These past few months have brought dramatic change. The COVID-19 pandemic forced most of us to alter the way we’re living, interacting, and working. In a matter of weeks, businesses shuttered, governments wrote new guidelines, and individuals came together to support one another and their surrounding communities. Agility became a key survival skill. As did empathy. We were reminded that relationships matter - business to business, group to group, person to person. They are the threads that hold us together. And when we’re distanced from each other or living in the middle of events that are physically or emotionally challenging, the ways with which we connect and interact with others make a difference.
Adapting to these changes, yesterday Pega hosted its annual conference, PegaWorld iNspire, as a virtual event. An audience of more than 20,000 joined keynote speakers, clients, partners, and software experts online to connect, ask questions, see live demos, and learn about the best ways digital technologies can be used to link apps, systems, data, and people during times of change and beyond. We heard about the new Pega Process Fabric™, the advantage of a business architecture that lets you transform from the center out, and how to speed time to value using the Pega Express Methodology.
We also heard about the importance of strategies and tools that enable digitalization and automation within enterprise operations, and the best practices on how to link these components together to build the type of agile, interconnected networks that power a new era of workflow and customer engagement. And we saw tangible examples from Pega clients such as Siemens, Aflac, HCA Healthcare, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, TalkTalk, NatWest Bank and more of how agility and empathy are helping organizations connect with customers, adapt to new challenges, remain viable in the current economy, and grow and thrive in the future.
There is so much more to learn online from our designed-for-digital virtual event – watch replays on demand
We’ve summarized the keynotes below, but because we compacted three days of learning in a 2.5-hour timeframe, we know you didn’t have time to see everything. Don’t worry! Video replays of every keynote and session are available on our website on demand right now – from keynote presentations to more than 50 iNnovation Hub demos and breakout sessions. The customer stories and product demos are filled with candid insights and lessons learned. Check them out.
Pega Founder and CEO, Alan Trefler: An architecture for pervasive change
Rapid changes in the economy and the lives of customers and employees are forcing business to transform at a breakneck pace. But C-suite leaders want to implement digital platforms that will enable operational efficiency and simplify customer engagement both now and in the future.
As Alan points out, there are three trends that are imperative to thriving in this changing economy: the ability to move from reactive to proactive and even preemptive customer engagement; the ability to operate “as-a-Service”; and a platform that supports open ecosystems and can deploy within a multi-cloud, distributed environment. With the challenges of the current economy, the functional gaps created by patchworked IT infrastructure and disconnected systems are more evident than ever, preventing businesses from keeping pace with changing needs and engaging with customers in personalized ways.
That’s why Pega created the Pega Process Fabric™ – or, as Alan describes it, “the platform for your digital platforms.” Process Fabric uses cloud-based technologies like containers and microservices to weave together distributed applications and systems, connecting people, data, and processes with a single user interface that provides a full view to all stakeholders of assigned tasks in the workstream.
It also supports a center-out approach to business architecture, key to enacting change. Instead of wasting time and resources rationalizing systems and building out new mainframes on the back end, or adding more digital channels to the top of the enterprise architecture, Alan advises organizations to take a design thinking approach and transform around the customer journeys that are at the heart of an organization’s operations. Identify the processes, logic, and outcomes that are mission-critical and break them down into distinct steps – what Pega calls microjourneys. Once those are identified, businesses can then build outward, transforming one customer-centric microjourney at a time, and reusing components to quickly create new microjourneys. This center-out approach gives organizations the agility they need to more easily manage common components, modify existing applications, automate work across systems, and connect new to software. The architecture also makes it easier to increase personalization, which is essential for the next generation of customer engagement.
“We know there is more change to come.” said Alan. “And we are committed to partnering with you to deliver the business architecture you need to handle both immediate and pervasive changes to your business. Pega will be THE platform for your platforms, connecting experiences across your enterprise and empowering you to Build for Change® now and in the years ahead.”
Kerim Akgonul, Pega Senior Vice President of Products: Transform, survive, and thrive in a disrupted world
Building on Alan’s keynote, Kerim described how the COVID-19 crisis has become a catalyst to drive stronger, faster, and more agile businesses, while highlighting successful results from clients across different industries. For example,
- Healthcare organization HCA used Pega to deploy a COVID-19 tracking application in three days. The app monitors and tracks the health and wellbeing of more than 20,000 employees and volunteers.
