Business Operations

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Business Operations

Description An overview of Business Operations
Version as of 8.5
Application Customer Decision Hub
Capability/Industry Area Business agility



Business Operations is a relatively new term we use at Pega. It is used to describe the activities that take place in the project phase of a decisioning implementation, which we historically called Business As Usual (BAU). Business Operations as a term better describes the activities that our business team conduct, which are often sophisticated and involved. We also consider this term more appropriate as Pega's customers no longer view the period after the initial go-live as being simply keeping the decisioning implementation ticking over. Our business users now want to plan, build, test and optimize changes to their decisioning frameworks in a controlled, forensic manner with best-in-class tools.

Key facets of Business Operations[edit]

For a complete Business Operations capability we need to consider the key facets of successful Business Operations:

  • Having a suitable environment to conduct these activities in - Business Operations Environment
  • Ensuring the environment has access to good quality production data - Data migration
  • Having a way of planning and making changes in a controlled manner - Operations Manager
  • Ensuring you have the tools needed to analyze and optimize your decision framework - Simulations and testing
  • A safe, controlled and audited way to push your changes to live- Deployment Manager

This article details each of these facets at a high level so that you can build an understanding of Business Operations. Before beginning to read through this document, it will help you in understanding these facets of Business Operations if you have visibility of your operating model. This is how you intend to conduct Business Operations. Pega recommends the use of an operating model aligned to our core best practice approach, an example of which is shown below. We will use this example operating model to map the key sweet spots of each capability.

An example operating model, based on the Agile Marketing Framework

Business Operations Environment[edit]

Many of our decisioning and Pega Customer Decision Hub (CDH) customers already have environments which they dedicate to BAU activities. They are often heavy-weight and unwieldy production clones, that are often used for simulations and other forms of testing. Pega has not provided too much support to these customers in the past, though now we provide an environment which can be used not just for simulation activities but also, in a broader sense, to conduct Business Operations. This includes planning and changing actions and treatments and the deployment of these changes through environments.

The Business Operations Environment is now available as part of the default provisioning of CDH systems on Pega Cloud. We recommend that all customers on Pega cloud adopt the Business Operations environment, and for customers who are on-premise, we recommend that they replicate this setup in their own infrastructure. The reason for this is that we see continuing value in having a dedicated environment for business teams to plan, build, test and optimize their changes, free of the constraints of working within an Enterprise development environment.

The example below shows the standard deployment template from Pega Cloud 2.16 and Pega 8.5.

The standard provisioning template for new Pega Cloud customers

When considering replicating the Business Operations Environment on premise, remember the three characteristics that make it suitable:

  1. Production Level
  2. Scaled to an agreed percentage of production
  3. Populated with data through the data migration pipelines

Data Migration[edit]

One of the key aspects of being successful with Business Operations is to ensure that the business operations team has access to good quality, as production-like data as possible. With Data Migration pipelines (a type of pipeline available within Deployment Manager, Pega's Devops tool), this is now much easier to do. We use the Data Migration pipelines to move sampled data from the Production to Business Operations Environment, so that our testing and simulation activities better reflect what will happen within the Production environment when we deploy our changes to the Decisioning Framework.

The data migration pipeline

The first step for successful data migrations is to sample the data:

  • Each customer is sampled at the point of decision
  • A data set of customer IDs and the customer data used, including the contextual data is stored
  • Each customer is only stored once and the most recent interaction is kept
  • The dataset of sampled customers builds up to the agreed percentage of the entire customer base

The sampling approaches available through the Data Migration pipeline are evolving and we will continue to offer more sampling approaches in future.

The second step is to export the data from Production and this is initiated by the data migration pipeline:

  • The customer data is collected
  • The interaction history for each customer is collected
  • The current state of Adaptive models is collected

The third step is to import the data into the Business Operations Environment which again orchestrated through the data migration pipeline:

  • The adaptive model states are loaded
  • The interaction history is populated
  • The sampled customer data is made available as a simulation data set.

The data migration pipeline can be run as frequently as required through a job scheduler to ensure that the Business Operations Environment has access to the most recent data from the Production environment.

