What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. But not in the case of Pegaworld, the yearly event of Pegasystems. This year the big event took place in Las Vegas on June 5th to 8th. BPM Company joined with a delegation of five persons and they investigated what’s happening in the world of Pega. These are the five key takeaways presented by BPM Company.

PegaWorld 2016

1 - So what about Pega 8?

This year Pega broke the pattern of releasing a new major version every other year. Instead of releasing version 8 they decided to focus on extending and improving the current 7.2 version of Pega. There was a big focus on the AI engine that is part of Pega 7 (called the Customer Decision Hub). Multiple presentations gave examples of how this engine can be utilized, mainly as the driving force in the Pega Marketing product. Another aspect that got a lot of attention was the improvements to the UI and thereby the end user experience.

2 - Desktop automation has a high potential

Earlier this year Pega acquired Openspan for their desktop automation capabilities and these capabilities are now integrated into the new Pega Workforce Intelligence product. The clear demo showed an example of a call centre employee who has to copy-paste data of an address change into different legacy system screens. The concept of desktop automation is simple and promising: the repetitive routine actions performed by the employee on different application are recorded and captured in a script that can be run automatically in the background as part of a business process thereby reducing time and reducing human errors. Desktop automation might be a serious and quicker alternative for integrating with (legacy) systems than exposing them through web services. Another potential benefit of desktop automation might be to use this capability to run regression tests from Pega, because it uses the same robotics concept. A question arises how errors in the robotic script are handled, which may be caused by changing legacy system screens. Also, to identify the best candidates for desktop automation the desktops have to be scanned, but how does that impact the employees’ privacy? Nevertheless, the simplicity and high potential make this a very interesting capability.

3 - Decisioning is here to stay

A lot of presentations focused on the decisioning capabilities come together in the Decisioning Hub. The most interesting possibilities were reflected in the keynote of Philips: Jeroen Tas explained that in the near future elderly people will be prevented from falling using a smartwatch that is connected to a medical intervention team. By using the Pega analytics capabilities, a movement pattern is established and it’s possible to calculate the possibility that a person has a higher risk to start falling when he’s deviating from that pattern.

Maarten Keijzer, vice president of Analytics, also gave a good head start for an analytics project. The customer should get clear which KPI’s are to be improved to make clear what to focus on. Customers are not always aware that you can do analytics with basic in-house data. It’s important to measure how your client responds to your actions and to train and improve the analytics engine.

4 - Extending the mobile possibilities

The importance of accessing the Pega applications using a mobile device and having a good user experience popped up in most presentations, and it was also emphasized again in Alan Treflers keynote. The interest in this topic was clearly shown during the mobile app-build breakout session by the number of overwhelming questions. It was nice to see a mobile app be built out so quickly from Pega express, but this was a standalone application. A nice showcase would have been to see a client with a full-fledge Pega application moving to users accessing from mobile. But presentations mainly focused on customers that used the mobile possibilities for a specific mobile goal.

5 - User experience and analytics

The success of an application depends hugely on the look and feel its users are confronted with. During the design and development, the end-users are required to be taken into account at all times. A good user experience reflects the needs and preferences of the majority of users, not merely the key users. An example from JPMorgan illustrated how a functionally sound application can fail because of the lack of focus on its users. The end-users needs and preferences can be revealed using various approaches, ranging from User experiences labs to paper prototyping. The technique chosen does not predominantly determine the success, as long as the outcomes – the end-users needs and preferences – are reflected in the application.

Decisioning can also be used to optimize the customer journey. It adds to an already well-considered user experience. Using analytics to learn from earlier users’ choices to adjust the journey to each individual customer as his/her preferences become more apparent by using the application. This improves the user experience extensively. The customer is no longer directed through an application but composes his/her own journey.