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PegaWorld iNspire 2023: Evergreen Infinity

Virtusa is an award-winning Pega Modernization Partner on the strength of our advanced tooling, platform intimacy, experience, and discipline. It is our belief that in addition to upgrading to the latest GA release of Pega infinity, modernization is about consistent adoption of new product features, deprecated product capabilities replaced with modern standards, a commitment to continually eliminate technical debt, and leveraging DevOps and test automation.

In this session, attendees will learn about our industrialized approach to modernization, liberating Pega from the constraints of technical debt, and keeping Pega EVERGREEN for innovation beyond the crucible of modernization.


- So engineering evergreen transformations, what that really coincides with is our engineering first history, our heritage, all the way up the double helix of Virtusa is engineering. And what that really means practically for our clients is in all that we do, we're gathered around digital transformation and an IT set of assets. You will not find Virtusa doing some consulting exercise and selling a half million dollar binder. It's all about the results, the outcomes. How that translates into Pega, we are very passionate about Pega and as a modernization partner, we get the advantage of looking at a lot of the work that's happened over the history in the Pega ecosystem, and we've found that Pega and really automation as a whole, it's really thought of as maybe the putty to bring things together, or we've heard bandaid or applications particularly when it comes to RPA, where that translates to, but when it comes to Pega, we believe this is most definitely an enterprise architectural paradigm. It is not the putty, it is the mortar that binds the enterprise together. It is very much part of your enterprise stack. It is not little widgets and automations. Really the goal here with Pega, with center out and everything that we've been seeing, all the amazing keynotes that we've been seeing, it's around hyper-automation. And with hyper-automation, what that's about, it's about establishing that pane of glass as we gather around and we define our microjourneys of course, on that glass. And we build for the glass, the microjourneys that we articulate on the glass for the agent can be extended off the glass for deflection, for a chat bot, a self-service, it needs to be abstracted so that we can, from the center, deliver that same articulated microjourney in any channel. We can persist that microjourney under the glass into the back office for service resolution. And of course we can admire the glass and come up with insights for proactive customer service to engage customers preemptively from the glass. This is what hyper-automation it's about. It's about an amalgamation of capabilities. And Pega, of course, is the most complete in its offering of these hyper-automation capabilities. All the trappings that you hear the analysts talking about in automation fabric or hyper-automation, whoever you're listening to, Pega is very, very capable. But it must be delivered in that perspective from the glass, right? So to acquire all the capabilities that we've all been blown away by with GenAI and all the new capabilities of process AI, as we're seeing that proliferate in the ecosystem, if you've been a Pega customer for some time, oftentimes we'll have to have the very difficult, uncomfortable conversation, and that's what today's session is all about. I'm not here to sell you anything, I'm here to challenge you a little bit, and of course Tim will do most of the challenging 'cause he is better at it. But you must navigate the crucible of modernization. Does not mean an upgrade. It means properly modernizing. And once you get there, we're offering the risk controls of evergreen to maintain perpetual modernization, continuous modernization. So we'll be talking about new modern business practices. So once you've modernized, you'll be forever modernized, evergreen. That's the thrust of what we're talking about. Liberate yourselves from the bindings of technical debt so that you can focus on innovation. So with that, introducing Tim, who will get us started with this.

- Alright, thank you, Greg. So hello, everybody. Good to see you. And as Greg was saying, this is a presentation a little bit about how to get out of your comfort zone. So everybody's been in a comfort zone around how they've been working with and managing their Pega system and their Pega applications. So sort of to demonstrate about the comfort zone that you're in, let's do a little exercise and I hope you indulge me by following along, but actually this exercise I learned very recently from a guy called Nigel the Zookeeper, and you can actually look him up. He really is somebody called Nigel the Zookeeper, look him up on LinkedIn, he's a fantastic speaker. And the exercise kind of goes like this. So follow along, right? Everybody put your arms out in front of you like this. Put your phones down, put your arms out, okay, now put your hands together, okay? And then just put your thumbs over each other, okay? Just hold it like that. That feels comfortable, right? Because you've put a thumb over the other thumb in a way that your muscle memory remembers it. So taken from that, let's put your other thumb now over the other one that doesn't feel so comfortable, does it? It's a little strange, it's a little difficult. So you can do it. It's about getting out of that comfort zone to something a little bit more uncomfortable, but doable. And let's just have a show of hands, who put their right thumb over their left. Okay. And then vice versa? Okay, so about 50/50. Now, Nigel did tell us a little bit about the characteristics of the guys that put the thumb of your left, your left is over the right, but it was so rude, I can't possibly share it with you today. Now Greg, tell 'em what they've been doing.

