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Pegasystems Launches New Channel Program, Looks To Leverage Partners For Sales Engagements

After long relying on consulting partners to deliver and implement its CRM and BPM software, Pegasystems now looks to work with a wider array of partners including resellers, solution providers and ISVs.

Pegasystems is rolling out a new partner program that the developer of customer service and process automation software is counting on to expand its engagement with resellers and solution providers, especially earlier in customer sales cycles.

The launch of the new Pega Partners program, unveiled at the company’s PegaWorld iNspire virtual event Tuesday, is also designed to provide a single, streamlined program that can serve the company’s consulting, ISV and solution provider partners.

“We’re trying to have very deep, meaningful relationships with highly skilled partners who are invested with us. That’s what matters,” said Jamie Mendez, vice president of ecosystem transformation and programs at Pegasystems, in an interview with CRN.

[Related: 2021 Partner Program Guide]

“This is a company that has been working with partners for a long time,” said Carola Cazenave (pictured above), vice president of global partner ecosystems at Pegasystems, in the interview. “Our focus was on delivery and implementation excellence. But now we want to engage with partners earlier in the sales cycle.”

Pegasystems, headquartered in Cambridge, Mass., develops CRM, customer service and customer engagement applications and a low-code business process automation platform for developing applications.

Through most of its history Pegasystems has worked with consulting firms and systems integrators who delivered and implemented Pegasystems software. Cazenave, who joined the company last year after working at IBM for more than 26 years, said partners are involved in more than 85 percent of Pegasystem implementations.

“We value our relationship with Pega and look forward to continuing our work together in providing best-in-class, cloud-based solutions to address our clients’ complex business challenges,” said Raju Rampa, vice president and sales leader for Cognizant’s North America Pega practice, in a statement. “With our strong Pega expertise, we are empowering businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic to drive innovation that directly impacts their business results.”

The company has long operated a partner program tailored to those partners. In June 2018 the company launched a separate program for ISV partners who develop applications on the Pegasystems software – including the Pega Infinity digital transformation suite – and applications linked to Pegasystems software.

The company also operates an online marketplace where third-party partners offer their applications and solutions. That marketplace now has about 200 partner solutions.

But Pegasystems had not relied a great deal on partners during the sales cycle, either co-selling or re-selling, and did not have a systemic resale process.

More recently Pegasystems has been working with solution providers who engage with clients earlier in the sales process. Cazenave said about 25 percent of the company’s sales engagements now involve a partner, many building solutions around Pegasystems’ software for vertical industries including financial services, healthcare and life sciences, manufacturing, and – especially – government.

Increasingly partners are doing it all: Building solutions, identifying sales opportunities, reselling Pegasystems software and implementing complete systems. That meant partners fulfilling multiple roles were sometimes jumping between programs, Mendez said.

The new Pega Partners program is designed to cover all partner types and will replace the existing programs for implementation and ISV partners. It includes programmatic resell processes the company has lacked and, for the first time, provides for referral sales from partners.

The new program has just two tiers (Authorized/Specialized and Elite) compared to four in the current program, with an emphasis on partner investment in Pegasystems through specializations. Partners in the company’s current programs will have until the end of 2021 to make the transition.

Mendez said traditional “metal” tiers (gold, silver, bronze) don’t adequately convey to customers the value of a partner. “We’ve created specializations as a cornerstone of the program around our engagement strategies and verticals where we are driving our partner-led strategy,” she said.

Pegasystems is initially offering partner specializations in manufacturing, life sciences and transportation/logistics.

“There’s tremendous opportunity in these industries to create industry-specific solutions on Pegasystems,” Mendez said. “That’s really the exciting opportunity ahead for partners.”

The program includes a new partner portal that is also launching today.

Cazenave said a goal of the new Pega Partners program is to boost the number of customer sales engagements where a partner plays a role from 25 percent to 65 percent by the end of the year.

“Partners have been working with us to ensure this program had all the parts needed for them to be successful,” Cazenave said, noting the feedback the company has received during the new program’s development. “It shows the commitment these partners have for Pegasystems.”

“As one of Pega’s first ISV partners and a member of Pega’s Partner Challenger Advisory board, I had the pleasure to collaborate directly with Pega partners and with the Pega ecosystem team to streamline the partner program,” said Randy Putnam, director, strategic partnerships, Smart Communications, in a statement. “Pega listened to us, their partners, and customers to develop a highly effective go-forward program.”

Mendez said large-scale partner recruitment is not a goal of the new program. But the company is selectively recruiting new partners to expand into specific verticals or fill gaps in geographic coverage.

At the PegaWorld iNspire virtual event, Pegasystems also unveiled new low-code capabilities in the Pega Platform that the company said will enable both professional and “citizen” developers to easily design modern user interfaces for applications.

The company also debuted the 8.6 release of Pega Infinity, the company’s software for digital transformation initiatives. The new software includes a “center-out” approach with enhancements for improving both back-end process efficiencies and front-end customer service processes and interfaces.

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