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ITechnology Interview with Francis Carden, VP, Intelligent Automation and Robotics at Pega

ITechnology Interview with Francis Carden, VP, Intelligent Automation and Robotics at Pega

Quality internal applications result in increased efficiency and innovation and enable employees to spend their time on higher-level tasks that can positively impact all customer experiences – regardless of channel.

Hi Francis. Please tell us your opinion about employee experience management in a modern app-driven enterprise IT technology stack.

Giving employees the same experiences as customers are paramount in 2022.

When comparing internal and external apps at an organization, there’s a massive disconnect. However, the processes involved are pretty much the same, or at least, they should be. Many times, internal apps just aren’t good, or are an attempted (but ineffective) repeat of external apps. Organizations are spending their resources on customer-facing applications, but not investing in internal apps. This can be detrimental to a brand, as they’re creating different experience variations that conflict with customer experiences. Employees shouldn’t have to spend 10 minutes fighting internal applications and figuring out their functionality…they should just work.

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Organizations need to understand the importance of having their internal applications provide the same seamless, efficient experiences as their external ones. Quality internal applications result in increased efficiency and innovation and enable employees to spend their time on higher-level tasks that can positively impact all customer experiences – regardless of channel. Forward-thinking organizations will ensure user experience (UX) is consistently good across applications without needing to manage duplicate copies of processes just because the UI is different. This creates a better total experience – for customers and employees.

What suggestion do you have for companies that are unable to scale their UI UX workflows?

Embracing reusability is a key to scale.

It’s expensive and extremely labor-intensive to build applications from scratch – essentially, reinventing the wheel each time there’s a new business need. Unfortunately, that’s the approach many organizations currently use. Collectively, organizations need to work towards building processes once, and expanding those processes across applications and workflows with UX flexibility, future-proofing flexibility, and adaptability.

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This means having a design system in place with the same features and functions in the same place every time so users – both internal and external – benefit from consistent experiences. By implementing reusable templates every time you create a new application or workflow, you get one step closer to eliminating legacy debt, and create a cost-efficient way to create new, user-friendly applications. And when that compounding legacy debt starts disappearing, there’s room for even more innovation.

There will always be a new UX flavor of the week – and you’ll never be able to keep up with it. Many times, organizations fight low code and instead want to build new applications themselves from the ground up. With this approach, they’ll find themselves much like Sisyphus and his boulder. Unless, as an organization, you’re able to assemble a giant team of specialized application developers and UX gurus, it’s unrealistic to expect to create new apps and frameworks every time there’s a new industry trend.

Instead, you’ll only end up with even more legacy debt than you already have. By embracing low code, you can outsource a good portion of this work to the technology. You can create consistent and innovative applications without a full, dedicated team of developers, and more easily keep up with new trends and market demands. Without the hard coding that previously stifled the speed of adoption, the future of the UX will be much more flexible.

How can companies embrace automation for better outcomes from their various processes? 

Companies start using technology to become human-centric.

In 2022, we’ll see more of a shift to human-focused automation. Work has become more complicated since the pandemic – we’re distributed across different environments, and we can’t continue to just keep building band aids and bots for many of these challenges. We need humans to tackle the harder stuff, and need a way to offload the more uncomplicated tasks. That’s where automation comes in. This enables organizations to empower humans to be more effective and focus on important things, such as UX, designing better processes, and true transformation, without the risks that prevented this innovation in the past.

What are your predictions for the expanding role and scope of data science and AI capabilities in the automation industry?

Trading data for value will become a norm.

It may be a tough pill to swallow, but we already do trade data for value. We know many of our social media networks or email services use our data, but we accept it and keep using these services. The value to us as consumers overwhelms the fact that our data is being used. This may start to apply to the way we work. If organizations can use data to help make people’s jobs better, employees may be inclined to lean into their data being used in the workplace.

This is where we’ll see technologies like task mining, process mining, and process AI come in to help make decisions based on that data to improve employees’ experiences, bringing in the next generation of work. Just as Amazon uses AI to adapt, seemingly on the fly, to massive occurrences of events occurring across its ecosystem, all enterprises can reap the rewards from these technologies that can see deep across and inside their processes. This ties into the above bullet (moving toward human-centric automation), and how can brands use AI to see where processes are sub-optimal, or to tell employees about to start a meaningless task that it’s a waste of time. We’re entering an era of truly understanding what people do and helping them work better.

Legacy debt will continue to be part of the conversation – specifically, how to drive continuous innovation despite legacy debt. Unless they’re digital natives, most big organizations have legacy debt – to no fault of their own. While many brands think they need to fully eliminate their legacy debt to innovate, this isn’t the case. Many organizations are working hard to reduce legacy debt without holding back their own innovation – it is possible to do both at the same time, but it’s important to accept this will be a substantial undertaking and long journey.

What’s become clear is it’s time to stop using legacy debt as an excuse to not innovate. In 2022, brands will be forced to figure out how to find a balance – you need projects slowly chipping away at your legacy debt iceberg along with new projects that are driving innovation and change. And low-code will be a critical part in this as it enables people to build faster with lower stakes. At the end of the day, organizations need to consider their total cost of ownership: balancing new projects with eliminating legacy debt to overall achieve a better ROI with their investments.

What’s your take on the growing demand for low-code ecosystems?

Low-code isn’t just for smaller apps!

Low-code isn’t just for internal, smaller scale, backlogged tasks and apps. You can also build truly innovative, enterprise-grade, and scalable apps with a low-code model. Low-code can be a true engine of innovation – creating new apps, processes, and experiences – both internally and externally, big or small. It gives more people the ability to try new things faster – as well as fail and move on faster – while also broadening the scope of who can participate in the process. Low-code technology will help create even more innovation in 2022, deliver powerful re-use, and drive rapid adoption, and we’ll see more organizations embrace it.

Thank you so much for your insights! We look forward to hearing from you in the future. 

[To share your insights with us, please write to sghosh@martechseries.com]

Francis Carden is the VP, Intelligent Automation and Robotics at Pega.

The corporate logo for Pega (PRNewsfoto/Pegasystems Inc.)

Pega delivers innovative software that crushes business complexity so our clients can make better decisions and get work done. We help the world’s leading brands solve their biggest business challenges: maximizing customer lifetime value, streamlining customer service, and boosting operational efficiency.

Pega technology is powered by real-time AI and intelligent automation, while our scalable architecture and low-code platform help enterprises adapt to rapid change and transform for tomorrow.

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