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Pegasystems' Pega Express empowers citizen developers

Pegasystems' new Pega Express low-code application development methodology helps business users and citizen developers to quickly create applications.

Pegasystems has introduced Pega Express, a new low-code app development methodology that is part of the overall Pega Platform.

The company is long known for its BPM (business process management) software, which has been used by power users to visually model and optimize their company's business processes. Low-code platforms can tap into business processes as well, but are oriented more toward the rapid creation of web and mobile applications, trading fuller functionality for maximum productivity.

"Low-code is the new programming, and Pegasystems is the latest platform provider to join this methodology of app development to address customers' needs for tools to involve broader involvement of non-coders in the process of building applications," said Charlotte Dunlap, an analyst at GlobalData in Santa Cruz, Calif.

Pega Express features tools to help business users or citizen developers go step-by-step and quickly build working prototypes -- what Pegasystems refers to as Minimum Lovable Products (MLPs) -- that they can continue to customize as needed.

Although the "low-code" moniker had not yet been created, Pegasystems has honed its rapid prototyping capabilities through its BPM software for more than 15 years, said Don Schuerman, CTO and vice president of product marketing at Pegasystems.

Charlotte Dunlap, analyst, GlobalDataCharlotte Dunlap

The Pega Express methodology features a drag-and-drop visual interface to guide users to create what Pegasystems refers to as "microjourneys" or scenarios within an application -- such as onboarding new workers or disputing a charge.

In addition, Pega Express allows users to set different roles -- such as "customer" or "lending manager" -- to define how they would engage with the app. The developer can also use Pega Express to define through which channels the different roles would engage with the app -- such as through a mobile device or an agent desktop, Schuerman said.

"We thought it was really important to be prescriptive and guided in the way that we take people through building applications," he added. "If you want to do design thinking, you want to allow people to really iterate and prototype ideas."

From there, the low-code platform provides access to all the available, relevant data sources users can pull from to empower their application, such as databases, ERP systems or CRM systems. And with a mouse click the system will automatically generate an application -- the MLP, along with the accompanying documentation.

Pega has a long history in low-code; we just didn't call it that until the last few years.
Rob KoplowitzAnalyst, Forrester Research

"They will have a running prototype of their app that they can then flesh out over a series of sprints and turn into something that's ready to deploy and go live," Schuerman said. This can be done in a matter of weeks.

Pegasystems' low-code technology has begun to bubble up on industry watchers' radar screens.

"While their development tools in the low-code space have been very strong for a while, we've been tracking increasingly strong uptake of late, in part based on more aggressive marketing of the capabilities, but also pricing models that are designed to compete in the low-code market," said Rob Koplowitz, an analyst with Forrester. "Bottom line: We take Pega very seriously as a low-code vendor."

The Pega Express methodology will be available with the release of Pega Platform 8.4, which will ship at the end of this month.

The Pega Platform also includes AI, case management and automation capabilities.

"Low-code platforms represent one of the hot trends currently because of their integration with AI over the past 12 months elevating low-code's importance among operations teams looking for improved automation of workflows and app lifecycles," Dunlap said.

Moreover, less than a month ago Google acquired no-code provider AppSheet to address these same issues among enterprise users, she noted.

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