Interview

‘IT investment is the need of the hour’

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Sudheer GouthamIndia is going through a tremendous transformation due to the proliferation of the JAM trinity-Jan Dhan, Aadhaar and Mobile. It is now significant for both government and private sector to invest heavily in IT services, says Suman Reddy, Managing Director, Pega Systems, in conversation with Sudheer Goutham of Elets News Network (ENN).

Please give a brief introduction on Pega systems and its operation in India.

Pega systems has completed 10 years in India in December last year. It is a 35-year-old company. We entered India primarily with the purpose of expanding our R & D capabilities as the company’s last version of the technology was adopted by the fortune 500 and global 3000 companies. I got the

opportunity to come to India 10 years ago and build the ground for the company’s operations. We have a very modest target back in those days. The company was about a $ 160 million in those days and we came here to add a capacity of 100 in our R&D capabilities. It helped the organisation to grow. Earlier, we brought three or four people from the US but now we are close to 1,500 people. We are expected to reach a billion $ within 18 months. We work on cutting edge stuff on India. Office in India operates as a core R&D division of the company which includes building our core platform for digital transformation and digital process automation. We also build a lot of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) technologies on the platform for service, sales and marketing. In addition to that, we have worldwide customer support and cloud support to which is also done from this centre.

When did you start working with the government of Andhra Pradesh? What are at core areas of convergence?

E-pragati has gone through many changes in the last one and the half years. When the government was formed it very well decided its strategies. They decided to build a platform that can enable all 33 departments, 200 groups, 350 agencies, 745 citizen services. They really wanted to transform the end-to-end experience for the citizens across all the departments by essentially providing real time governance and minimising the interaction points and ensuring that they track the key performance indicators. The government wanted to understand citizen happiness index by applying 33 different ways. The motive is to essentially provide transparent governance to the citizen. The government spoke to a lot of organisations for convergence and the whole process took 5-6 months. For this they even launched a one of its kind Hackathon for 48 hours where we and several of our competitors participated.  Pega was the only organisation that came close to the entire use cases that were assigned during the Hackathon by the government. They did a very deep evaluation of the technologies that were by us and then after the analysis we were chosen as the preferred choice for building the building the platform.

What is the status of the e-Pragati project?

They are in stage one and they have started building it out. They are going to launch their portal on department applications and they are also set to launch certificate-less government services. They will also be providing marriage certificates, caste certificates, Digilockers, and many more services in phase one. They are also looking at eight other services that touch the Panchayati Raj, R & D department, Agriculture department, education institution, RERA etc. The development stage of phase one has completed and it is now running on the testing phase.

Besides Andhra Pradesh, which other state governments are you working with on similar pattern?

The e-governance developed for the government of Andhra Pradesh has garnered a lot of popularity and therefore, many state governments are enquiring about it. The vision of the particular project is so huge that a lot of state governments are absolutely aspired to do something very similar. But they are all now evaluating what government of Andhra Pradesh is doing. We are quite positive that many state governments will start looking this way.

What is your point of view on e-governance services offered Karnataka as compared to Andhra Pradesh?

e-Pragati which is offered by government of Andhra Pradesh is unprecedented. Not just Karnataka but it unprecedented if compared globally. No one had ever created a single platform that allows you to build entire 33 departments under one platform. The citizen gets the opportunity to interact with government pertaining to all the services offered just via one platform.

Tell us about Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh’s Dashboard service. Is it connected to e-Pragati?

CM’s dashboard relies on a lot of data. The dashboard essentially taps into various data sources across departments, agencies. It also gets live feeds to ensure real time governance.

What are the complexities to do see in the system?

The biggest challenge is in terms of operating with 33 different departments. One of the major objectives of this service is to provide consistency across all the departments. So, whenever you are installing an update, it gets uniform implementation.

Apart from this, what are your other offering and involvements?

Essentially we are helping many governments and corporates across the world in their digital transformation. The powerful platform which is our patented architecture is the secret source of the whole implementation. It allows for no core, agile, faster time to market development and provides tremendous amount of user ability besides offering Artificial Intelligence capabilities, robotic automation, ensuring big data analytics etc. The platform is used by many fortune 500 companies to build many of their digital applications across the enterprise.

We are also a leading players is in Customer Relationship Management (CRM). CRM has three pillars-Service, Sales and Marketing. Silos across these three departments, be it private or government would need. Pega has a unified CRM offering where it provides service, sales and marketing build on patented automation platform. So the customers can really tie their backend to the frontend.

What is your point view on “Digital India” initiative?

Digital India is good initiative. So initiatives take time to show their results. There are several segments where this flagship programme is well but there are some modifications that should be potentially thought about. As things are evolving, technology is changing there are some changes that are needed to be done in Digital India’s roadmap.

We are making in India. We are operating in this country for one decade and we are producing best software in two separate areas, recognised by world’s biggest analysts in the domain. I believe, in terms of quality of talent, infrastructure, availability of talent, India continues to be the greatest nation. In my view, proactive government policies both by the centre and state have been very encouraging. We must support IT industry in the country, since it is a growing space. Make in India is quite a success.

Tell us about your Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives.

Pega takes up a lot of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives. We started of working with orphanages and provided education facilities to children. We have also taken up several women empowerment initiatives where we did vocational training for women so that they can earn their livelihood.  Two years ago, we had taken up “Pega Teach for Change” initiative. It is essentially aspiring to transform thousands of government school going students in terms of their future by proding them education in three different areas namely-English speaking, computer literacy and leadership skills.

Last year, we have covered more than 100 schools and we have imparted knowledge to 7,000 plus students. We have also tied up with TOEFL for analysing the level of English speaking. We have signed up with several volunteers to join us on weekends to teaching the students. The volunteers have to join us for more than one year. We are already operating the CSR services in Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Vizag and Chennai.

Would you like to share your views on IT innovations in India?

India is going through tremendous transformation, from both government and private perspective. The proliferation of the JAM trinity-Jan Dhan, Aadhaar and Mobile has been transforming the country in terms of brining million of people into the organised sector. They are now a part of the recognised sector. Therefore it puts significant pressure on systems that are being used by the government, banking and finance sector. Both government and private sector have to now heavily invest in IT systems. We know have to invest into sophisticated systems that are proved.

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