- Yes, cheeky, we know what you've been doing. What happens typically until now is when it comes to the adoption of features and upgrading your Pega system, a lot of the time we'll just put it off until we can't possibly put it off any longer, and then perhaps we'll just keep it real simple when we're really to swallow that bitter pill of Pega upgrade and we'll just do what's called a tolerance upgrade. And what we're not doing when we do that is we're not realizing any benefits or ROI, we're just taking this and we're putting it here. We're not paying any attention of the debt that we're acquiring and we're just actually distributing and gaining additional technical debt.

- So let's talk a little bit about today's-

- Trends. So why is this no longer something that we can do? Because what Pega is out there talking about and build for change is all around business agility. And it is essential, customer expectations, vehicle regulators, it's essential that we become business agile, and of course hyper-automation, which extends the scope of automation and into the enterprise paradigm that I've been talking about, this is a new environment where we can deploy our Pega assets. And the other thing that's changed a bit is we cannot rest on our laurels with Pega anymore. For the first time in their now 40-year history, they're actually ending service support for some of their capabilities and some of us won't have a chance. And I'll tell you, they're doing it a little aggressively. Pega is compelling the market to adopt and modernize. What about you, Tim?

- Well, here are some of the other trends that are happening. The modernization or modernizing is driving transformation discussion. So a lot of people are sort of talking about, well, is transformation driving the need for modernization or is it actually modernization driving transformation? And we actually believe that modernization is driving transformation because at the end of the day, how can you really get business agility on older technology? It's not gonna happen. Secondly, technical debt is becoming the anchor of productivity. And what we're talking about here really is developer productivity. So if developers are having to spend more time trying to figure out the impact of change that they're gonna make to your application than actually doing the change itself, that's not very inspiring for them, right? So that technical debt has an impact. And then finally, as workloads are moving to the cloud, you are able now to do operations by outsourcing. A lot easier to do that with the ubiquitous access to systems, and so on. So let's just do a quick show of hands here. How many people are kind of experiencing the impact of these changes or even aware that these kinds of trends are happening today? That's good. So you're learning something new today. Excellent.

- So what do we do now? There are some flawed approaches that we want to caution you against. The first of course is just keep doing what you're doing, keep doing what you're doing expecting different results, that is the definition of insanity. So let's move on from there. Another thing you could do is you could start using some blunt instruments. We've encountered a lot of our customers that are trying to cobble together transformations by just building this one little toy app and out systems or something like that, or bake and flowable into their 4GL programs around microservices or something like that. Blunt instruments, or they could keep grinding, and just keep servicing the existing stack that they've got. The most tragic and cardinal sin would be to throw the baby out with the bath water and move from the Pega platform and just basically flush all the investment that you've made in building a practice, building the assets, and articulating your business in a tool and flush it down the toilet. And then the final flawed approach, and we, I think we're at a reflection point with this. I think that the ecosystem understands we need to modernize, right? The flawed approach here is to modernize and then rest on your laurels and go right back to what you were doing. So that's the challenge of today. We want you to change your thinking, your operating model on how you maintain your Pega applications and continue to adopt those things so you can focus on innovation.

- So, you know, as you've been possibly sitting in that comfort zone and not moving forward, and sort of just doing tolerance upgrades and managing as best you can, the time and the budget around this you know that there were gonna be consequences, right? And the sorts of consequences that we see are like the following. There's a much higher cost of ownership, especially around the point I made earlier of developer productivity. Getting things done quickly in a agile way drives cost. Secondly, the lack of this business agility because people are spending too much time worrying about change, the impact of change, and not being able to actually turn on the dime and deliver new things quickly to their business users. The productivity impact of being saddled with technical debt, I talked about that a little earlier and we've actually done a lot of studies with customers that have used the tools that we have, which I'll speak to in a little while, but actually can see the kind of productivity gains that they'll get, both in terms of hours saved and dollars associated to those savings. The perception of legacy, that doesn't help really sort of drive the use of the investment that you guys have made in the Pega Infinity platform. At the end of the day, some companies just do one and done and others like to actually use this technology and really expand it across the enterprise. So perception of legacy, when you have old stuff and you try to show your cohort down the corridor, here's what Pega can do and they look at it and they think, "Hmm, that's a bit old." And then this leads to sort of the unhappy user syndrome where people are struggling with the old user interfaces or struggling with processes that aren't that optimized anymore. And then finally, the missed opportunity to automate and leverage hyper-automation capabilities in the Pega platform that's now in Infinity. And also coming up as Rob Walker and Karim talked about in Infinity 23, which is coming out later this fall. So does any of this resonate with you? Let's just do another quick show of hands. Do people have this kind of impact going on in your world today? These sorts of things are really resonating with you? That's excellent. So how do we get from being the comfortable to the uncomfortable and moving forward and thinking about that? So we wanna talk to you about the journey around modernization and then ultimately once you've got there, what you can do to stay evergreen? So what are the main ingredients about evergreen and our evergreen offering? So the first one is to have the mental mindset around consistent adoption of new product capabilities. So think about how many people have maybe the latest release or release minus one, release minus two, but they still are delivering an old user experience. They haven't taken advantage of Cosmos or the Constellation engine and really upgraded that user experience for your business users.

