The era of digital technologies is transforming the face of businesses as a whole. The transformation is becoming faster day by day with the modification of existing business procedures, conventions, and customer experiences coping up with the market requirements. One such company which is significantly strengthening the way an organization delivers value to its customers is Pegasystems Inc. We spoke to Suman Reddy Eadunuri, Managing Director at Pegasystems, India. to understand how the company helps the world’s leading brands achieve breakthrough business results powered by advanced artificial intelligence and robotic automation.
Since Pega is a software firm, and is moving towards digital transformation by employing AI, Big Data and similar offerings, what are the challenges that Pega faced while transitioning from a software firm to a known name in digital transformation?
Suman Reddy: Large companies including the top Global 2000 – from multiple verticals like banking, financial services, healthcare or even the government are going through a massive transition, in terms of how to conduct business with their customers. Given the massive shift in consumer expectations driven by technological changes with mobile internet, cloud, analytics and intelligent experiences, companies are compelled to move quickly and achieve digital transformation of their own internal processes and the way they engage with their customers. Pega is a software company that enables these large companies and governments to move from the legacy-centric way of conducting business, to achieve complete digital transformation in their architecture and how they conduct their business.
What are the concerns that organizations have before using analytics? For example, how do AI and automation change the role of leaders?
Suman Reddy: If AI and analytics are combined in undesirable ways, like how the data that is exposed to the AI algorithms too – then you could end up with undesirable consequences. This is especially critical in the era of data privacy. For example, in terms of how businesses can use data to derive actions – this could be considered ‘fine’ in certain industries, but you could be violating governance or regulatory frameworks of certain industries, like giving AI the access to a person’s location data. There could be a regulatory challenge making such decisions. Our approach is an industry-first, called the ‘Transparency switch’ or ‘T-switch’ that is driven by our AI engine. In cases, where analytics is applied to low-critical outbound marketing decisions, we can allow deep learning algorithms and AI to look at datasets recommend actions, and the rationale behind decision making could be untraceable, given there is no compulsion from the regulatory framework. In this case, the T-switch could be turned off. In contrast, when you are expected to deliver results in regulated industries like banking, which need to adhere to strong regulatory frameworks, we turn the T-switch to the ‘Opaque’ mode, enabling us to go back, trace and audit how a decision was made by looking up a decision table or tree. This is our approach.
What makes Pegasystems innovative/unique? And what are the key partnerships and involvements help to drive this innovation?
Suman Reddy: Our Technology is made up of 5 key areas:
1. Real-time intelligence with next best action: This enables our customers to engage with their customers while providing best-in-class experiences which allows them to personalize recommendations. All of this makes their operations and customer strategies smart and fast, while also predicting issues before they occur.
2. End-to-end automation: Deploying bots at desktops and process level. We call this the software that gets work done. Also called Software that writes your software, we believe that IT professionals sitting in organizations, should not be coding, and instead should be designing. Pega provides this ground-breaking visual tool, which allows for IT and business to come together and create visual models. That allows the software to generate the code automatically. Apps built by Pega are 6x times faster than a typical coded application. If you want to change the software, you can do it around 8x faster (A third party had done a report on this). All in all, it gives you low-code, which speeds up the building process, and thus delivers results rapidly.
3. Journey centric rapid delivery: Today, most digital transformation done at large organizations, are audacious goals. Pega slices this into agile, journey-centric rapid delivery which allows for transformation, one journey at a time. You begin to witness business value in one journey, while parallelly working on other journeys as well. It shows results quickly, reduce risks and allows for continuous innovation.
4. Situational layer cake: Enables multi-decisional capabilities. This model-driven architecture allows processes, rules, AI and data models organized into layers. The advantage here is, when rolling out new products, regions or channels, you can achieve maximum re-use by using the fundamental model built, without the need of copying or recoding the application through the layer-cake methodology. This gives you tremendous scale, as and when needed.
5. Cloud choice: Depending on verticals, organizations have their own requirements from the cloud that they choose. Pega is the first company that is of the view that each company’s choice of cloud vendor needs to be respected. In this context, one size does not fit all. Pega cloud may suit some, while others may want to deploy it elsewhere. This gives our customers flexibility while optimizing the costs for them.
We also have various levels of partnership. We have the ISV partner program: Independent Software Vendor program where vendors engage in commercial partnerships with us.
System Integrator partners: Includes large organizations (like Accenture, EY, TCS, Capgemini, Infosys) which take up a significant amount of our delivery work.
Companies like Accenture, TCS, Infosys are our partners – they use our software and take on the implementation work for customers.
What technologies and practices does Pega use to drive digital transformation to its clients?
Suman Reddy: Pega is a software company which uses various technology products to deliver the software.
How does Pega help companies automate their processes using Big Data, Analytics, Machine learning?
Suman Reddy: Our technology helps technology service companies deliver digital transformation to their customers – we are a software provider to system integrators.
How do you see the future and the industry in the times ahead?
Suman Reddy: I believe that digital transformation is inevitable. As the industry pertains to digital transformation, customer engagement, customer service, personalization are expectations going to be significant for the industry, regardless of the vertical. This industry will continue to expand, which opens up opportunities for companies like Pega to provide the necessary technology needed to help customers achieve their transformation goals.
Can you mention some of the awards and recognition that you received in 2018 and prior?
Suman Reddy: We have been rated as Leaders in Digital Automation, Customer Engagement, by independent research analysts like Gartner and Forrester, since a number of years. In fact, we’ve been holding the leadership position for the last 11-12 years now in Business Process Management software suites. We are proud to also be recognized as the ‘Best cost to value rating of any solution’. Additionally, our work in the Customer Relationship Management and Digital Process Automation space has brought us awards, showing leadership in end-to-end work management, a leader in real-time decisions & AI, and being a Leader in Digital Decisioning Platforms. We are attributed to be the Real CRM Alternative and these awards are what drives us to do even better.
Could you please highlight some trends that are foreseen in the years to come in the AI and automation market?
Suman Reddy: AI is continuously evolving – we have seen a framework that was established as it pertains to AI, in terms of various aspects such as real-time AI and how devices, sensors and data are leveraged to allow organizations to make decisions in real-time. There are various factors, such as natural language processing, voice recognition, and many elements of AI that will continue to evolve. In my opinion, what is to be expected is what we do with our AI Decision Hub or Customer Decision Hub. It is our patented product which delivers real-time intelligence and is done with a level of sophistication that you will see continue to evolve over a period of time. Whether you are doing internal work, working with the customers or marketing or selling your products, having centralized decisioning powered by AI to be able to draw insights with every interaction, regardless of the channel or function of where the customer is interacting is a part of the next evolution that awaits us.