The new promise in the IT world nowadays is Artificial Intelligence (AI). It all sounds very futuristic and maybe a little spooky, but is this really the case? AI, it has been around since I remember computers. When using AI in processes, this seems like using more specialised systems and complex integrations.

Nowadays AI is integrated into Pega, which makes it very easy to apply in the Business Process area, where I have the privilege to work in every day. Let’s see if AI is that new or just spooky.

Let’s start with the definition of AI. The following definition was found on the internet: “Artificial intelligence (AI) is intelligence exhibited by machines. In computer science, the field of AI research defines itself as the study of "intelligent agents": any device that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximise its chance of success at some goal.”  

Five terms are worth considering further in this context:

1.    Perceive its environment

2.    Any device

3.    Chance

4.    Success

5.    Some goal

Time to discuss them one by one.


Success, who doesn’t want success? But what is it? I don’t want to search for this definition again, but at least we all know success is something positive. It implies that you are doing something right. In all the projects I do, we strive for the same: manage and where possible automate the work that needs to be done successfully.


Chance refers to a statistical analysis. If you have different ways to reach success, you want to pick the option with the highest probability. The statistics to define the approach with the highest chance of success isn’t something new. I remember using Minitab on the first-generation iMac at the University of Maastricht, and later helping my wife using SPSS (but these were separate applications with relatively static outcomes on static datasets). I recently passed my decisioning certification in Pega and I can tell: it is still the same statistics.

Some goal

A goal is something to aim at. The judgement of success is impossible without a goal. I may consider myself successful in raising my kids, but the teachers in school may see that very different if they have a different goal in mind. The good thing about BPM, or at least in the world of Pega, is that there is almost no doubt about the goal. It is impossible to determine a good process without having the business objectives or goal in mind. If AI can be applied to reach this goal, that is an easy win-win situation.

Any device

The any device addition made me think a little: in the definition, it clearly points to devices broader than the traditional computer, but also cars, robots’ etcetera. Nowadays we maybe could say “any running OS or any device able to connect using a standardised API”. We buy Linux/Android running credit card size ‘PC’s’ with Wi-Fi on board for a few euro’s, so this concept is easily fulfilled. With respect to my BPM perspective in Pega, it certainly is with respect to bringing intelligence to any mobile device.

Perceive its environment

I must admit, the perceived environment for me is the hardest bit to crunch. How does intelligence perceive its environment? We, human beings, perceive our environment in many ways, or don’t we? But the more I think about it, that is because we want to think we are special. In practice, life may be simpler than we think. Let’s be honest, I like holiday destinations for my summer holiday where the temperature is 22 degrees or more, where there is not too much rain, where the food is fresh and not too expensive and where the beer is cold.

Translating that into interpretable data (what perceiving the environment actually is) is not such a big deal. The decision engine then will find the influencing factors for my preferences.

After this analysis, I dare to say that the decision capabilities in Pega can truly be called Artificial Intelligence. But as I told you: it is a bunch of obvious best practices combined with old fashioned statistical methodology and some longer existing BPM capabilities. Hence, nothing new here. But relatively new is that all capabilities are tightly bundled in one platform where all functionality really work together without the need for complex integration or a multitude of tooling. This leads to easier and faster implementation of the platform, bringing it into a reach of even more organisations.

And these organisations will run processes that, based on experience looking at the successes in their own processes, learn that people working for BPM Company are more likely to accept holiday proposals to a destination where the weather is good, the food is fresh and the beer is cold. I leave it up to you to decide whether that is spooky…


About Marco

Marco Bussemaker Senior BPM Test BPMCompnay

I am a Business Process Management consultant who enjoys the act where business meets IT. I find my challenges in translating IT to the business people, and business to the IT people. I enjoy using ever expanding BPM, decisioning and data management capabilities to continuously optimise business value.