To be selected by a state government led by a tech-savvy Chief Minister set the precedent for us to pursue future public-sector projects, confers Suman Reddy, MD and Country Head of Pegasystems on how Pega is geared up for its triumph on further setting India’s digitalization journey. Edited Nub.
- With Pegasystems being one of the frontrunners in the e-Pragati project, can you share an anecdote on how fulfilling and commendable the project was, especially since Pega is realising the Govt’s vision to empower digitalization across public bodies?
After a decade of software development in India, we recently began selling our digital process automation and customer engagement solutions into the local market. By securing this comprehensive public-sector transformation project with the Government of Andhra Pradesh right at the outset of our business journey, we have put a firm stake in the ground to validate our capabilities. This is an unprecedented engagement in terms of the potential impact of a large subset of state constituents and 745 services, enabling the end-to-end digitisation of government-citizen-business services. To be selected by a state government led by a tech-savvy Chief Minister sets the precedent for us to pursue future public-sector projects.
- Pegasystems also emerged the winner of the unique 48-hour hackathon concept. What did it take to bag such a coveted account like e-Pragati?
Considering it was our first major enterprise pursuit in India, which is a tough market, we had to complement our recognized technology offerings with a capable team and exhibit adaptability as the client requirements kept coming in. We brought a technologically diverse team of domain specialists, tech experts, and program managers who addressed their various requirements. The hackathon stage was very interesting. Not only was it a unique way of evaluating the technical prowess of prospects by the government, but it also created a time-bound frame to deliver results, and it required us to execute it at their premises for better control and authenticity. Our company credo Build For Change, became evident to the government when we were able to present our demos at scale and ensure app development which was about seven times faster than our peers.
- How does Pega plan to aid GoAP to accomplish its 2022 vision?
After the hackathon phase, Pega was the only vendor to fulfil 90% of the objectives set by the government officials. With Pega’s no-code application development environment and its ability to rapidly deploy applications, the Government of Andhra Pradesh recognized Pega’s expertise in serving some of the largest government departments in the world. Pega software enables real-time changes to the platform architecture and allows some of the core software elements to be reused many times across different government departments. These features served on the automation-driven Pega Government Platform, are being used by the government to usher in their Digital Vision of Sunrise AP 2022. Currently, the first phase of four frameworks and five applications are live and operational across key government departments, so we can proudly say we have already helped the Government embark on its end-to-end digital journey.
- What are the latest major projects Pegasystems is aligned with public/private bodies?
Pegasystems helps some of the largest and most complex government agencies achieve policy objectives and improve lives, including working with seven of the 10 largest US Federal Departments.
- Pegasystems is known for its unique approach towards innovation and bringing tailored solutions and services by mapping the market. Are there any recent product launches you want to highlight and how might they help India’s indigenous ecosystem?
Earlier this summer at our PegaWorld conference, we announced the biggest product launch in our history. Pega Infinity is the next generation of our digital transformation software suite. It uniquely combines customer engagement and digital process automation in a single offering and includes major updates to our AI, robotics, UX, and no-code app development platform. Ultimately, many of these features will help the Government speed digital transformation efforts and change the way they service constituents.
- How do you define e-governance in today’s scenario in India? What challenges are being faced, how is the scope of improvement and what role will Pegasystems play in this domain of salient transformation?
E-governance today is being looked at in a new light, especially with the Modi Government’s push to explore technology adoption in government departments, as the new wave of digitisation is facilitated by tools like the JAM trinity (Jan Dhan, Aadhar and mobile). We see tremendous benefits governments can realise when they embark on a digitization journey, but most governments are still early in the process. Pega brings in a platform mindset, where the entire operations of state governments or government agencies can be transformed under a common framework, rather than taking a siloed approach where different departments use different solutions and take different paths. From our experience serving global government departments and agencies, we think governments can leapfrog digital journey cycles and streamline their services through a more unified yet scalable approach.
- Amidst the cusp of digital transformation, security has taken the headlines. The government has taken variable steps to tranquillize these malicious activities. How, to you in this scenario, can India empower itself as a scalable and sustainable democracy?
With increasing, citizen expectations and operational complexities come increasing risks. We look at technology as central to how organizations in both the public and private sphere manage can these risks. In addition, new privacy regulations like GDPR in the EU region along with existing ones like the FDR in the US are good examples of the level of increasing protocols needed to be put in place to protect citizens. But these new regulations shouldn’t be the reason organizations look at risk mitigation – it should be to operate in the best interests of their stakeholders while balancing the risk and rewards of running a sustainable operation.
- What are the new trends you are witnessing in the CRM, digital process automation and BPM space?
What we are noticing is the evolution of customer relationship management into customer engagement management, as customers want seamless personalized experiences that go beyond managing transactions. This is possible with sophisticated, real-time artificial intelligence that is orchestrated across any channel, creating seamless transition as the latter shifts channels during any stage of their journey with an enterprise. However, having the intelligence without the power to execute is like one-handed clapping. While AI is the brain behind recommending the next best actions for marketing or customer support, the muscle to execute workflows must come through digital process automation, which many analysts recognize as the next evolution of BPM. We believe that is what is going to help organizations move from the chaos of digital adoption, towards digital transformation.
- You have nurtured this firm from scratch to a new zenith. Kindly share your thoughts on the journey.
When we had to explore regions outside our headquarters for a suitable centre with quality talent, we identified India and launched operations to set up a modest development centre. But today, the teams here have grown incompetency and size, becoming the de facto representatives to build solutions for some of the world’s largest organizations. The centre has grown from my founding team of four to reach around 1500 today, which is approximately three-quarter of the global development workforce. It is heartening to see the teams achieve leadership status to not just build modern technologies but use that expertise for our India business plans as we work towards penetrating the market. Additionally, we have been ranked a Great Place to Work 2018, another reflection of our globally-adopted culture and employee engagement practices.
- What major announcements are expected from Pegasystems in the current FY?
We expect to continue to make advancements in our Pega Infinity offering. As technology evolves rapidly, we are staying at the forefront of innovation by experimenting with emerging technologies, understanding what works best for customer engagement and operational excellence to release functionalities that solve evolving business needs.