Pegasystems CEO Alan Trefler Says 'Unification' Better than Integration

Ann All

During PegaWorld, which is wrapping up today in Orlando, Pegasystems CEO Alan Trefler went to great pains to differentiate his company's approach to acquired technology from those of giants like IBM and Oracle. Too often, he said, software companies "bolt together disjointed products," resulting in a "Frankenstack." (He illustrated this during his keynote presentation with a funny slide featuring Boris Karloff's famous cinematic take on Mary Shelley's monster.)


Pegasystems "unified" the technology it acquired from Chordiant Software last spring with its existing architecture rather than simply integrating it, Trefler said. I wasn't sure what this meant and asked for clarification from some of the former Chordiant employees demonstrating Pega BPM 6.2. Introduced at PegaWorld, it marries Chordiant's sophisticated analytics capabilities with Pega's business rules engine. "We actually rewrote code," they told me.


"We created a common model. We didn't just bolt on the technology," Trefler told me when we sat down for an interview. "It's not just architecture glued together under a facade. No one has ever had a coherent or efficient result with that."


This view isn't surprising, coming from a company founder who seems proud of the fact Pega's software has seen four major rewrites in the last two decades. The way Trefler tells it, Pega's approach to software development was iterative before iterative was cool.


"It shows our commitment to innovation, and I think our customers appreciate that," Trefler said. "It's our job not just to be innovative ourselves, but also to enable our customers to innovate."


Trefler believes the acquisitions of pureplay BPM competitors Metastorm (by Open Text), Savvion (by Progress Software) and Lombardi (by IBM) strengthen Pega's reputation as an innovator. "We remain highly focused on one thing. We now have more resources to devote to it, more customers using it and more geographies to deploy it in," he said.


As I wrote yesterday, the overarching theme of the conference was Pega's move to take BPM in a more customer-centric direction. The software might also take business intelligence into a more operational direction - finally. Despite all of the recent developments in business intelligence, most organizations continue to use it primarily for reporting. Even those using predictive analytics to help make better decisions struggle to connect insights to actionable business processes. Said Trefler:

A person is still the target of most decisioning technology. With [Pega BPM 6.2] the system is the target, and it pushes it right through to the client.

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