Pegasystems adds new dimensions with OpenSpan acquisition

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Pegasystems has acquired workforce intelligence and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) technology vendor OpenSpan. This is a smart move that opens up multiple fronts of opportunity for both vendors, and also their customers.

In case you missed it, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) – put very crudely, think of it as the next generation of terminal emulation or screen-scraping technology, but upgraded with added flexibility and intelligence – has pretty rapidly become a hot topic. Not only for Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) providers, which see RPA as a way of improving quality and margins in markets where the historical lever of global labour arbitrage is rusting; but also for large corporations’ shared services centres and contact centres. RPA technology can automate and eradicate the ‘swivel-chair integration’ that bedevils so many service agents’ work environments, and that is a Good Thing. For everyone.

OpenSpan provides RPA technology, but it also pairs this with ‘workforce intelligence’ technology (introduced in 2015) – using a desktop agent to monitor workers’ interactions with different applications and systems and using the resulting data to discern patterns that indicate problems with training, team effectiveness, poor processes, systems issues, and so on.

The OpenSpan acquisition – opportunities for all

RPA is hot, and RPA technology can help organisations quickly cut through knots of legacy systems that introduce waste into processes and ultimately impact customer satisfaction. But that’s clearly not the whole story of why Pegaystems’ OpenSpan acquisition. So what else does Pegasystems get for the $52.3m it spent (in cash) to buy the company?

  • A profitable company with around 150 staff, growing revenue at 20% annually.
  • Around 140 large enterprise customers, providing technology that has a presence in around 200,000 agent desktops – across Pega’s heartland of financial services, insurance, telecoms and healthcare of course, but also spanning retail, travel & transport sectors. With Pegasystems really focusing its business on addressing customer-facing process opportunities, OpenSpan’s presence in service centres is a perfect fit.
  • Opportunities to use OpenSpan’s workforce intelligence capability to drive conversations about productivity and software support for business processes, and so open up larger transformation engagements.
  • Opportunities to combine worker/team activity and performance data from OpenSpan’s workforce intelligence with process performance data from Pega implementations to drive deeper and broader insights into customers’ pains and opportunities.
  • Opportunities to use Pega’s predictive analytics capabilities to create more value in the OpenSpan workforce intelligence technology.

So, in short: this looks like a smart move for Pegasystems, for OpenSpan, and for the companies’ customers. I’ll find out more when I attend Pegasystems’ annual PegaWorld conference in June – I’ll keep you in the loop!

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