Pega 1:1 Operations Manager[edit]

Pega 1:1 Operations Manager is a new user experience that has been added to Pega Customer Decision Hub to provide a business-led change management solution for typical changes such as adding Actions, modifying existing Treatments, and promoting approved predictive model updates to Production. The new solution leverages the latest Pega design system to provide an intuitive end user experience.

Business change management process for Business Content teams
Business Content teams can use Pega 1:1 Operations Manager to make business-as-usual changes

The following use cases are supported:

  • Create a new (single) action using a guided process:
  1. Include any number of treatments
  2. Define complex Engagement Policy criteria
  • Update one or more existing actions using a guided process:
  1. Add/update/remove treatments
  2. Update action metadata using a tabular grid
  • Manage Business Operations teams easily
  • Define queue access without admin rights
  • Prioritize the list of change requests
  • Recover gracefully when migration to production fails or other issues come up

For further information on the Operations Manager, the following documentation links can be explored:

Simulations and Testing[edit]

In the last few releases of Pega Platform we have greatly enhanced the simulations capabilities available within Business Operations. Each type of simulation meets a specific need and we will be enhancing and adding to these capabilities as time progresses. With reference to your operating model, there are simulation capabilities that can be used to generate ideas, to test your decision framework, to investigate bias, and to look for opportunities to optimize.

Each simulation has a particular sweet spot within the operating model, as shown below, the usage and focus of each simulation is most effective where shown.

Simulation overlay
Simulation overlay

The following are the main capabilities as of version 8.5:

  • Distribution

Focused on testing changes (within Revisions) - Are my results within the expected distribution?

Primary actors – NBA specialist, Strategy Designers

  • Decision Funnel

Focused on building and testing changes (change requests) - Are the population pass rates for rules, expressions and components to be expected?

Primary actors – NBA specialist, Strategy Designers

  • Ethical Bias

Focused on testing completed changes (revisions) and ad-hoc monitoring - Is there any unwanted bias in any of the actions ?

Primary actors – Data Analyst, Data Scientists, NBA specialist, Strategy Designers

  • Scenario Planner

Focused on planning, monitoring and optimization activities - Am I on target to meet objectives, can I do better?

Primary actors – Line of business, NBA governance, Marketing Analysts

  • Value Finder

Focused on planning, monitoring and optimization activities - Are there customers who are not or underserved, could I target these with a better action?

Primary actors – Line of business, NBA governance, Marketing Analysts

For further information on simulations capabilities the following documentation links can be explored:

  • Pega Academy has an array of missions and modules to do with simulations - Pega Academy
  • Simulation capabilities can be found within the user guide on the product page - Pega Customer Decision Hub

Deployment Manager[edit]

Use Deployment Manager to configure and run continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD) workflows for your Pega applications from within Pega Platform. You can create a standardized deployment process to deploy predictable, high-quality releases without using third-party tools. With Deployment Manager, you can fully automate your CI/CD workflows, including branch merging, application package. With regards to the operating model, when changes have been planned, built, simulated and tested, we are ready to deploy.

In Pega Platform 8.5 and version 4.8 of Deployment Manager, we now have the ability to deploy revisions through a deployment pipeline. We call this pipeline the Business Change Pipeline, and it can co-exist with an Enterprise pipeline.

The diagram below visually represents the flow of changes through the systems:

Enterprise and Business change pipeline diagram

Deployment Manager will continue to be enhanced over the coming releases and further integrated into Pega 1:1 Operations Manager. This makes Pega 1:1 Operations Manager the best place to plan, build, test and deploy business changes.

For further information on the Deployment Manager the following documentation links can be explored:

  • Deployment Manager details can be found in the DevOps product page - DevOps

Summary[edit]

Orientating your operating model towards a Business Operations approach will help your organization become more effective and agile. Using Operations Manager and Deployment Manager will help you make, test and deploy changes faster and in a controlled manner. Simulations that are run on production data, made available through the data migration pipeline, will better reflect what will happen when those changes run within production. There are further enhancements planned around Business Operations as we enhance the existing capabilities and add net new features.