REVIEWER: Jeff Akin, senior manager planning and program management, American Home Shield.

BACKGROUND: American Home Shield (AHS) - which founded the home warranty industry 35 years ago - is the nation's largest home warranty provider, having brought quality service to more than 5 million customers since its inception. Today, the AHS home warranty plan is utilized by both buyers and sellers, as it helps protect against the high cost of a system or appliance breakdown (due to normal wear and tear) covered under the policy.

HARDWARE PLATFORMS: Sun 490 Servers on the Solaris 10 operating system.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Three years ago, we realized that we had to change our front- and back-end systems to better service more than 50,000 service calls a day and our 1.2 million customers overall. After careful consideration, we determined a business process management (BPM) solution was a critical component to achieving a competitive edge. Our daily calls stream into four service centers, located in California, Georgia, Iowa and Tennessee, and a virtual call service center. There are 1,500 agents who support all those incoming calls. Our goal, as with any reputable company, is to provide high levels of customer service while resolving incoming calls in a timely and satisfactory manner. Thus, we embarked on a mission to integrate an end-to-end, rules-driven BPM solution to help achieve first-call resolution.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Since implementing Pegasystems' PegaRULES Process Commander (PRPC), we have been able to standardize process encapsulation and have achieved much greater knowledge sharing. On the technical side, PRPC has enabled us to have server-based applications that use a standard J2EE platform and the ability to pilot functionality. The tangible benefits for customer service representatives (CSRs) and customers alike are also evident - there is less stress on CSRs because the system is far more predictable, easier to use and faster to respond with the appropriate information when it is needed. This has also resulted in a more consistent customer experience.

STRENGTHS: Pegasystems' PRPC has enabled our CSRs to be more efficient through knowledge capture and sharing, while enabling management to more effectively monitor and report on performance and points for improvement. Today, PRPC is moving our company into a process-centric environment within an organization that supports all IT infrastructure, including custom-developed applications that are used throughout the company.

WEAKNESSES: One weakness we have encountered is around the Pega CTILink product that provides the interface between the PRPC Suite and our PBX switch and dialer hardware. Because of our complex environment, we have multiple sites and are running different PBX switches in some of the locations. The CTILink product works better with some brands of switches than others.

SELECTION CRITERIA: From November 2004 to February 2005, we evaluated four different primary BPM application development architectures, during which time our executives weighed crucial criteria such as performance and scalability, vendor track record, prebuilt functionality and the application's ability to customize functionality. After careful consideration of all these issues, we decided to go with Pegasystems PRPC.

DELIVERABLES: The real-time BAM reporting provided is our primary use of output that has been generated by our new Pega-based system. Because PRPC has so easily integrated into our existing database, we have been able to leverage all of the reporting and data modeling that we had in place in our previous system.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Pegasystems provided tremendous support during the entire implementation process. We were able to get in touch with their support team for any questions or concerns we had. Support staff is readily available when needed.

DOCUMENTATION: The documentation is complete and overall easy to understand. We feel comfortable in relying on this documentation should a problem arise.

PegaRULES Process Commander (PRPC)
101 Main Street, 7th Floor
Cambridge, MA 02142
(617) 374-9600

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