Evolve for Government: Successful Government Modernization during Unprecedented Times
Hear how many government agencies are doing more than just surviving – but thriving in times of profound change. Despite the rapidly expanding demand for citizen services and operational efficiency, agencies are finding new ways of delivering services and improving outcomes. From best practices to specific examples, Hayden Stafford, President of Global Client Engagement at Pega, will share real successes in government modernization.
- Hello Hayden.
- Hey Rosetta.
- In preparation for our conversation today, I went on LinkedIn, and I read your profile. I'm very impressed with your background. I see that you've worked at IBM, Microsoft, Salesforce, Ernst and Young. So tell me, what made you decide to join Pega?
- Yeah, well, simply put, it's the technology. And what I mean by that is so many of the other companies I've worked at, and I came from Microsoft and Salesforce, as you mentioned, were really in the application business, and driving their business around applications. The Spoke applications. But if you look at all these companies, they're moving towards being platform companies, and that's really where technology and businesses are going is about their platforms and driving a platform mindset and a platform strategy. So Pega is known for their platform. It's a world-class heritage, 37 years of experience. And as we move into a world of so many different distributed technologies, the process fabric that sits within our platform, that stitches other platforms together, really was the kind of the guiding light for me, Rosetta. It was an easy choice.
- Well, Pega is also glad that you made such a great decision to join the organization, and your background really perfectly aligns with the theme of today's event, which is modernizing government to be resilient, not only today, but stronger tomorrow. As you and I both know, the ability for government to modernize their systems, to improve the customer, as well as the employees' digital experience is long overdue. So what advice would you give our government's attendees today who are seeking to improve their operations in terms of improving the government digital experience, as well as their service delivery?
- So look, if you think back to March and what happened in the world back in March, the questions were very much about how and where we work. And now it's very much about what the work is that is done and how we're doing that work and where we're doing that work. You know, and infrastructure and access to those systems is at the forefront. So think about this as an example, one of our customers had VPN access for only about 2000 employees. When in fact, they had 10,000, and you know, so getting them that connectivity and being able to support them was so incredibly important. And then when you think about it, in instances where they're working with sensitive information like text interactions, and doing that at a kitchen table or on a couch, right, all this remote work. And, you know, agencies that are really good at handling this disruption and being future-proof to a degree because of, you know, all the modernization work and the agility that they built into their business system over the last few years are really ready for that. So an example is a customer of ours in New Jersey Courts. They presented at PegaWorld iNspire back in June, which is right when I started. And they talked about how they really adapted quickly to the changes starting in March. So you think about in the courts and the court systems, right, social distancing and work from home really kind of is challenging. When it's really a physical being there and present, but they were able to enable their constituents to do digital court proceedings from home and do electronic filings from home. And they re-engineered this in days, not weeks or months, but days, and even the CIO, Rosetta, told us we were able to do six months worth of work in six days.
- Wow, so before you go on, I think I heard a hashtag Pegagov moment. The CIO said we were able to do six months worth of work in six days?
- That's right, Rosetta. And it would have never been able to have happened if they were not set up and have the agile ability to be responsive to situations like this.
- Yeah. I mean, that's the success story that we love to hear, especially in today's environment. So, do you think this type of digital modernization that's going across government, do you think that's here to stay, or do you think it's a fad?
- No, no, no, no, no, absolutely not. I mean, it's here to stay. COVID, you know, absolutely solidified that, but if you think about it, it catapulted us into things that were now responsive around geopolitical changes and environmental changes, you know, the fires, and all the geopolitical things that have happened over the course of the summer. Things are moving at the speed of light. No question.
- Right? So in government, what I'm hearing you say is that we at least need to keep up pace with what's happening in the industry. So when you look at the government business at Pega, what would you say jumps out at you?
- Well, you know, a lot of these agencies typically took a waterfall approach. Many were agile, but they still waited years for release of new applications, and frankly, had application backlogs. But now many agencies and organizations are procuring and implementing in days and weeks. I'll give you an example, Rosetta. The state of Florida, when faced with COVID, the Department of Economic Opportunity, that's the group that handles unemployment and unemployment claims, they saw over a 1,000% increase in unemployment claims, with many of their contact centers having two to four hours of wait times. They needed improvement, and they needed it fast. And in eight days, the Department of Economic Opportunity was able to produce and roll out a new self service, fully mobile ready interface for unemployment benefits applications. And then, they were able to do chatbots to drive a lot more self-service in two and a half days. Talk about speed.
