How Pega can Reduce cost of Ownership

Hi, I’m Chris Pugh and I’m one of QA Consulting’s two Pega Technical Leads. Our role is focussed on ensuring QA Consulting’s Pega services, as well as our consultants are kept up to date with the latest developments on the platform, enabling QA Consulting to be leading the way with changes in the Pega platform and how we can benefit our customers. In addition to this, I am also based on site as a consultant as a lead developer. Alongside my duties at QA Consulting I am also working towards attaining my Lead System Architect qualification.

I have been working the Pega Platform in the professional capacity for two years now. In my blog posts I will be sharing my thoughts on any new and interesting developments starting with ‘How Pega can Reduce Cost of Ownership’.

Pega is a leading case management and business process modelling engine which boasts many features and functions which can help any business. In this blog, I will be discussing the four areas where Pega can help reduce your Cost of Ownership (COO):

  • Faster application development
  • Code reuse
  • Reduced testing
  • Delegated functionality

Faster application development

A lot of functionality which is required for building an application comes built-in with Pega. When one of the Pega industry specific applications is used as the base for your company’s applications, even more functionality is provided. When it comes to putting your own customised applications together, this means that less work is required. Instead of rewriting the basics of an application time and time again, this work has always been done. It’s obvious that the less time spent developing features, the less the application will cost, but by reusing standard functionality, maintenance costs can be significantly reduced as well.

Build once, reuse many times

Reuse is key in Pega. There is a strong use of object oriented design patterns such as inheritance, so if a particular piece of functionality is built at the right level, it can be reused as many times as required. Even if you have multiple applications which perform entirely different tasks, they may well have shared components such as customer or supplier addresses. Pega’s reuse allows for these shared components to be built once and reused as many times as is required, which can dramatically shorten both development and testing cycles.

Reduced testing

Because so much functionality is provided, we can take those pieces of the application as having been already tested. As a result, we can reduce the scope of testing, which reduces the amount of time needed for a testing cycle. As an example, when using a date field in Pega’s UI, we don’t have to check that a leap year is handled correctly. This kind of functionality just works, as soon as you need it. The only testing which needs to be completed, is that which ensures the customised functionality needed to deliver your business’s user stories works smoothly and without fault.

Delegated functionality

Pega systems are built to accommodate change. In traditional software, if any changes need to be made after the system goes live, another round of development and testing needs to be kicked off, with the associated time and costs involved. With Pega, certain key pieces of business functionality can be delegated to the business, which allows a group of empowered business users to make changes to the application themselves. This allows change to be achieved far more rapidly than would otherwise be possible, and because a development team is not required to make the change, the cost is much lower.

You can now see that by using Pega as the platform for your applications you can achieve significant savings, faster time to development for less money.

Once your application has gone live, further savings can be achieved by both the reduced maintenance costs and the delegation of key business functionality to empowered users. This allows your business to respond to change faster and at a much lowered cost than before.

Hands on with Pega Express

Hi, I’m Anna Buchanan and I am currently one half of QA Consulting’s Pega Technical Leads team. My role surrounds the growing and supporting of their Pega offering, as well as supporting Pega consultants in the field. In addition to this, I am also based on site as a Certified Senior System Architect and I am currently studying for my Lead System Architect qualification.

Over the course of the coming months I will be updating you on the latest in Pega technology, starting with Pega Express.

One of Pega’s unique selling points has always been its accessibility, with a focus on business friendly development tools. In the latest version of Pega, 7.1.9, a new tool has come out to further enhance that philosophy called Pega Express.

What does it do?

Pega Express is an alternate authoring view from the standard Designer Studio interface, which is used by most Pega developers. It’s been stripped down to vital features and it feels much more uncluttered than the full development portal. The result of this is a more user friendly interface.

It was first showcased at PegaWorld and received great customer feedback. Customers said that they really wanted to see more of it, so Pega decided to go ahead and make the full version.

The aim of Pega Express is to further abstract development from traditional coding methods, in order to bring the business closer to their applications, by empowering them to prototype their own applications. This can be shared and worked on with the Business Analysts and when it’s ready, switched over to Designer Studio, where the full complexity and power of Pega can be used to create the end application.

Just in Time Learning

One of the best parts of Pega Express is the concept of hands-on learning. Express can be used as a crash course in application development, there are in-context help boxes displayed throughout development, and virtual tours for the different areas of the tool. Challenges and Achievements have been introduced to encourage exploring the tool, these achievements are recorded uniquely for each user, allowing multiple people to access them on the same application. This makes a welcome change from the Pega Academy material which is largely academic. If your learning style isn’t suited to the Pega Academy, this could be the perfect alternative for developer training for you.

User Acceptance Testing Upfront

As a developer, you can create a sandbox prototype for your end users, which they are encouraged to edit and adapt for themselves. You can invite collaborators via email to get as many stakeholders involved as needed. It’s accessible via mobile and tablet as well, which makes it possible for prototypes to be reviewed on the go. I personally would recommend exploring the tool for yourself and understanding how best to leverage it, before handing it over to the business. There is a dedicated Pega Express forum on the PDN for any questions that do come up.

Where is it going?

Pega says in the future they want to open this tool up to its additional products, Pega Marketing etc. As well as the core offering, they want a stronger focus on the ability to use existing applications and build on top of them. At the moment you can reuse organisational layers but it is limited. One of the only downsides it that the current version is only available in English, something Pega aims to change soon.

This tool has the potential to be very useful, allowing businesses to get even closer to their software solutions, as building something the business actually needs is a daily challenge for most developers. Ultimately, the more you can empower your business owners to show you what they want rather than tell, the better results you will get, as sometimes concepts aren’t as useful to end users as they think they will be when stuck in long elaboration meetings. Pega Express allows those problems to be found early and provides a faster way to get started with applications.