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PegaWorld – OnStar and Decision Management


OnStar presented at PegaWorld on their use of Pega Decision Management (the old Chordiant product) for managing telematics to improve customer experience. OnStar handles 7M customers worldwide and about 4 calls per second. It has handled more than 780M customer interactions to date including 3.8M emergencies and nearly 10M remote door unlocks. OnStar began as a single purpose application with dedicated components and has evolved into a platform for integrated services across multiple applications – bringing people’s digital life and car together. Their mobile app now has 2M downloads and 68M interactions.The new environment will provide 4G LTE allowing WiFi and multiple relaible connections.

OnStar was using an old CRM system and started looking for a new one. They saw Decision Management capabilities as a way to manage the change they faced – avoiding the “specify requirements now for next October” problem. They had some specific use cases that made the case for Decision Management:

  • They spent 6 months changing a warning for expiring credit cards from 90 days to 60 days (due to old platforms)!
  • 3 systems had to be changed to make a small call routing change (important as they invest heavily in thinking about call routing).
  • Multiple channels got out of synch e.g. coding packages for sales on the web or in the adviser channel.

OnStar now uses Pega Decision Management in vehicle configuration, call routing, alerts, enrollment, activity entitlement, customer segmentation and more. The business group own these decisions, allowing them to make weekly deploys of changes to call routing or alerts, for instance. They can also ensure this decisioning is shared, ensuring that customer segmentation for instance is consistent across interactions. Scripts for the agents are also dynamic, using Decision Management to control the script. For instance customer retention is improved if people use the app for remote starting etc but not everyone has the capability so Decision Management is used to suggest it only when appropriate.

OnStar offered some great advice on Decision Management and when to use it:

  • How complex are the decisions (lots of rules, complex rules, complex analytics)
  • Do the rules/decisions change frequently (any change to decision making is deployed to impact the next call)
  • H0w much control does the business want or need

One can be sufficient or some combination can make it worthwhile (moderate complexity that changes rapidly for instance).

IT, he says, should outsource Decision Management to business. The business are integrated with operations and can iterate and prototype – if they tried to write requirements they would be wrong. If the business can control their changes, leveraging a business/IT partnership, then IT can focus on the big changes. In fact his experience is that IT wants to push functionality into Decision Management so that the business can take control.

Business ownership also means that change requests are more likely to be analyzed to see if there is a better way to do them – e.g. routing a call to the theft team instead of telling the adviser that the vehicle has been stolen. The business operations focus really helps to create solutions.

Of course there is a flipside to this – it is the business operations group who get calls when there are challenges, business must take responsibility to go with this flexibility and power. Not everyone can take the Decision Management role on the business side but there are people who can and IT people can move onto the business side to manage Decision Management – providing technical skills but becoming part of the business team.

OnStar has had great success with Decision Management. So much so that he estimates that by April of each year they have already seen enough benefit to pay for the whole year.

Some tips:

  • Getting IT to hand over control took some work and was greatly eased by the control, audit and tracking capabilities in the Decision Management tool
  • Budget for headcount had to moved around from IT to the business. Initial successes, results, are critical to building momentum for this. So much so that IT have offered resources to the business group to extend the capabilities of Decision Management.
  • Data management and governance is important and delivering flexibility in data (to match the flexibility of Decision Management) is key.
  • To make IT comfortable they put Decision Management behind the CRM system – all calls go through CRM. If they had it to do again they would make a central decisioning hub that ALL the applications can call.

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