The Government iBPM Journey

One of the most interesting sessions we held at PegaWORLD consisted of a government panel with each representative at a different stage in their BPM journey. The session was moderated by Dr. Setrag Khoshafian, Pega’s BPM evangelist who provided great insight as to the typical journey a government agency will take when implementing BPM, and why they will take the journey!

Our panelists included representatives from the State of Maine, New Jersey Courts, New South Wales (Australia) Transport Management Centre, US Treasury, and one of our valued partners, Architech Solutions. Setrag started the panel discussion noting that there’s a huge potential for digital government today, yet IT challenges remain. The ability to be able to effect change in government is a must, especially as the speed at which new legislation can be deployed is mainly determined by how quickly the supporting IT solutions can be developed. In some cases, even the content of legislation itself is influenced by what IT can or cannot deliver in time.

The government BPM journey tends to start with the need for modernizing legacy systems. In the past, there have been many large, traditional waterfall approaches to modernization that have resulted in failure, costing millions of dollars and prompting negative headlines. Government agencies can begin their BPM journey with modernization by thinking big, but starting small. By utilizing BPM as the glue that holds legacy systems and modern, multi-channel applications together, government agencies can enjoy a thoughtful approach to modernization that displays business value – phase by phase – and in as little as 90 days. This approach builds confidence and allows government agencies to learn how to adopt new processes, such as agile development for optimizing their business processes.

A major turning point in any organization’s BPM journey, government and private sector, is having IT and the business work together in an iterative and agile manner to develop solutions. I cannot emphasize enough how important this is. Getting rid of the long lag times spent on requirements gathering – and the huge binders in which they exist – is a time-consuming and needless exercise. The business should be able to directly model its processes, with IT working right along with them to put in the appropriate integration, security and guardrails.

Of note, more than two-thirds of all government participants at this session had implemented, or started to implement, agile development in their organizations. The key takeaways from this session?

  • Think big, but start small,
  • Digital government is not optional, - it’s happening now and your journey needs to begin, and
  • iBPM is strategic and will make your digital journey successful.

As government becomes more comfortable with their BPM journey, the next natural progression is establishing an iBPM Center of Excellence to help with the maximum re-use of business rules and process across all programs and agencies. Especially due to the high amount of government employees eligible for retirement, we’re facing a substantial loss of domain knowledge which could cause serious service disruption for government agencies. According to a polling in the session, most business rules still reside in either people’s heads, or in large binders gathering dust. The State of Maine has reached this part of their journey with their different licensing applications, across many different agencies, and they are a great example of re-use.

Over 86% of our government audience believes that iBPM is a strategic advantage to help them optimize processes, increase productivity and efficiencies, while building their foundation for a digitally-enabled government agency. As an agency’s BPM journey continues, they are able to become more process-oriented and customer-centric, which will be important criteria when ultimately determining if digitization has been implemented successfully. In fact, digitized processes were considered the single most important trend for digital government by our session audience.


65 - 80% of Government IT projects either fail, do not meet their stated objectives, or run late and over budget. Download the Why Government Technology Projects Fail eBook and discover an alternative approach that ensures results delivered on time and on budget.