Looking Under the Hood in BPM

  • July 11, 2016
  • Scott

HandExpert-IndustryExpertsMWD Advisors put up an interesting post about PegaWorld and Pegasystem’s going forward plans as discussed at the conference.  There was much to agree about in what Pega are doing – like IBM and others, they are now focused on customer experience and insights:

“CEO Alan Trefler is doing a nice job of articulating the value of the Pega platform in the context of digital transformation: he highlights the importance of insight (being able to instrument products, services and processes, and understand opportunities and challenges through that), action (being able to actively support work co-ordination and automation through software) and evolution (being able to change application behaviour easily) as core capabilities of an application platform […]”

Not much to argue with here.  IBM would use different terminology in some respects.  How would you get the insights? with cognitive computing and analytics, core strengths of IBM in the marketplace. 

But there was also this bit:

“Trefler is more vocal than ever that the ‘process-first’ approach the company took a few years back in order to be considered as a BPMS player was a mistake: and in its place, it’s clear that Pegasystems will push more and more dynamic behaviour, driven by predictive analytics, into work co-ordination and automation scenarios.”

I found this to be really interesting and perplexing.  Pega was a rules applications company since the 80’s.  In the mid-2000’s they went to a lot of trouble to get Gartner and Forrester and customers and industry analysts to re-label them as a BPMS or BPM vendor.  It wasn’t a “few years back” it was more than a decade ago… Those of us who do BPM for a living could have (and did) tell anyone who listened that they were a rules application vendor more than a BPM vendor, but no one wanted to hear it. Now, after working so hard for so many years to get re-branded as BPM, they want out?  You have to admit it is a bit rich. 

Pega more recently has put Salesforce in their sights – it’s a tall order to go up against the 800lb gorilla in the CRM market.  But they’ve made the bet that CRM and other related applications will have more legs than the broader BPM message. And in my opinion, that makes sense for Pega. They’ve never been as strong a platform play as they were competing as a specific application or solution.



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  • Che Man

    Interesting point about Pega. I’ve worked closely with both products and I am now back ‘using’ Pega again after a 10 year Lombardi / IBM inspired sabbatical. A big bug bear for me is that Pega decided not to use the concepts of BPMN in their product, but the way I compared the 2 different offerings a decade ago still stands for me. Pega is very much process centric with BPM being human centric. May be Trefler thinks the fiscal rewards are better in the CRM space?

    • Trefler is probably smarter than me about where the fiscal rewards are better 🙂 And better at getting his company rebranded from one thing to another. to another. At that level, hats off to him. But that doesn’t mean I can’t quibble in the peanut gallery from time to time! 🙂

      where are you working, Che, out of curiosity (geography)? I don’t believe we’ve connected before!

      • Che Man

        Hi Scott….no we haven’t connected before but I’ve been following BP3’s progress with interest. I’ve connected in the past with a lot of the old Lombardi / LODA gang in the past and I’ve worked with many of the UK BP3 team in the past as well. I am currently located in Sydney and working on a large programme in Canberra for the Federal Government.

        • A lot of that gang is at BP3 now 😉 the water is fine 🙂
          I assume you’re connected with Darren Rhodes down there? if not, we should connect you two –


          • Che Man

            Darren is one of the main reasons I ended up moving Down Under. Our paths crossed many years ago on a Lombardi engagement and he planted the idea in my mind. We’ve met here once or twice. Yes I am aware that many of the ex-AxisPoint / Modexe BPM folk are drinking the water 🙂