- And another for instance of that is when we weren't getting together for PegaWorld and we were watching, we would have watch parties with clients and I got together with one of our longtime insurers for a watch party. Somebody we've been doing Pega work for some, oh gosh, it must be 10 years. And they had something in their direct-to-consumer call center, a big Pega stack. And we're watching these things and he's learning about process fabric and process AI and he was like, "Greg, I want this. What do we gotta do? I want it in the call center, I want it now." And I had to say, "Sorry, you can't have it." We have gone through because we've been taking on tolerance upgrades even though we as partners have advocated that a tolerance upgrade is not gonna move the needle, but we gotta at least be compliant and the investment just wasn't made. At this point where they saw a feature that they really wanted it up, I had to say, "You can't have it, you're still using the work object metaphor and you've not evolved to the case metaphor and all of these new features are hanging off of the case and we need to go back and we need to modernize, right?" And I don't wanna have that conversation again, right? There's more, right?

- Yeah. So when Don talks about the center out business architecture that's built all around the concept of all of those services that are actually built leveraging the case management metaphor. So if you don't get to that and adopt some of these new product capabilities, you're still going to be mired in that sort of doing the old way on a new platform. Another part of the ingredient is really maintaining a GA release or, for some of you, if you feel a little bit more comfortable, GA minus one. I met a customer yesterday and we had a really interesting conversation because they have religiously, sorry, followed the GA minus one. And they were telling us what sort of wonderful experiences they have that they never have many outages or problems. The users love it and that's because they've adopted this kind of mindset to have a commitment to eliminate the technical debt. Okay, we all know it, we can't watch everybody every day and what they're doing and how they're building stuff. So technical debt, even though you may burn it down, has this sort of regularity of popping up its ugly head and you've gotta keep on top of it. And then finally, being able to leverage DevOps and automated testing and that helps with agility because the more that you can roll out things that are new and that they're testable without having to go through that whole testing life cycle and do it in the platform really helps get you there. So with these ingredients, a continued innovation through modernization is what you'll achieve. So how do we get there? So we'll keep looking at the evergreen aspect with continuous modernization rigor. Now we start off with our Pega modernization offering and this offering is called RRR, and it's a method and a tool that helps us in that modernization initial journey. Now the tool is called Recon, and we filed a patent for this tool recently. And the method is, as I mentioned, RRR, the three Rs of Recon, Refactor, and Replatform. And the recon is really our discovery stage. It's discovering where you are at with your application and what might need to be done to get that application upgraded. And we focus on both the business and the technical. So we have a partnership with Pyze, and they are a process mining intelligence platform that really can help look at those old business processes from a process mining perspective and a task mining perspective and show where some optimizations can be built into this journey.

- The other thing, if you don't mind, recon, although we've only just filed the patent for it, we've been curating and improving this product for better than six years. So it is easily the most advanced ecosystem, as modernization moves up on the agenda, we're seeing other things like this come up, but this is a very, very different thing and very much patentable, but I just wanted to say we didn't just invent this, it has been something that we've been sweating over for many years.

