Yet again, at its annual conference, Pegasystems demonstrated its focus on customer success and its ability to become a strategic technology partner for multi-national enterprises. Still, though, it’s clear from spending time at the conference that delivering success with Pega technology continues to require major commitment and serious skills—things that not every customer gets right. Where does Pega go next?
A lot of things about PegaWORLD 2014 echoed PegaWORLD 2013—the big-name customers on the big stage with impressive stories; the games (chess this time, though, instead of ping-pong); the many, many customer stories with refreshing levels of candour. The event was significantly bigger (around 3,000 attendees, against around 2,000 last year).
Pegasystems likes to talk about PegaWORLD as “the largest BPM conference around”, but really it’s not a BPM conference; it’s a Pegasystems conference.
This year the difference between these two things was clearer than ever, as a lot of the keynote sessions focused on real-time decisioning and analytics, mobile app development, and digital transformation—all things that are important complements to BPM for many organisations, for sure, but decidedly (and deliberately) not BPM-specific.
Indeed, this time, a lot of the setup was about the vision of the Digital Enterprise (has Pegasystems been reading our research?), and Pega technology was pitched as being foundational tooling for a Digital Enterprise shift. In MWD Advisors’ research and analysis we talk about how management systems are becoming more integrated, and how the line between management and operations is disappearing as a result of digitisation; Pega pitches its platform as playing in all the corners of our concepts of systems of engagement, systems of coordination and systems of insight. I think this is still a bit of a stretch, but there’s no doubt that Pega technology has something interesting to offer in each of these three areas—and it does this in an integrated way.
Now, Pegasystems has its sights set on a new growth opportunity. It wants to make Pega technology attractive and practical to use for a much larger universe of mid-sized companies. How will it do that? In my post from PegaWORLD 2013 I asked how Pegasystems might embark on the next phase of its growth, and it seems there’s now at least the start of an answer forming.
The company is going to have to work hard on a number of fronts to achieve this—not least in the realm of marketing, which Pegasystems really does very little of today. There’s a new CMO on board—Robert Tas, who comes from a consumer-focused marketing lead position at JPMorgan Chase—and he effectively has a blank slate. He’s got a lot to do.
There’s more than that, of course; in terms of product development the company is going to have to find a way to package and expose Pega’s capabilities in more consumable, bite-sized ways that demand less investment in skills and deliver targeted results quickly without commanding a high price tag.
I’m looking forward to PegaWORLD 2015, to see how much of this journey Pegasystems can undertake in the coming year.
What’s your view on how Pegasystems needs to change to make its technology more attractive to a wider audience? I’d love to get a discussion going on this!