PegaWorld 2014 – Getting really serious about business technology
When you are an enterprise spending top dollar on software products, you like to be assured that you are betting on products that satisfy a fairly logical and predictable check-list that assess the vendors products on maturity, stability, cost effectiveness, ability to deliver to the need and so on. For decades these have really been at the core of buyer expectations that software vendors have tried to talk to. And in a sense, most vendors have traditionally also built and delivered products to such predefined needs.
What sticks out in my mind about that is it makes those vendors passive participants in the customers ‘need fulfillment’ journey. And ‘passive’ is not necessarily a good thing. Not anymore. Not with Business Technology.
And so, if there is really one thing that I find most interesting at Pegaworld 2014, it is really about how Pega is attempting to change the ‘need fulfillment’ pattern.
This is my second consecutive year at Pegaworld and Pega seems to be consistently attempting to change the conversation further away from ‘look at what a great product we have’ to ‘look what we can do for your business”.
And this year, it seems to have come to this: “here is how you should really be thinking about YOUR business and what you should be really be doing about it, and how we can enable it for you”
Or. SMAC’T if you like.
So Alan Trefler talked again this year about software, and how it was short changing business and how the real need of the day was to take control of software. It seemed to me that Pega was really trying to disassociate itself from the mainstream of software, software products and vendors and re-position itself to mean something more – something that had the promise of helping business rise out of a tangle of technology misery and achieving business differentiation.
As a pitch and an appeal to CTOs and CFOs, it definitely hits a sweet spot that also appeals to some of us that helplessly watch the IT ecosystem deliver below full potential. That said, it will take not just Pega, but the entire eco-system (and more) around it to deliver the bigger promises that we have heard today – and that is where to me this new positioning looks a little unreal for Pega.
But Alan’s talk was as usual full of energy and passion – though i did think he ended it a tad earlier than you’d expected.
Anette Bronder, Director at Vodafone Group Services delivered a great talk – I liked how she laid out the business context to their initiatives. I am sure a lot of people in the audience would have liked a little more detail on what and how they did things on Pega, But I personally felt the business challenges and drivers she discussed painted a much better context to the kind of broader thinking that is necessary to drive and influence enterprise technology decisions.
That brings me to the panel discussion – the audience loved it and I’d say it was one of the best panel discussions I have seen. The thing that made it interesting for me is the contrast of customer and customer expectations and use cases that the panel represented – all unique and different. There was good natured humour and laughs poking fun at the FBI – with the government in the room – and listening in with the general consent of everyone involved.
And then it happened. Sara Connor’s calls began to repeatedly land on the CS desk as Kerim Akgonul took the stage with another of his keynotes relating to Pegas products. Called “Engage, Simplify & Change: The Power of Pega Software”, this was a talk that held the audience in rapt attention and in frequent laughter. I think it was a great demo with a great storyline, delivered very smartly. Reminded me of the one that Google Glass did – although that was a completely different league with sky diving and all that.
Once again, it was a great event to be at. I got to meet several of my favorite people from the BPM world. I also got to meet folks I had known for a while but hadn’t met IRL.
Pega has once again raised the bar on the paradigms that BPM vendors can really claim to deliver to. Their commitment to the central message of making a difference to business is indeed commendable – and this picture I saw on day zero even before PW2014 was kicked off will tell you how seriously they take this annual event.