The Real Value of Quality Pega Implementations
By David Bliss
2018 has been a great year for Rulesware—especially when it comes to Pega CRM. Three of our new projects are Pega CRM projects, and each CRM project happens to be in different industry (Finance, Healthcare, and Property & Casualty Insurance).
The goal of this article is to share a little of what we’ve learned from our Pega CRM implementations so that everyone involved in the success of our clients is better equipped to guide them to a terrific outcome.
Get the Quick Win: Solve an Immediate Need
Customer Relationship Management implies a broad scope when you consider what all is involved in the relationship of a customer. Guiding the customer to the right first Pega solution is critical. Our advice is to identify a project that solves a burning issue supported by strong financial justification. Next, we advocate the importance of starting small (MLP), building momentum and getting into production quickly. The most common comment we get from clients after their first MLP is “we didn’t really understand the power of Pega, now we get it”.
Guessing at Service Dollars Hurts Everyone
Prospective customers are always concerned with cost—of course. But guessing at service costs without the proper assessment work isn’t good for anyone. Instead, we encourage the focus to be on financial return the prospective client can expect from a Pega CRM implementation. When the business case is understood and a proper scope is selected, Rulesware will work with the client and leverage the Pega sizing tool to establish budgets/estimates.
Agile Delivery Methods = Opportunity to Provide Insight & Build Confidence
All Rulesware deliveries over the past four years have employed Agile methodologies (this is in keeping with a shift in corporate America from Waterfall to Agile methodologies). However, we often discover that even in companies which have some experience with the Agile methodology, that experience is limited to a few people. This is especially problematic when the Product Owner role (one of the most important roles on any Agile project) is misunderstood, improperly empowered or missing on the client side.
At Rulesware, we address this in the first few weeks of every single project, when we keep a keen eye on alignment, aiming to align the customer’s goals with the project; to align staff expectations, and more. During this phase, we educate customers about the Product Owner role and ensure this person is properly empowered, and to become a Pega evangelist too.
We encourage our partners at Pega to work with clients to educate them about Agile delivery, and about the key roles they will need in a project to be successful.
Governance = Closer relationships with senior execs and project sponsors
Project governance is critical to the success of any project. But sometimes projects don’t have the right sponsors involved, or a proper cadence of executive involvement.
To address this challenge, we at Rulesware insist on client involvement at the senior executive level. Our experience, history of success and our persistence ensure that any Rulesware-led project will have the right level of client participation.
We encourage our partners at Pega to participate in the executive governance meetings/calls, too, so that they can hear what’s most important to the executive and sponsors, forging an understanding of business needs into the future.
Most importantly, having frequent interactions with the executives early in projects, when all is going smoothly, will help later when issues arise or when additional Pega selling takes place.
THINKING LONG TERM
Timeline to Self-Sufficiency = Greater Value for the Client, More Confidence in Buying more Pega
Almost every client wants to become self-sufficient in terms of owning the development and deployment of their Pega applications. There is no better way to reduce costs and improve a business case then to reduce the participation of outside consultants. But, to ensure that quality and velocity do not suffer, the transition to the client needs to be planned and executed appropriately.
And, it shouldn’t be a transition to a “support” mode. It should be a gradual shift from partner-led to customer-led development of real enhancements.
We at Rulesware understand and support this fully.
In addition to offering Pega training courses to our customers, Rulesware offers a set of programs to take them them from trained to becoming actual productive contributors to ultimately owning the project. Everyone wins.
Preparing for Leadership Changes
Leadership changes or reorganizations are always unsettling events for those who work with a client on a project. We’ve learned that the more prepared we are to work with new leaders, the fewer disruptions our projects will suffer from. This is why Rulesware focuses on each piece of work being delivered to demonstrate functional and financial value to the client. No presentation or business case can compete with concrete value obtained from production use of the system.
We’ve found that articulating both the value to the users and the financial benefit to the company helps enormously to allay any concerns of new leadership and to ensure the project remains prioritized very highly.
AUTHOR BIO: DAVID BLISS
David Bliss is the Senior Director of Business Development for Rulesware. He spent eight years at Pega as a Sales Executive with the Healthcare enterprise team