'Simply Smart' BPM Gets Smarter

Pegasystems, the provider of products designed to enable what it calls “simply smart” business process management (BPM), went to school on the marketplace, and learned some lessons. It saw that the time was right to upgrade its core offering and launch two products geared toward improving customer service and satisfaction, one of which deals specifically with handling exceptions.

In the ebizQ webinar Empowering The Enterprise With Simply Smart BPM, part of the Pegasystems-sponsored series Simply Smart BPM – A Great Insurance Policy, ebizQ Vice President for Strategic Services Beth Gold-Bernstein offered a lesson of overview on the BPM market in general, and where business rules fit in, in particular. Pega’s products revolve around business rules.

“The new business mantra is business agility,” Gold-Bernstein observed. “Agility requires both speed (time to market; time to recognize trends; time to recognize bottlenecks; time to respond to customer demands and requests), and it requires adaptability to change. Businesses need to adapt to consistent and rapid change in order to maintain competitiveness.

“Change is constant, and much more rapid today than it ever was before. Companies are looking to improve operational efficiency and reduce costs while adapting to continuous change and delivering new business solutions faster and cheaper. This is a pretty tall order.”

“That’s the value that BPM brings to an organization today,” Gold-Bernstein continued. “It provides real-time visibility into end-to-end business processes that cross application, platform and organizational boundaries. It enables rapid business change because it gives business managers visibility into the business processes, to recognize bottlenecks as they’re happening, and to respond to them quickly.

“BPM also provides a mechanism for recording and monitoring critical business metrics, to understand what’s happening in the business.

“The BPM market today is expanding rapidly, and converging from a number of different markets. Rules are becoming more prevalent in all the BPM solutions. This is because rules enable greater agility.

“With rules, you can distribute them locally to different business managers, so different business managers can control the rules that manage their processes, and they can respond more quickly to change. Rules can be changed much more easily than changing code or an entire process. So rules provide greater agility,” she concluded.

PegaRULES Vice President Paul McNulty picked up the chalk, saying his company “turns process and practice rules into corporate assets.” He asserted that Pega’s flagship product, PegaRULES Process Commander, “is the only BPM product providing both business process and business practice in one package.” He called the blending of process and practice Pega’s “core strength.” In so doing, McNulty pointed out, Pega’s wares excel at handling business problems involving high complexity and the need for much agility (quick responsiveness).

Pega Director of Product Marketing Beth Caplow joined McNulty as an instructor, noting that, “The marriage of business rules and processes is critical. That’s where we’re unique in what we provide.

“Our rules engine is embedded in our process workflow, so it’s not that they’re two applications. They’re tightly integrated. They’re built together. So if you change a process, it’s stored as a rule. It’s as easy to change a process as it is a rule.

“Our application works particularly well where there are multiple complicated steps, complicated rules in managing the processes, where different people have to manage different parts of the processes. We’re also well-suited for anything involving a high degree of change.”

McNulty detailed the benefits of Process Commander, saying it “drives work to be done,” makes it easy to rapidly build, test and deploy applications, and leverages legacy apps.

He highlighted the new (Version 4) edition’s added features, such as simple-to-use work processing screens, a simple way to build sophisticated reports, and a simple means of monitoring work in process.

Caplow filled in viewers on Pega’s two new offerings, both built on top of Process Commander, both packaged versions of apps Pega has built over the years for individual customers, and both still fully customizable.

She referenced a recent report from ARM Research concluding that 84 percent of CRM implementations are deemed failures, and said much of the challenge of satisfactory customer service goes unseen, including rapid fulfillment, back office integration and processing, and intelligent cross-selling.

She said Pega’s new Customer Process Manager optimizes customer processes for personalized servicing and lower operational costs, integrates front and back-office operations for immediate (“one and done”) issue resolution, and is built to react quickly to changing business and regulatory conditions.

Customer Process Manager “is about managing your customer service in your contact center and across multiple channels,” Caplow continued.

Caplow introduced Pega’s other new product, the Quality & Exception Manager, quoting Celent Communications (January 2004) as saying, “The main reason for defection in banks is that customer complaints that are not properly handled.”

She maintained that Quality & Exception Manager is a “pro-active exceptions-management solution for enterprise-wide service and operational excellence designed to elevate the level of customer service and insure that customer service issues are being resolved very quickly.”

It enables business managers to “see very quickly and clearly what’s going on across the entire organization, and all the (departmental) silos, to see what exceptions are out there, how well they’re being managed, if they’re getting resolved quickly, and if there’s a lot of risk at any particular time.”

The presentation was replete with customer case studies, including numerous big names, particularly in the financial services and healthcare industries.

For a much more detailed lesson on “simply smart BPM” going to a new level, watch a replay of Empowering The Enterprise With Simply Smart BPM.