Pegasystems to release Process AI amid hyperautomation surge

Pegasystems will add intelligent automation features to its Pega Platform that apply event stream processing, machine learning and natural language processing to business actions.

The latest Pega Infinity software suite includes new process AI features in the low-code Pega Platform that apply real-time AI, event stream processing, machine learning and natural language processing to business actions.

Pegasystems' intelligent automation features -- part of the Pega Process AI feature set -- automates applications such as healthcare claims processing, financial fraud detection and IoT-connected device analysis. The features come amid a surge in the market for technologies that enable "hyperautomation."

The CRM and robotic process automation (RPA) vendor unveiled Pega Infinity 8.6 today at the PegaWorld Inspire virtual conference. Pegasystems first introduced the Process AI capabilities on April 13; they will become generally available when the new Infinity version is released by the end of the second quarter, the vendor said.

"AI works best when it supports and furthers human intelligence," said Alan Trefler, founder and CEO of Pegasystems, in his opening keynote at the conference. "AI finds new ways to optimize and improve your processes."

RPA handles complex tasks

Long known mainly for its CRM and customer engagement software, Pegasystems became a significant player in the advanced RPA field after acquiring RPA vendor OpenSpan in 2016 for $52 million.

Alan Trefler, Pegasystems founder and CEO
Pegasystems founder and CEO Alan Trefler keynotes the PegaWorld Inspire virtual conference.

Since then, Pegasystems, based in Cambridge, Mass., has steadily evolved the technology into what it refers to as intelligent process automation (IPA).

They talk a lot about low-code/no-code stuff, but what they've really focused on is creating efficient processes in a way that's also intelligent.
Brent LearyCo-founder, CRM Essentials

"They talk a lot about low-code/no-code stuff but, what they've really focused on is creating efficient processes in a way that's also intelligent," said Brent Leary, analyst and co-founder at CRM Essentials. "Their focus on IPA, in addition to some of the other areas they're in, is really what gives them the edge."

Leary said Pegasystems has advanced RPA technology considerably from its more than two-decades old roots as macro-based software tools used to automate low-level desktop functions by consolidating clicks, to a powerful AI and machine learning-based engine that performs complex tasks.

"The beauty of what Pega[systems] is doing is they have that [basic RPA], but they're really focused on the intelligent automation from an AI perspective and from a process automation perspective," he said.

As for the Process AI system, Pegasystems said the technology analyzes thousands of events per second using event processing and real-time AI "decisioning" to sort out which requests can be automatically processed, and which ones need human help.

In the customer experience arena, Process AI can help organizations to quickly and accurately make the right servicing decisions, according to Pegasystems.

Process AI uses predictive analytics and machine learning to monitor outcomes and apply learning automatically so the process will be more efficient the next time. Over time, the Process AI system continues to adjust processes in real time as conditions change.

Process AI also includes a low-code machine learning authoring interface to simplify the process of developing and managing AI models over their lifecycles. This lets users and data scientists create models and enables skilled AI practitioners to collaborate more easily with users.

"When we look at intelligent process automation, the Process AI is a big piece of that for us," said Don Schuerman, CTO at Pegasystems. "This is around . . . getting organizations to be incredibly proactive in how they automate their processes and bringing it farther back in the processing stream.

"A lot of the RPA use cases historically are when something is broken, [and] use RPA to fix it, but this is around detecting it before it gets broken," he continued.

RPA market growth

Pegasystems' new intelligent automation tools arrive amid a dramatic growth spurt in the RPA industry, which was punctuated by the UiPath IPO last month.

Gartner recently forecasted that the market for hyperautomation technologies such as RPA, low-code application platforms, AI and virtual assistants will reach nearly $600 billion in 2022.

"Now you're seeing the RPA market really go crazy," Leary said.

Cloud computing vendor ServiceNow acquired India-based RPA vendor Intellibot on March 23. Among other developments, intelligent automation vendor WorkFusion secured a $220 million financing round on March 9, and RPA vendor Automation Anywhere formed a partnership with Google Cloud on March 5, under which it became Google's preferred RPA partner.

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