How People’s United Bank worked with Pega and Virtusa to create customer personalization

People’s United Bank, a diversified financial services company offering commercial and retail banking and wealth management services, has headquarters in Connecticut, United States. To stay competitive, the bank must deliver excellent customer personalization services. Unfortunately, its legacy system could not scale to meet this demand; it still performed many processes manually, and there was no omnichannel view or support of customers. People’s United Bank realized it needed to provide relevant, personalized, contextual experiences to its customers in real-time across all channels its customers used. We spoke with James Roy, Senior Vice President of Digital Marketing and the spearhead for this transformation initiative. Roy stressed that this investment was a “competitive necessity.” People’s United Bank embarked on a project with Virtusa and Pega to realize its ambition

Focus on customer experience and business outcomes

According to the HFS OneOffice mindset, to improve customer experience, enterprises also need to improve their business processes; creating connected workflows is central to achieving long-term success. Roy was keenly focused on this OneOffice mindset, highlighting that “While we were focused on adding value to the customer experience, we wanted to match this focus to the business outcome.”

People’s United Bank considered several platform providers, including Pega, Adobe, and Salesforce. It selected Pega because of its philosophy of prioritizing and aligning with customer journeys. Roy understood the importance of ensuring personalization at each step of the customer journey rather than pursuing a fixed journey map. Moreover, the bank could integrate Pega with various marketing technologies. It selected the Pega Decision Hub for real-time, omnichannel customer management, with the AI-supported ability to provide the next-best-action recommendations.

Consider existing service partners that impress in delivery excellence

"We selected Virtusa because of its excellent track record of delivery and its project management expertise." —James Roy, Senior Vice President of Digital Marketing, People’s United Bank

Selecting a service partner can be a lengthy and costly process. You can cast the RFP (request for proposal) net wide, but it’s always sensible to include a service partner you know, especially if it has delivered high-quality work for you in the past. People’s United Bank had a longstanding partnership with Virtusa. For example, the service provider had recently re-platformed the bank’s website onto Adobe. According to Roy, Virtusa had done an “amazing job” on this project, which expanded to additional Adobe work. The fact that Virtusa is also a leading Pega service partner made it an attractive selection for the Pega initiative. Roy highlighted Virtusa’s delivery track record and project management quality as important selection criteria.

Virtusa ran discovery workshops that included understanding and building requirements based on use cases. It adopted an agile methodology to deploy the Pega solution and integrated it with other technologies, including Adobe. Virtusa used its vEngage solution built on Pega Customer Decision Hub to power the bank’s new customer decision hub. People’s United Bank uses the engine to enhance its ability to anticipate customers’ financial needs and deliver personalized services to retail and business customers.

However, the technology was not solely responsible for the success of this project. People’s United Bank employed the right organizational approach and prioritized key aspects of the initiative to achieve success.

Best practice learnings: People’s United Bank’s top five recommendations for enterprises

Roy shared with us his top five recommendations for enterprises embarking on a similar journey.

  1. Include cross-functional representatives in your project team. People’s United Bank included representatives from an array of functions, including marketing, IT, data, and business lines in the project team. This ensured that the team understood the project from a strategy, technical, and use case perspective and created a strong stakeholder governance group. Luckily, People’s United Bank is customer-focused, so aligning the stakeholders was not a challenge. Everyone had the common ambition to replicate customers’ positive experiences in a physical bank in the digital world.

  2. Get the data right at the beginning. Roy stressed, “It’s important to involve the data team in the project as early as possible,” because having usable and accessible data is imperative for the success of using Pega.

  3. Clearly outline your use cases up front. People’s United Bank outlined and documented its use cases at the beginning. Roy suggested, “Do all the pre-work to get it right at the beginning. If you do this, the rest will follow.” Solutions will be successful, and they will have already been vetted in the organization, saving precious time.

  4. Allow enough time, costs, and resource consideration for effective quality control (QC). Whether you do QC in house or with a service provider, do not underestimate the time, cost, and resources required to do QA effectively. People’s United Bank took longer to perform QA because it needed additional resources it had not accounted for.

  5. Measure success in terms of business outcome. Project success includes meeting budget and time objectives, but Roy stresses the need to focus on ultimate business outcomes. People’s United Bank used quantifiable success management criteria that aligned customer retention and interaction and promoted being viewed as the bank of choice—otherwise known as having primacy.

"Do all the pre-work to get it right at the beginning. If you do this, the rest will follow. "
—James Roy, Senior Vice President of Digital Marketing, People’s United Bank

Adopt a continuous improvement mindset

People’s United Bank went live in March 2021. However, it continues to work with Virtusa for management services and ongoing enhancements. While the bank has a 360-degree view of each customer, it will continue rollout and deploy the Pega next-best-action functionality across channels. The goal is to use Pega to deliver individualized financial advice, including providing customer-specific insights on financial wellbeing and helping customers achieve their individual financial goals. People’s United Bank understands that it will take time to reach its ultimate goal, and it is also keenly aware that it will need Virtusa’s help to get there. Roy highlights that “Pega is robust but also complex-more complex than we initially thought going into the project.” Roy knew the bank needed to adopt a blended development and delivery model of the bank’s resources and supplemental resources from Virtusa for the more complex tasks.

"Pega is robust but also complex-more complex than we initially thought going into the project."
—James Roy, Senior Vice President of Digital Marketing,  People’s United Bank

The Bottom Line: Adopt an enterprise-wide approach and focus on the ultimate business outcome for success

Providing excellent customer service is essential to remain competitive in all industry sectors. It is imperative to deliver omnichannel personalization services to best understand and support your customers. You can use the Pega platform to transform your business; however, this requires commitment from senior executives, who drive a transformation culture and focus on the desired business value.

Source - Point of view published on HFS Research


Khalda De Souza

Khalda De Souza

Research Director, SaaS Services
HFS Research


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