I attended, as an ambassador, PegaWorld iNspire 2020 this past Tuesday. Pegasystems describes itself as “the leader in cloud software for customer engagement and operational excellence.” Normally, this event is held IRL and lasts several days. I went last year to the 2019 edition in Las Vegas and really enjoyed it. There were lots of inspirational talks, hands-on operational executives and stories, plus a good deal of networking and fun. The standout component to Pegasystems’ offer is that they are really driving empathy into customer relations, including how to blend human operators and artificial intelligence in customer service. Between the subjects of empathy and AI and their quest to help futureproof their clients’ business, you can imagine my affinity for Pega!
PegaWorld iNspire 2020
For the 2020 edition of PegaWorld, it was online and just 2 1/2 hours long with some 20,000 people who logged in. In the realm of online conferences, Pega put on a compact, robust and engaging event, led by CEO and founder Alan Trefler, who was on my podcast earlier this year. Alan kicked off the event with a powerful and personal message about the need for change in the US around the chronic racism and police brutality toward African-Americans.
From a logistical standpoint, the whole event featured one significant technical hiccough when many of us were booted off, but it was fortunately timed to happen at an intermission. Live presentations bookended a core with three tracks of content of 62 pre-recorded videos and interviews, where you could pick and choose your path. I stuck to the Insights & Solutions track where I was able to see 4 different interviews.
Here are some of the take-aways that I have after this virtual PegaWorld:
- In transforming your organisation, it’s a mistake just to focus top down or bottom up. In other words, you can’t just add in new channels and messages; nor can you just build out systems from the ground up. You need to organise your transformation around the customer (micro) journey. Alan Trefler talked about the Process Fabric… a way of helping pervasive transformation throughout the organization.
- When doing a virtual conference using remote, reality is that each of the presenters will be bringing a bit of their home and personal life into the picture. For example, we had Alan’s set of cookbooks as a backdrop; for Don Shuerman (CTO), we saw his travelling Martin guitar; and for Kerim Akgonul (SVP Products), we saw his elegant living room. Personally, I think that’s not just ok. It should be something we strive to integrate ongoing into our professional portraits!
- Making a virtual conference interactive is hard work. Don Shuerman was exceptional in his ability to make you feel as if he were talking to you directly. He (and his team of course) added all sorts of tricks into his digital presentation, but he showed he wasn’t afraid to bring along his whole personality, including his two dogs, eating on set and making jokes.
- From the session with Paul Greenberg at the 56 Group on the future of customer service, Paul said that we should be “moving toward a channel-less customer journey, where customer service responds to the needs of the customer,” regardless of the channel.
- Greenberg also spoke about how the best customer service will be able to provide proactive and preemptive service, as costs and customer effort come down. (See chart above)
You can catch the PegaWorld iNspire 2020 replays here.
For the record, I also had Vince Jeffs, Senior Director of Product Strategy, Marketing AI and Decisioning at Pegasystems, on my podcast a couple of episodes ago.
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