Evolve for Government: Pega and the post-digital Government: A conversation between Accenture Federal Services and Accenture
Accenture Federal Services Technology Vision 2020 recently found most federal agencies today are well down the path of their digital modernization. But no matter how much progress has been made, agencies always seem to be playing catch-up with the expectations of the tech-savvy citizens they serve. Citizens don’t just want more technology in products and services – they want technology that is more human-centered and automated, providing them with greater control of how they interact with government. Aaron Jackson, head of Digital Platforms at Accenture Federal Services, will host a discussion with David Steuer, Global Pega Practice Lead, on how Pega can serve agencies better by enabling citizens through technology.
- Hello, good morning. Good afternoon, good evening. My name is David Steuer, and I run the Pega practice globally for Accenture. And I have the pleasure to be here with my colleague, Aaron Jackson, who runs the Pega practice for our federal government. So, I work primarily within the private sector. Although I do a lot of work, in my global role with governments overseas, outside of the U.S. as well as some of our, our state governments within the U.S., and Aaron focuses exclusively on federal government and actually, starting with Aaron. One of the thing I'd like for him to share is, Aaron, I know that we recently released a vision, a report, that talks about a technical vision for governments in 2020. And can you talk a little bit about that and really how that might apply to Pega?
- Yeah, absolutely, and thanks, Dave. It's absolutely exciting to be here today and very honored to be a part of this great event and have the opportunity to share some of the things that we're doing, you know, with Accenture and Pega, with both our public service and federal clients. Yeah, and as you said, we did just release the Accenture federal services tech vision just a few weeks ago, and it builds on our Accenture global report with some additional things that we thought were relevant specific to our government clients. And it covers a lot of the areas that I think, you know, we're hearing a lot about, you know, more and more, and one of the big, y'know, areas of focus for Pega as well, y'know, things like artificial intelligence, robotics, and automation, and what we're doing to keep up with a massive just expansion there, and it just, what is, y'know a real fast pace of change in those two areas. And then the other one that I think, y'know, we looked a lot at, and I think ties into some of the things that we're doing with Pega, you know, is around customer experience. So our government clients continue to be very focused on that and striving to meet the high standards that, you know, our citizens are seeing in their day-to-day lives with some of the, you know, new experiences and kind of at Amazon-like, y'know, or Uber-like experience in all of their interactions, including those with government. So something we spend a lot of time on, and I think an area that we've really excelled in the last couple of years where we've been able to leverage our digital studio in Washington DC. And I know we've got over 20 globally of those studios. And I know it's something that you're very familiar with, but it's been great for us, and I think, you know, before the, you know, some of the closures and kind of moving to virtual, it was a space that we could collaborate on together in-person and really explore the art of the possible. Yeah, combining Pega with human centered design and some of the expertise that that group brings. And we've been able to really continue that in the virtual environment as well, and applying some of those same tips and tricks to the work that we continue to do today for our citizens. So really excited about that really, really great to see that released. And I think it's something that we're sharing, you know, with all of our government clients and getting a lot of really good feedback on and the other kind of big area that I know you and I talk a lot about is just on the area of innovation, right? And I think that's, you know, a space that you guys continue to Excel in and we continue to kind of monitor your progress and success there. So I don't know if there's something else you want to kind of hit on there, you know, it comes to innovation and the work that you've been able to put together.
- Yeah, no, absolutely. And sometimes folks don't realize that Pega really is an innovation engine and allows us to do innovation for customer experience and citizen experience. And I really liked the interplay that occurs between private sector and public sector. A lot of times innovation may start in the private sector, but then you take it in the public sector and you all are able to scale that at high volumes. It's amazing to see. And we learned from that, we learned from the scale of the innovation and take that back to the private sector. I mean, one of the key things that we've been seeing in innovation, you talked about automation and I guess kind of combining automation with innovation, we've seen that there is huge opportunity in being able to take advantage of Pega's case management capabilities and combine that with event hubs. So we call this digital decoupling, the idea of being able to take advantage of what you have within your legacy systems. Use an event hub like Kafka, which Kafka is used in systems like LinkedIn, and then leveraging that, take that capability to really drive innovation and to be able to drive value for our clients. So for example, we've used it to be able to process onboarding messages and collect all of the information that would come in around onboarding off the event hub for our banks, and be able to provide a very simple way to get that view for folks who are operating within the bank. We've also used that same technology for immigration at a large European government. And again, all of that information being published to an event hub around all the steps that are taken to do immigration and being able to see that in a simple view and using Pega to orchestrate that, it's been just incredible, the value that's been delivered around that. And speaking of change, we've obviously been through a lot of change over the last year. There's been some challenges related to COVID-19, a lot of adjustment that's had to be made, and what have you seen in the federal space and the government space around adjustments for COVID-19 and the pandemic?
