What does “Virtual PA” really mean?

We’re living in a pretty interesting world, right? Which means remembering what it was like to work in a time without email, social media and WiFi is fairly difficult. Another 10 or 15 years and we won’t remember what life was like before even our home was 100% connected, smart and working hard to make our lives easier.

Yet with change comes a whole host of new lingo, career choices and areas to consider to make most of the fast-moving technology landscape. Which leads us onto the question we get asked most at ibLE; what is a virtual PA and does it involve a real person?

Here’s how to tell the difference.

What is a virtual PA?

A virtual PA stands for virtual personal assistant, meaning an assistant that completes tasks and instructions without having a physical presence. Before the internet, a virtual PA wouldn’t have been possible. Now, there is enough connectivity to ensure that a PA can effectively serve a client across the world, without ever needing to meet or even talk on the phone.

What type of tasks does a virtual PA work on?

There are plenty of tasks a virtual PA might be assigned, not limited to categories such as admin, marketing, HR and even financial services. Everything from creating a presentation, to researching a new travel destination and diary management.

Does a virtual PA equal artificial intelligence?

This really depends on who you ask. At ibLE, a virtual PA is someone who works for you but predominantly online. This means they can complete tasks and activities to save you time without the overhead of an office, payroll or HR issues. You hire in five-minute increments which means you don’t pay for even a minute that’s not spent on completing tasks.

In other situations, there are services providing a virtual PA which refers to an artificial intelligence service. Another name for this is a “bot” which completes tasks because it has been programmed to, without the use of a real person. The most effective use case for a virtual PA in this sense is for tasks where there is no room for error.

For example, many brands and individuals currently use an AI service to like or comment on Instagram. Often these comments are generic like “great photo”. However, because they’re simply programmed to comment on an Instagram post that fits a specific criterion, they don’t differentiate if say, a sad, distressing or potentially adult image is posted. Which has landed more than one Instagrammer in hot water.

How to determine which type of virtual PA you require

Now you know the two different types of virtual PA it should hopefully be easy to decide whether you need someone who handles your admin but works remotely, or a completely artificial service to automate a predictable, repeatable system.

The difference is a world apart and will ensure you get exactly what you need.

To find out more about a virtual PA service, head over to ibLE.