By Yossarian Silano
For the last several weeks I’ve been partnered with INNOVA Consulting Group through the Hiring our Heroes Fellowship program. INNOVA has taught me a lot about business in general, but my particular focus has been on working toward becoming a Pega Certified Business Architect (PCBA). I don’t have an IT background, and I don’t write code, but here I am.
My Pega training has given me a lot to think about, particularly regarding the myriad processes found within the Department of Defense (DoD) enterprise. For 30 years, that enterprise has defined my day, every day. DoD has processes for everything, many of them made up of several processes, and all of them must be synchronized in time and space to be effective. Pega is very good at Business Process Management (BPM), although it is not limited to that.
Getting your DoD ID – something upon which everything my family needs access to relies – is very similar to getting your driver’s license: Wait in line, provide your ID, take a picture and pay a fee. COVID-19 has changed the DoD ID process, though, so that when my family and I attempted to obtain ours last week, we now required an appointment. What’s more, some high-risk employees can no longer work in that office, which has further reduced the number of people that can be seen (throughput). COVID reductions in the total number of people in each office have resulted in all the appointment slots being full past the end of the month. That is not enough to deal with the surge, because COVID also kept the office closed for several weeks and so there is now more demand due to expired cards than capacity for appointments.
The solution has been to allow walk-ins, which are accepted for just 30 minutes each day. During the more than hour-long check-in process, families were shoulder-to-shoulder in the hall outside the waiting area, which had most of the chairs removed to accommodate social distancing. Even after checking in, nobody could leave that crowded hall. To do so meant not getting your ID card, as the overwhelmed office just had time to shout a name once or twice and then move on to the next one. After the 30-minute walk-in window was up, people with appointments started coming in, and registered walk-ins were called in throughout the day in order of check-in as time allowed. It was an inefficient process hastily implemented to conform to a new policy by people too pressed to give it much thought. We spent two days in a row standing in that hall, and we still don’t have new ID cards. We’ll try again this week. I did have plenty of time to reflect on the process being used and to imagine several ways to improve it. To avoid overcrowding and wasted time, why couldn’t people leave until they were notified via email or text? This process either requires more workers—not a viable solution given the limited space—or it requires an automated solution.
Using Pega’s “low-code” or “no-code” approach, one person with minimal training could build a basic application in about an hour that would manage the walk-in process and alleviate the pain points I described above. That one person could be the clerk, or it could be an IT person who spoke with the clerk and witnessed the existing process. The point I focus on here is the office that has Pega can go from needing a solution to a sudden issue to implementing that solution within a day or two. It’s that simple. Once you’ve put together the basics, it’s easy to collaborate with IT or your developers and expand the application to do more. You can even fire up the Agile process and run a Sprint or two when you decide you need a more elegant solution.
Pega’s most important capability is empowering individuals in an organization to create applications that help them without having to expend additional resources to get it off the ground. The labor hours that can be saved here are effectively infinite.
“Low-code” is revolutionary in concept and will reshape how businesses approach their solutions. Pega has recognized this and expanded on it and embraced the application programming interface (API) aspect, so that the applications you build can talk to everyone else’s applications, no matter the code they use. If you have “siloed” applications, this is a fix. Pega can help you QUICKLY adjust to new conditions and modify your processes based on what you need right now. You don’t have to wait for months to get a new application built – your own people can build it, or in many cases just pull an already built low-code application and modify it to suit. That application is immediately available to use as you want. You can modify it, turn it off, turn it back on, etc. If you have an IT team, they can flesh out details of more complicated functions and deliver very complex capabilities much quicker than you’re accustomed to. You don’t need that level of support to get a basic application up and running in an office, but you would want it to tie more complex applications together across your enterprise. Need to share data across disparate systems and offices? Pega simplifies it for you. The question isn’t “What does Pega do?” but “What problem do you want to solve?”
Interested in learning more about how Pega can take your business process management to new heights? Contact BPM911, powered by INNOVA Consulting, today.