- Telco TalkTalk rapidly expanded their Pega Customer Service™ system in a matter of just 10 days to support their more than 4 million customers with online self-service as well as 400 at-home agents.
- And NatWest Bank was able to leverage their central decisioning tool, the Pega Customer Decision Hub™, to generate proactive, outbound engagement. During the pandemic, they identified 165,000 customers who work for the National Health Service in the U.K., and designed programs specifically around their needs.
Kerim’s question to viewers: “Can we take this ability to respond to an emergency quickly and extend it to broader, more pervasive transformational change?”
Transformational change means having the capabilities to automate work end-to-end, connect on a one-to-one personal level with customers, and streamline service experiences. It also means being able to support a remote workforce and a set of distributed technologies with an architecture that makes it possible to focus on what customers really need – like using centralized intelligence and decisioning capabilities to understand and respond to the emotions and context around a customer interaction in real time. This type of operational complexity will be commonplace for business that thrive and is why the ability to weave together apps and systems into a coherent experience for users and customers will help drive stronger, faster, and more agile businesses.
Anna Gleiss, Global IT Head of Master Data Management at Siemens: Using the power of low code at Siemens to get work done quickly
As a global company with more than 350,000 employees working in a variety of industries in more than 150 countries, Siemens needed to a strategy to customize their global solutions for the diversity of business line customers and regions in which they operate. They embarked on a digitalization and automation initiative that took advantage of Pega’s architecture, specifically the ability to reuse functionality, data models, interfaces, and system integrations, as well as local specification. By leveraging reuse, low code, and hosting more than 30 applications in the Pega cloud, this approach has helped Siemens simplify operational complexity, shorten time-to-market by up to 10 times, and massively reduce costs.
Achieving success on a large automation and digitization project is not easy. Anna’s tips include understanding the end-to-end business processes, identifying and including the right parties from the very beginning, and identifying relevant data and systems involved to design a best-in-class solution. It’s also important to choose someone to drive the project who is passionate and well-integrated into the organization. “Only with a clear vision and a strong driver you will be able to leverage the opportunity to streamline the process, make data and information available when needed, as well as integrate the relevant systems and therefore missing opportunity for automation and digitalization.”
Rich Gilbert, Senior Vice President and Chief Digital Information Officer at Aflac: The transformation to One Digital Aflac
It's not just new, tech-based, venture-capital businesses that look to leverage the latest digital technologies. Traditional companies, like insurers, also understand that customer expectations have changed and that they need to modernize their systems to meet and exceed those expectations, plus drive efficiencies. After 65 years in business, Aflac needed to modernize.
An insurer specializing in supplemental benefits, Aflac helps customers bridge the gap of unexpected costs so the customer can focus on recovery. Aflac realized they needed to update how they engage with customers, policyholders, agents, and brokers in the digital age, and set a course for digital transformation that would be customer-centric, enable as-a-Service, and create a platform for their platforms. It was a complete rethinking that centered around ease, value, and service.
They set two large goals. First, use technology to make it easier for customers to interact with them, and make it easier for distribution teams to sell, employees to work, and to fulfill their overall promises. To achieve this, Aflac replaced legacy tech, shifted their digital model, and organized their technology team around business services. Second, focus on customer-centricity. Looking at everything from the customer’s perspective changed their priority model. As Rich explained, “If it’s not driving value for the customer it’s not a priority.”
Aflac’s transformational journey included a number of stages and sprints. They implemented Agile delivery methodologies and used Pega as their “platform for platforms” to gain speed, improve the quality of operations, get insights from data faster, and improve customer experiences. As a result, they revolutionized the guest check out system to a quick, easy, customer-centric experience. They also built out a claims tracker that shows customers the status of every claim in process and used their Pega workflow engine to optimize and automate end-to-end what were once highly-manual workflows. And leveraging the capabilities of the Pega platform along with Agile delivery, they created their new PAVE contact center, including live chat capabilities that scale across all lines of business. They also combined the chat function with automation to create a chatbot that is resolving 86% of their top 15 request types with a containment rate of 61%. These improvements have been major gamechangers for Aflac.
Rich’s two biggest lessons learned during this major transformation: “Take the time to do change management and training.” and “Invest in your people.” There is a learning curve associated with new technologies, and businesses need to take the time to train their employees on what’s new as well as invest in change management.
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