Las Vegas! The place for Sun, Spectacle and Slot machines… And PegaWorld of course, the biggest Pega event of the year where you can meet many of your Pega colleagues, sharing experiences of other Pega projects and hearing about the new upcoming features of the Pega platform.

PegaWorld 2019 @Las Vegas

Last year’s PegaWorld was chock full of new features due to the launch of Pega Infinity. So I expected this year’s PegaWorld to be light on news. Although that was definitely the case, there are still enough novelties to discuss. Below, I will discuss our 5 top takeaways from PegaWorld 2019.

Customer microjourneys

The first two points are from the first keynote from Alan Trefler, the CEO of Pegasystems. An important new concept was that of the customer microjourney. To explain this term we need to take a step back.

Why would a company employ Pega? To help them with their digital transformation towards becoming a more agile, customer-centric business. Most companies are accustomed to using customer journeys that describe the way (a) customer(s) interact with the company. However, implementing a customer journey can be a daunting task because it can impact lots of systems and lots of departments at once, which results in a project with a big scope and a lot of risks. A more Agile approach is needed.

I was amazed that design thinking had not been given more attention since it will provide, in my view, great benefits to existing and new projects.

Enter the microjourney. You divide your journey up in logical chunks, preferably the size that one would assign to a single case type, that can be implemented independently and allows you to deliver value quickly.

Empathy

Another key concept that was mentioned is empathy. In this case, empathy is meant between the business and IT people. This reminded me of the old phrase the Business-IT gap (see my earlier blog). Instead of seeing this gap as an issue, Pega sees this as an opportunity. In Pega’s view, empathy guides how they design their product and how Pega – and as you should – conduct your business. Some examples:

  • The process designer and the decisioning portal are built in the way that mimics the way the business would approach designing a process or decisioning strategy. This removes/diminishes the need for translations and documentation;
  • Because much of the Pega platform is business friendly, the business themselves can manage several components, without the need for IT interference. This speeds up the change cycle and frees the IT department up to focus on important matters.

Cosmos

Cosmos is a radical UI-redesign of the Pega User Portal(s). It aims to present more information without feeling cluttered and provide a more intuitive interface to the user. Some of the features include:

  • It has a three column layout. The two rightmost columns are similar to what we know today. The leftmost contains current (case) information and (next best) actions;
  • An expandable menu is located as a bar to the left. Clicking on one of its icons will expand it;
  • When opening a data object (e.g. relation details or account information), you don’t need tabs, local actions, or modal dialogs. When you click a link, a section with the data object will slide in from the side. That way the user doesn’t lose its way;
  • Full page refreshes are going to be a thing of the past. Also if information is updated in the system, it is directly visible on the screen.

Project FNX

And then we have the ‘mysterious’ project FNX (pronounced: phoenix). Basically, it is a total redesign of the core components of Pega. Details are scarce, possibly Pega is still deciding what the scope is going to be. A timeline was not given, I expect there won’t be one for some time. This is what we have learned:

  • The core components of Pega are going to be made more modular. This will allow the platform the be deployed and used in more diverse ways;
  • The UI component is going to run from an API (the so-called DX API). This way there will are no discrepancies in functionality between the Pega portal and customer-developed portals.

Design thinking

I was amazed that this topic had not been given more attention since it will provide, in my view, great benefits to existing and new projects. There was however one practical session where we experienced working with design sprints.

Design thinking is an iterative development method that was developed outside the field of IT. In short, a list of ideas or problems is compiled and sorted by priority. A team of Business (e.g. Product Owner, Business Analyst) an IT staff, proximally 7 in number, takes these ideas or problems in a sprint-like fashion and proposes solutions. Often, a prototype or mock-up is made and tested by end users. From the lessons learned, the list is updated and the cycle repeats. The resulting designs can then be used in the build-sprints to create the final product.

This method helps to weed out the biggest issues and misunderstandings before the build process starts, resulting in a shorter time-to-market.

See you at PegaWorld 2020

PegaWorld 2019 was over before I knew it. It was really great to see what Las Vegas was all about. In case you missed out: Replays are available here.

We hope to see you at PegaWorld next year, not in Vegas, but in Boston!

About François

FrancoisI am a BPM developer and a Pega certified senior system architect with nearly 10 years’ experience in the BPM field. As software developer and process designer, I have worked with several different BPMS packages. I like to think beyond the constraints of my work and try to see the bigger picture. If you want to know more look me up on LinkedIn.