- [Rosetta] Yeah, so again, I'm marinating on this because this is exciting to hear. So another, you know, hashtag Pegagov customer success moment. Pega was able to develop in eight days a new online self-service portal. And then on top of that, in only two and a half days, roll out the Pega chatbots?
- [Hayden] That's correct, you got it right.
- These are things that you hear about them, but we're not able as government leaders to be able to talk to the folks who actually get the stuff done. So, could you share with the audience some further insight on what you, having worked with these companies and having this experience, what do you think truly makes an agency resilient?
- Yeah, well, when I think of resilient agencies, Rosetta, I think of the ones that know that change is a reality. And if it's policy driven or if it's externally imposed, as we've seen in 2020, they know that it's all about outcomes and that they need to drive outcomes, no matter the situation. So not taking a massive multi-year transformation point of view, but instead one outcome at a time. Really build for change, you know. I think Pega thinks about these in microjourneys and not solving everything in one fell swoop. You know, it allows them to be more agile, no matter what comes their way. So I want to give you a couple of examples. The VA, they replaced, with Pega of course, they replaced a number of their legacy systems and reduced costs by 33%. And recently, at the end of 2020, the Census Bureau were going through the Census 2020, and they anticipated 61% of their responses to be online and up to 600,000 concurrent users. And they enabled their 300,000 plus enumerators, the folks out in the field collecting the data to be using the system. They solved for that. And then the FBI, over the course of 2020, they've seen firearm registrations take off, and managing background checks, and speeding up the applications process for 23 million applications. It's quite amazing when we think about this sort of scale.
- Yeah. Well, one of the things, I don't know if you know this, but I worked the VA for a few years, and what you just talked about made such a huge difference for the veterans and their families that, you know, I just want to, you know, I didn't realize that that was Pega at the time. And I want to thank you for that service that they're doing for the veterans. But you know, you also bring up an interesting topic because there was so much success happening, and like you said, the world is moving quickly, modernization is occurring, but government leaders, there's only so much time in the day that you can get things done. So how does, or what advice would you give to a government leader as to how they can work with Pega or maybe work with a partner that works with Pega to get things done?
- So, yeah, it's a good question, Rosetta. And you know at Pega, we're a technology company, and there's a lot of technology companies out there. But it sounds cliche, but it's three things that all of our leaders need to think about. The people, the process and the technology, and the ability to scale across all three of them dynamically and together to really future proof, their systems, their people, their technology, et cetera. And one of the ways to do this is obviously have the technology, but also to work with partners. They're so critical to success. And it's why I'm bringing really this partner first partner centric mindset to Pega because, you know, we bring the tech, and the partners, they deliver successful implementations, of course, with you, within the government agencies, our customers. And, you know, this successful collaboration between the tech partner and these partners, and really having an ironed out and when we're working hand in hand, it brings more bang for the buck. And it's why it's so valuable. You know, a partner brings best practices, new perspectives, and tons of expertise from private and government agencies. So it's kind of the tried, trued, and tested best practices. So while many of our customers, many government agencies, the projects you're embarking upon may feel like a once in a lifetime thing, but for them, it may be something they've done every day. It's very common practice to them. So that's what it's really all about. The technology partnerships together with their partner ecosystem.
- You know, being a hands-on practitioner, working in this field, and modernizing government, I can say, you know, the things you talked about today, and the customer success stories that you hear, I mean, there were a lot of hashtag, you know, Pegagov moments there showing that things can actually happen, you know, especially in government. That we can meet the customers' and employees' needs, not only for today, but also for the future. Well, Hayden, thank you so much for being with us today and sharing some very insightful stories about what's happening around government and modernizing the customer and employee digital experience. Loved the information that you shared with us. And again, such a pleasure speaking with you. Really enjoyed it.
- Likewise, Rosetta. Thank you. Thanks for having me.
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