- So when you get to the refactor, which is really about taking what you have and now having discovered it, building a blueprint of what work needs to happen and to be done in order to get to the next stage. And by using a tool like this and building a backlog, you can approach the upgrade and the transition kind of work in a much more predictable manner instead of having that whack-a-mole approach. I'm sure every one of you in the room has gone through that journey of starting an upgrade and running into a problem and knocking it down for another one just to pop up and then knocking that down and so on and so forth. And before you know it, your two months, three months upgrade projects become seven, eight, nine months, the deal and the budget's all been burnt up and you kind of get to the end and feel terrible. But our tool can really give you a predictable path of what work needs to be done and to address three core things, what work needs to be done for upgrading, what work needs to be done to get rid of technical debt, or address deprecated functionality in the Infinity product, and then finally, what you need to do to ensure that the application will run seamlessly on a cloud architecture if you so wish to move it to there. And then finally, the replatform phase is where you can move your Pega applications either to a public cloud, Pega cloud, or your own private cloud if that's kind of your enterprise standard or situation. So once you've gone through this, as Greg loves to describe, the crucible of modernization, you've got yourself an MLP zero situation where you have that application or that suite of applications ready to be modernized and moved forward in the journey. Now what you don't want to do is go back to that comfort zone, right? Because if you do, then you're just going back to where you were. So what we want to do is offer you something that will help you in this journey and it's the next stage, which is what we call the Evergreen Infinity offering. Pega and Infinity, Evergreen, sorry, Evergreen Infinity is really where we can provide you four core services and quarterly, annual, sorry, quarterly recon and refactor so that you can keep up with the changes that I just described in the original journey, a annual upgrade service, so we'll take care of that for you. Patch servicing as they are released using the deployment manager and the patch manager that Pega offer. And then finally, additive testing and regression testing services if you need. So this is the kind of crux of the Pega Infinity Evergreen offering that we will bring. And in addition to a sort of a base line service offering, we offer the DevOps and the regression testing services as a sort of assurance part of the product. So I want Greg just to tell you why he thinks we're the right people that can help you with this challenge.

- Well, the first thing I wanted to talk about is Vertusa's amazing Pega competency. If I got a little bit of a sales pitch here, I'm just telling you about our history. I talked about our DNA being in engineering. We weren't always an SI, we weren't always like the emphasis in Cognizant and Accentures of the world. We started out in engineering arbitrage for independent software vendors where we would build solutions with software vendors. And about 20 years ago, our founder, who's in the room, really bet the company on Pega. We invested very deeply in Pega's journey, at the time, this is better than 20 years ago, Pega had a product called PegaWORKS and it was built on, I believe C++. And the goal was to bring rules and process together. The name became Pega Rules Process Commander or PRPC, the erstwhile title now Pega Infinity, that tool, the engineering arbitrage was actually Virtusa. And the gentleman that hired us for that is Tim Beachus. So you can appreciate why he might've ended up with us at Virtusa. But once we had constructed this thing, it was Virtusa that really understood how the rules resolution, the layer cake and how the platform really worked. And we operated in professional services with Pega, that gave us the idea, let us change our business model. And that's why we've come into service of some of these platforms that we've built. And of course, we've expanded our capabilities ever since then. But I'll just say this, we're quite passionate about our Pega practice and the technology itself. It is a very different calibration. As Don introduced me, I visited upon other competitors of Virtusa and sat in leadership positions. And I can tell you this, it is a very different calibration of capability and competency and passion and stewardship with Virtusa. There are 36, maybe 38,000 of us at this point. Every morning there's about 3,000 folks waking up and doing Pega, right? That is a very different calibration. Our Pega practice, our competency is on par with organizations that have a half million resources. And of course we're award-winning. One of 'em is very relevant, the modernization one.

- Absolutely. So we were very proud to be awarded the Pega Modernization Partner of the Year Award. If you don't know, there are three partners at Pega that have been given the specialization in this particular category. And so it was very rewarding to win that accolade and hopefully Don is gonna put our name back in for this year too. In addition, we have around this whole process some prefabricated assets that we talked about earlier, the recon tool, and the methods that we do. And then finally, I think in terms of our discipline and our approach, we are very differentiated. We don't just use our resources to throw at this problem. We actually have a program in house that trains our technical folks on these tools and on the modernization approach and the method. And we actually certify them internally through a training program and peer review. So I think we have a lot of differentiating discipline. So to wrap this up today, oh sorry, let's take this problem off your hands and we're here to help you to do it. I think these are the benefits that you'll accrue. There's a reduction in operational cost. You can outsource the modernization journey to us and we'll help you get there. Secondly, you'll be able to leverage new capabilities than just continuing to sort of squander the investments that you've made in this platform. And then finally, it lets you focus on innovation and not maintenance. So with that, thanks very much for your time today and Greg and I are here to answer any questions that you may have or feel free to catch us in the booth a bit later.


Topic: Business Agility Topic: Digital Transformation Topic: Operational Excellence Topic: PegaWorld

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