Business Analyst - LEADX3M
As lifetime learners and curious consultants, we at LEADX3M are always looking to explore new software, companies, and possibilities. Using the 10 Types of Innovation book as a reference point, as well as a SWOT analysis, company research, a free-trial of their platform, and primary interviews with employees of Pega Marketing, we were able to deep dive into the company to complete our internal audit and study. It is important to compile an overview of the organization to build understanding, then to analyze their strengths and weaknesses, and lastly make recommendations as to how they can innovate further.
Pega Marketing is designed to help companies engage with their customers better by utilizing state-of-the-art AI technology, (Pega, 2020). Their focus is to enable companies to target individual customers rather than use traditional methods of personas and one-size-fits-all campaigns. The company brands the product as a way to identify and deliver customers’ needs through “predictive analytics, machine learning, natural language processing, decision management, and complex event processing,” (Pega, 2020). Their company motto is “Build for Change” as change is inevitable in today’s business environment, and companies should not only be prepared, but empowered to handle any market shifts. They present their products on their website using videos and offer training and certifications for their software.
The company is B2B, operating in all industries including financial services, healthcare, communications & media, government, manufacturing, and life sciences. They have 41 offices worldwide, with 3 geographical headquarters in Cambridge, MA, Reading, UK, and Sydney, Australia, (Pega, 2020). The company targets organizations of all sizes, as their customizable software has the potential to fit anywhere, but they are most well-known for implementing software solutions for larger corporations. Innovation, strategy, and agility are key elements that make up the organization. In an interview with Kellee Franklin, a Digital Transformation partner at Pega, she has said that one thing that has made Pega successful is its ability to act like a start-up, despite being a global company that has been around for 35 years, (Franklin, 2020). She also noted, however, that sometimes the Entrepreneurship Management could be a detriment as predictability, bureaucracy, and consistency are key tenants of General Management and can be beneficial within an organization. It is important for organizations to be able to pivot to either side of the spectrum when it is appropriate, rather than getting caught leaning to one side for too long.
Some anticipated business objectives that the company has are to prepare for the growing digital transformation trends of 2020, which include predictive analytics, AI and machine learning, blockchain outside of cryptocurrency, and 5G, (Newman, 2019). Franklin stated that these trends will play a crucial role in shaping Pega’s strategy in the next five years (Franklin, 2020). While they are already incorporating both AI and analytics into the CRM systems, it will be interesting to see how they will leverage that in the future and see if and how they will address blockchain and 5G into their organization and offerings. Additionally, the company will be focusing on their low-code application development, which gives more autonomy and customization options to its customers and “allows enterprises to quickly build and evolve apps to meet their customer and employee needs and drive digital transformation on a global scale,” (Pega, 2020).
After conducting research and primary interviews, I have put together a SWOT analysis about both the CRM systems that Pega offers as well as the company as whole:
- The products (like Pega Marketing) are customizable where users can set their own business rules and it provides an experience unique to marketers.
- The company provides great resources like case studies of how the product has been implemented by other companies as well as offers an Academy and training, (Pega, 2020).
- Pega is already implementing predictive analytics into its software to forecast best courses of action, ahead of most of its competitors.
- The organization consists of highly skilled and intelligent individuals, talent being one of its highest-ranking capabilities with big investments in both training and development, (Franklin, 2020).
- It has a strong legacy which has cultivated a strong brand image and track record, achieving long-term loyalty from many of its most prominent clients.
- The company is growing, with 5,000 employees worldwide, they already have plans to hire 500 more in the coming years, (Rudin, 2020).
- The company does not appear to have a strong community as compared to Salesforce, where those who use and use and train on their platform are referred to as “Trailblazers.”
- Training and the Academy is mostly restricted to clients. Again, Salesforce separates themselves by offering certifications and badges to anyone willing to take the time to learn the platform. This builds brand awareness.
- With 41 locations all over the world, the workforce is dispersed, making communication and shared missions difficult,(Franklin, 2020).
- Despite having great talent, coordinated strategy and execution is often lacking, and employees are not utilized to their full potential, (Franklin, 2020).
- There does not seem to be a strong brand awareness and to fully understanding the products, solutions, and capabilities of the company takes some research.
