Now more than ever, organisations need to be ready to respond fast to continuously changing business and customer demands, and unpredictable external events. In this environment, near real-time data sharing is an essential capability. These are some of the reasons why we’re seeing clients increasingly seeking to move toward microservices and event-driven software architectures.
Unlike traditional architectures, where services and functions are tightly coupled as part of an end-to-end business process or large business application, event-driven architectures enable organisations to fluidly react to individual events, like consumer choices, rather than sticking with a rigid process often locked inside monolithic applications.
These architectures have some big advantages. They’re highly optimisable. They offer greater resilience and scalability: services are interoperable, but if one service has a failure, the rest will keep running. They provide breakthrough agility through choreography. And they support new flexibility. Services can be independently deployed, each capable of running unique business processes.
Struggling to adopt at scale
These are all massive benefits. But large, complex organisations often struggle to adopt event-driven architectures at scale. The reasons why? With peer-to-peer task choreography, organisations find it more challenging to scale as their business needs and complexities grow. The publish/subscribe model, although effective for simple flows, can become more difficult to choreograph for more complex business processes.
In typical event-driven architectures, process flows are incorporated directly into the code of numerous applications. Or, even worse, inserted within the channels themselves, leading to inconsistent treatment depending on the chosen route to the service. Organisations have found it can be problematic to respond to changing needs and growth in these models due to tight coupling of inputs, outputs and SLAs. Crucially too, it’s virtually impossible to systematically know the status of the overarching process unless you build a dedicated service to create such a view.
Other significant considerations include the need to ensure that an organisation’s broader digital transformation can continue in a way that’s compatible with the event-driven architecture, without building in technical debt. The requirement to deliver a seamless journey across all channels becomes more complex in an event-driven architecture. And there can also be an impact on the progress of other key IT programmes, which are often left on hold while the event-driven architecture is being developed and tested.
Making the technology landscape more agile
The good news is there’s a direct route to make technology landscapes more fluid, agile, scalable and resilient by adopting event-driven architectures at scale. Pega is uniquely positioned to support and power an event-driven architecture and drive outcomes. Far from being a monolithic architecture, the Pega micro-application gives organisations a discrete capability for providing a service or a service component within an event-driven architecture – delivering Pega’s market-leading capabilities for case management, process orchestration, integration, and business rules within the scope of that micro-application.
The Pega Center-out™ architecture provides a single place to add event and task logic, ensuring a coordinated service across all customer channels, while the Pega journey service enables organisations to dynamically build a representation of each process with full audit logging and SLA management.
The journey service does this by collecting all the event-related messages into a single process and storing them as part of a single case, creating a ‘history’ of events (an audit log). This means that caseworkers receive a summary of events, providing a context for each case that they need to resolve.
That’s not all. Using Pega, organisations can supplement their application architectures with agile low-code software that will accelerate the velocity of development and connect the business with technology outcomes.
Enabling leading-edge event-driven architectures
The benefits of event-driven architectures aren’t in doubt. But as many organisations know, up to now it has proved challenging to adopt these architectures at scale. This is changing fast. Pega is already being used by several leading enterprise customers to develop ground-breaking event-driven architectures.
They’re doing this by focusing on two ends of the event-driven architecture scale. One of our clients, a large UK Bank, opted for a simple micro-application for handling exceptions within a loan application process. A Pega case is created to surface the exception as a simple task to be resolved by a loan advisor. In addition, a journey service populates the case history, providing overall context to the task at hand.
Another Accenture public sector client built a fully-fledged case management application to handle a complex application process. The process is initiated by the receipt of documents from a Kafka topic, the case is then updated throughout the lifecycle by other events, continuing to update the case data until the caseworker has enough information to make a decision.
In still another scenario, a global bank wished to create a real-time reporting capability from their existing Pega application. Accenture surfaced Pega case data to Kafka topics on the event stream hub. Tableau dashboards listen for these topics and, using elastic search, populate Tableau dashboards to create the desired real-time reports.
In each of these examples, applications live cooperatively within an event-driven architecture, processing a single event or choreographing a series of tasks and delivering the outcome.
Get ready now
Every business today must become a cloud-first business and be ready to adapt at speed to increasing complexity and fast-changing business requirements. They need to be equipped to serve customers seamlessly, in a coordinated manner across all channels. And they need to find a way to understand the impact of all these changes on their organisation. For all these, near real-time data sharing is mission critical, and Pega provides the solution.
As Pega’s #1 global partner, contact us to find out how Accenture can help your organisation overcome the obstacles to scaling this type of architecture and react faster to constantly changing business and customer demands. Watch for our upcoming white paper expanding on these themes.
Special thanks to Daniel Niedziolka, Pete Wilson, and Ed Hollands at Pega for their contributions to this article.
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