By George Ross, Retired U.S Army 42H Adjutant General
What a privilege to work with INNOVA Consulting as part of the Hiring Our Heroes corporate fellowship program, which provides a golden opportunity for retiring service members like me to integrate into the private sector while still on active duty. As a Pega Business Partner and a Microsoft Gold Certified, Tier 1 cloud solutions provider, INNOVA is on the cutting edge of emerging technology for cloud and business process management (BPM). This fellowship period I’m focused on broadening my knowledge of this business domain, including becoming a Pega Certified Business Architect.
Serving as an HR professional in the U.S. Army provided me firsthand experience of working in a large organization saddled with innumerable business processes to handle the myriad needs of the end-user – the Soldier. These needs, to name just a few, include pay, evaluations, awards, leave (paid time off), travel (we do a lot!), training, duty assignments and promotions. The evolution of Army automated business practices has resulted in a rather convoluted architecture that continues to be challenged with multiple interfaces that lack logical data integration. For instance, the system that tracks and processes pay and leave is separate from other HR systems that process evaluations, awards, job assignments and accountability. Managing these separate systems requires multiple inputs and extra manpower. In fact, the military has distinct jobs (called military occupational skill, or MOS) for the separate finance or HR systems.
Previously, the Department of Defense attempted to synchronize pay and personnel into a single system that spanned the various services (Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines). After eight years of development and testing, the project was dissolved due to various insurmountable obstacles. Since then, the Army has developed its own version of an integrated pay and personnel system. After another eight years of development, it is slowly being rolled out across the force. Time will tell if it was successful, but the fact remains that it has taken a LONG time to field a product designed to integrate data just between the realms of pay and personnel.
This chart provides a snapshot of the numerous databases and interfaces the Army is attempting to integrate:
In its defense, the active Army has a half million Soldiers spread across the globe who belong to different “components,” e.g., Active, Reserve and National Guard. The Army also falls under an even larger bureaucracy called the Department of Defense, which is in turn governed by the laws and policy coming down from Congress. Is it any wonder our business processes may be inefficient or siloed?
Just a few weeks at INNOVA has exposed me to a new world of BPM and cloud possibilities that the Army would do well to consider. INNOVA’s marquee product is the Pega platform, an incredible no-code application development suite that provides robust BPM and Client Relationship Management (CRM) solutions for large enterprises. Pega’s most appealing feature is an application builder that allows users to design and execute automated business processes without writing a single line of code. Another exceptional feature is Pega’s ability to synchronize and integrate the user experience using multiple external systems of record.
Pega looks to be an ideal candidate to help the Army better integrate its approach to managing its people. By synchronizing data across the various systems of record and minimizing the numerous points of data entry, Pega provides a unified solution that could streamline and simplify HR delivery in an otherwise inefficient and disjointed array of systems. Pega can also help bridge the gap between HR professionals who understand business needs with the IT engineers who traditionally design and maintain the automated systems. Pega’s ability to seamlessly blend business goals, processes and user journeys directly in the application software makes it the ideal platform to transform the way the Army takes care of its Soldiers.
Joining INNOVA Consulting is a great launch point to experience the cutting-edge BPM and cloud technologies businesses must implement to stay relevant in the future. While the Army stays relevant just by the nature of its mission, implementing new BPM technology should help reduce the amount of resources currently dedicated to maintaining its legacy systems. Learning about INNOVA’s approach to Pega BPM and cloud technologies has opened my eyes to the realm of possibilities that emerging technology offers. Is your business willing to capitalize on this opportunity?
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