- With AI and predictive analytics already implemented in their CRM systems, they can leverage that further as first movers and continue to focus on utilizing those tools to retain and gain customers who want to improve their business processes.
- Growing trends of digitization and data analytics give Pega the opportunity to fill a market need.
- 5G and its impact on IoT will transform the way we live and work, Pega can capitalize on this and offer solutions and services that tie IoT business tools directly to its CRM, collecting even more real-time data (Newman, 2019).
- The intensity of competition in the industry is a huge threat to Pega, as CRM system providers are operating in a red ocean.
- Salesforce acquiring Tableau, a front-running analytics platform, will prove threatening as Salesforce’s analytics capabilities could surpass Pega’s, (Newman, 2019).
- XaaS (Everything as a Service) is gaining momentum, and it is speculated that even in “the most hardware-driven industries/sectors of technology” will begin to offer services in their portfolio, (Newman, 2019).
Currently, Pegasystems seem to operate in the Configuration area of the 10 Types of Innovation model. The company focuses on the innermost workings of their enterprise and business system when developing the correct solutions, they do this through “Process” innovation (Keely, 2013). Something that is unique to Pega is their Cognizant Pega Innovation Center, where the company prototypes solutions with you and your business using design-thinking principles through Solution Strategy Briefings as well as Proof-of-Concept Workshops, (Pega, 2020). They build end-to-end solutions in a robo-garage while also creating an environment that stimulates reflection and thinking. As of right now, this process seems unique to Pega and can be considered an innovation.
Another type of innovation that the company operates in is “Product System,” where they empower users to customize apps using their Pega Platform. Customers can design/author in online environments that offer little to no code, using advanced data visualization tools and AI modeling (Pega, 2020). This is a unique product offering as competitor, Salesforce, forces users to write complex code in order to customize, which is both costly and time consuming. Ultimately, apps built in Pega go live up to 6.4 times faster than if they were coded manually, (Pega, 2020).
While Pegasystems has done an outstanding job of growing into a successful and trusted software provider offering analytics, intuitive UX, AI, and customization to its products, they still have areas of improvement. A way that Pega can develop in the future is by focusing on “Customer Engagement” and “Service” as innovation types. For a company that develops Customer Relationship Management platforms, they should focus more on their own personal customer experience, engagement, and service. Salesforce has created a global community, both by uniting its users under an inspiring name (Trailblazers), as well as hosting an annual conference (Dreamforce) where customer success is celebrated, and employees and clients can come together to learn from one another (Donner, 2019). Pega should learn from Salesforce’s success and improve their Interaction capabilities. As Franklin noted, the company needs to do a better job of communicating with its employees and customers, gathering information from them, and then executing on it (Franklin, 2020).
The overall goal for the company should be to make Pega as household a name as Salesforce. Some objectives for making that goal a reality would be to improve customer service, increase training for the software, and to leverage its current data to improve predictive analytics even further. The strategic plan should operate on a timeline of three years.
The winning concept would include increased number of events hosted by Pega for customers, including training days with real life teachers. The company could host competitions as well, all leading up to their annual Pegaworld Inspire conference, where those who competed could win awards. Secondly, there should be facilitated communication with customers, either through live chat on the platforms, or through a faster feedback loop. Creating a feedback element to its platform will allow Pega to collect information, identify trends, and work towards constantly innovating its product. This should also be an integral part of the upcoming conference where future plans are conveyed to users and feedback and suggestions are collected. As Franklin mentioned, there are “a lot of smart folks” at Pega, and they should be used to their full capabilities, garnering relationships with clients and helping to build better solutions (Franklin, 2020). Lastly, while the system currently only analyzes your individual company’s data, with more information comes more tailored results. The system should learn from a repository of all companies’ data to make even more accurate predictions.
A key development area, would be within the company’s “Interaction” capability, improving communication with its employees and customers, gathering information from them, and then executing on it. Similarly, the company should begin to behave less like a start-up and more as an established company with economies of scale and unified brand image and processes. Critical factors to consider in particular are the added costs associated with more events and in person trainings, as well as privacy when it comes to data gathering from outside companies. Key metrics would include number of certifications achieved through the Pega Academy, increased NPS (net promoter score), increase ROI, and increase response rates.
Rudin, H. (2020, January 17). Talent Referral Program Specialist at Pega. (K. Price, Interviewer)