- Yeah, no, absolutely. I think it's a... The pandemic has changed the way we all work and live. And it's brought about a lot of, I think, challenges in things, both in the workplace and at home, but one thing we've been, you know, happy about, and I think some of our government clients have been excited about is, you know, the ability for those that are utilizing the Pega platform to make some of those changes on the fly and to be much more dynamic in bringing about those enhancements and really adapting to this new world, right? So obviously, you know, all of us being virtual here today and, you know, our conference calls and things like that, all moving online. But one of the other examples that we had at one of our government clients was a case where, you know, hearings and things like that, they were always being processed, you know, in person, and there was a lot of workflow and components that were already built within Pega. But what we saw was, you know, at this client, they had a need to move a lot of those virtually and just really didn't have an idea on how to do it. And we were able to leverage the power of Pega's rule set, you know, the version control the product packaging, and some of the things around deployment to put that those changes in place very quickly and roll that out in a way that they were able to leverage that and make that possible, which was really cool to see. And I, I think we've got, you know, several examples like that, where things would pop up, they're relatively new, we'd worked through it, and there was either a component available that we could leverage pretty quickly or, you know, come up with an answer, you know, with them in our Pega clients and make that work, which has been pretty cool.
- Yeah, no, that's amazing. And that's something we've seen in the private sector as well. You talk about digital prior to the COVID, we were definitely companies were moving to digital, COVID accelerated it and we're seeing the same thing. And so that's a big area that we're seeing within the private sector. We're definitely seeing the continued move towards automation. In fact, those two things go together, digitize and automate in order to make your operation more efficient. And you don't need to rip and replace in order to do that. You can wrap around the existing systems and solutions that you have using things like event hubs that I mentioned before. We've seen just some great, great solutions out there. For example, at a bank in the UK Virgin money, it was taking folks on average 15 days to be able to onboard to the bank and working together with the bank and using Pega, we were able to move that from 15 days to 15 minutes. So if you think about that concept and what you, if you apply that same concept to, to your government and agencies and organizations, you just can have some huge benefits for the citizens and huge benefit for your government organizations as well. And, I guess, anything else, Aaron, that should, we could relate from a government perspective that we can learn from and apply to our private sector clients?
- Yeah, no, I would, I would just add on there, as you mentioned, you know, the move to digital is something that we're partnering with our clients on, you know, really across the board. And I think one of the things that they are learning and some of the examples that you pointed to, you know, have been very helpful, you know, with the idea that you can go about this change incrementally in some of your system replacement, right? You don't need to rip and replace and kind of gut everything, and, you know, multi-year super expensive journey, you know, there are things we can bite off, you know, pull out, you know, different components, different capabilities that we want to remap within Pega, you know, bring over the data and make that possible. And then do that in a much more interactive way, you know, which is less cumbersome and less of a burden on some of the end citizens and just a quicker, better, less expensive way to do it. So we've seen a lot of success there and some of the use cases that you've pointed out have been helpful here and something we've had a lot of conversations with our federal clients about.
- Yeah, no, absolutely. And just the ability, I mean, we've learned a lot from you and the ability to be able to scale, to scale volume, to be able to address the exceptions that come up within government, all of that has been, has been enabled through Pega's platform. So that's been been fantastic, and I think we are just about out of time. I want to thank you, Aaron, for the discussion. Thank you all for attending today and virtually connecting with us. And if you want to learn more about our federal vision, please visit our accenture.com and you'll be able to download the vision right from there. Thank you very much.
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