Weather and Air Canada conspired against me getting to Philadelphia yesterday, but here I am at the opening keynote as Alan Trefler gives us the high-level view of Pega’s progress (including the Chordiant acquisition) and what’s coming up. Pega is one of the longest-standing BPM players, now 27 years old – although not all of that strictly in BPM, I think – which gives them a good perspective of how the industry is changing. My links post this morning was a collection of posts about adaptive case management, dynamic BPM and social BPM, and Pega is part of this trend. In fact, Trefler claimed that many of the other vendors are hopping on the agility bandwagon late (even the BPM bandwagon), or in words only.
He pointed out how many of the pure play vendors have been acquired recently, and sees this as a play by the acquiring companies to reduce choice in the market, and artificially bolster the "x% of companies run our software" claims. In his usual style, he used a giant photo of a shark on the screen behind him to illustrate this point. He made direct hits on Oracle, SAP and IBM with his comments, claiming that if consolidation results in the lowest common denominator – a common level of mediocrity – then the customers will lose out. The acquiring stack vendors end up offering a Frankenstack of products that do not integrate properly (if at all), and that so much custom code is required in order to deploy these that they become the new legacy systems, unchangeable and not able to meet the customer needs, since they require that you change your business in order to fit the software rather than the other way around.
He discussed their approach to case management, stating that a case is a metaphor for whatever you need it to be in your business, not a construct that is pre-defined by a vendor. Like the comments that I saw about the recent Process.gov conference, I think that this is also going to be a conference about adaptive case management (ACM) as well as BPM.
Pega is about to announce a set of managed services; they are already pretty cloud-friendly (the recent demo that I had from them was done on an EC2 instance, for example) since they allow for complete configuration and administration via a browser. They’ve been talking about platform as a service for over a year now, so this isn’t a bit surprise, but good to see something concrete rolling out.
He finished up by stating that Pega intends to be the dominant player in the space. They announced on Friday that they’ve added 114 people in the first quarter of 2010, and have just announced 11 consecutive quarters of record revenues. They will continue to invest in R&D in order to achieve and maintain this position.
Judging by the tweets that I’m already seeing, several key BPM analysts are here with me, so expect a lot of good coverage of the conference.