revealed in the survey include cybersecurity (51%), the automation of backend tasks (35%), automated trading (23%), and social media engagement (22%).


Further key findings from the survey include: 38% of U.S. organizations and 19% of UK organizations outsource the majority of their bot operations. 74% of UK organizations and 53% of U.S. organizations outsource some of their bot operations. 52% percent of U.S. organizations and 50% of UK organizations say their IT team primarily dictates or controls the bots used in their organization.


“Bots are no longer just a futuristic ambition. It’s clear that they are now playing a crucial role in driving the real-time economy forward. Bot usage has been growing rapidly in recent years and this research highlights the rising number of use cases for this vital technology,” said Ron Kol, CTO of Bright Data. “It’s no surprise that bot usage is growing within the data sector. For this to be both effective and sustainable, organizations need to be responsible when collecting public web data or choosing a compliant third-party to do this for them – this includes advocating for increased global regulation. Given that the bot space is so fast-moving, outsourcing bot operations makes it even easier for financial services, IT, and technology organizations to focus on what they excel at and leave the bot management to the professionals.”