Pega’s Intelligent Business Applications With @pegakerim

Kerim Akgonaul, Pega’s VP of product management, finished the day 1 morning keynotes with a view of what’s coming in Pega technology: social, mobile and predictive analytics. He stressed that all of the capabilities that customers need for managing work are built into their integrated PRPC platform, making it unnecessary to integrate several different technologies and components. On top of that, they offer industry frameworks for additional specific functionality, meaning that the actual solutions built on that are (in theory, at least) a thin layer on top of a thick base of standard functionality.

He walked through the high points of their recent technology advances: mobile, social, predictive analytics, decisioning, case management and user interface.

In the mobile area, they believe that it’s just another channel to be served by the same application: the same PRPC application definitions can be used to generate the UI for mobile platforms as well as standard desktop browsers, but with features specific to the device such as geolocation and camera.

Considering social capabilities, they allow for multiple external social media channels (such as Twitter) to be captured used in processing work, but also provide a some social features directly in their applications: Pega Pulse for a collaborative event stream view (similar to Appian Tempo and others), and direct feedback to allow a user to provide feedback to the developers directly from any screen.

In decisioning, they’re implementing a lot around next best action, which analyzes customer behavior and past transactions to determine what the customer is most likely to respond to positively, either while on the telephone with a customer service person or on the web. As with all of the other BPM vendors, who are all eagerly anticipating Gartner’s upcoming report on intelligent BPMS in which analytics plays a big role, Pega is really focused on analytics and how they can improve processes.

They’ve made a lot of headway on getting customers onto their cloud solutions, both as development/test systems and as operational systems; using their VPN tunneling, you can link a Pega cloud application directly to your internal systems. Furthermore, the applications are portable, making it easy to move from a cloud to an on-premise system. The last that I looked at their cloud solution, it was a bit clunky from a provisioning standpoint: implemented on Amazon EC2, it was not really self-provisioned or elastically scalable, although it did provide a viable cloud platform.

They’re showing off their new Case Designer for their case management capabilities; this was a bit clunky before, so I’m looking forward to seeing the new interfaces both for designers and users. In addition, they’re allowing for multi-page document scanning directly into a case, then use CMIS to push that into a content repository. There are some serious issues with that scenario, such as a lack of a chain of custody as well as (I’m guessing) some scalability limitations, but there are certainly situations where this would work.

He ended up talking about user interface, and using Pega as a development tool for building both internal and customer-facing applications. They’re pushing towards HTML5 for more portable, functional and lightweight interfaces.

I have a 1:1 chat with Kerim scheduled for this afternoon, which will give us a chance to dig into some of these a bit more, so stay tuned for that.

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