2020 brought tremendous change to the way we work. Almost overnight, our team transformed from a group of teammates working side by side in our office every day, to sending emails and setting up video conferences from a distance. While we continued to deliver successful implementations and provide top-notch support to our clients, we lost much of the connection and togetherness we once had in our office setting. Our new work-from-home way of life limited our collaboration and our limited collaboration began to stifle our innovation. The company culture we worked so hard to cultivate was in danger of becoming a thing of the past.

That is why we created Pyra. Pyra is an application we use to innovate, collaborate, and reach the highest levels of our organization to make change. Pyra is an “Idea Factory” where any employee can submit a new idea to the organization, and everyone has a say in where that idea goes. Ideas are open for collaboration and voting, which follows a set of business rules to funnel them up the pyramid of our organization, where real change can be implemented.

Our work environment may continue to change, but our ability to innovate shouldn’t. Pyra is here to make sure of that.

What it does

The Pyra application is built around one central case type, an “Idea” case. An Idea case allows any employee to propose something new to their organization. An idea can be something as simple as a new team building event or something more complex, like a proposal to utilize a new technology or implement a new hiring strategy.

The case creation process is simple, allowing users to focus on their ideas rather than a complicated interface. All they need to get started is an idea name and description, and they are ready to go. But, thanks to Pega’s easy to use drag-and-drop development, these fields can easily be tweaked, modified, or added based on an individual organization’s needs.

While the “Idea” case is the center of the Pyra application, collaboration is the focus. Once an idea is created, it becomes discoverable to everyone at the organization. The Idea can now be followed and collaborated on, using the power of Pega’s Pulse capabilities. Users are encouraged to give their feedback and opinions on every case, so the creator can expand and improve upon their original idea.

To promote ideas as they are submitted, an activity feed keeps users up to date in real time on their teammates actions. Exploring ideas is made easy with views on trending topics, ideas requesting collaboration, and ideas ready to “move up the Pyramid”.

Once an idea has passed it’s collaboration phase, the owner is ready to open the idea up for voting. Voting occurs in three tiers, although this can be dictated by the organization’s structure. Successful ideas that are voted up the tiers are exposed to the highest leadership at the company. Getting your ideas to the people who have the power to effect change is what Pyra is all about.

Pega’s DX API allows for the use of a powerful Pega backend with the vast options of a custom front end. Pyra takes full advantage of these technologies in our metrics dashboard. Pega reports are displayed using custom react components, and leave open the possibility for any reporting an organization might need or want.

Powerful, custom dashboards keep users engaged and informed, encouraging higher participation and company involvement. Leadership can also stay better informed about what is happening throughout their teams, allowing them to keep tabs on the pulse of their organization.

Finding whatever you need in Pyra is made simple with Pega’s ElasticSearch capabilities. ElasticSearch’s powerful search mechanism enables users to explore their interests and find relevant ideas at lightning fast speed. Teammates are brought together by their common passions to collaborate on new ideas.

How we built it

Pyra is a fusion of technologies, powered by Pegasystems. The Pega Digital Experience API allows this application to leverage all the best parts of the low code Pega platform as well as all the best parts of the custom front end React framework. Pyra’s robust, aesthetically appealing interface is backed by the powerful business logic of Pega Platform.

Challenges we ran into & What we learned

Our team had no experience working with React or working on the front-end side of the DX API prior to this application. There was a learning curve associated with learning how to work with both of these technologies. We were also limited by time constraints. We have ideas for other case types that we would like to implement in the future but wanted to make sure what we had was production ready and had a nice user interface.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

Our goals at the beginning of the competition were to increase our knowledge and to build a beautiful, non-traditional Pega user interface utilizing Pega’s Digital Experience API. We accomplished both of these goals and we are extremely happy with our final product. We established a reusable framework with which we can build additional case types, as well as use this framework as a starting point for future applications that plan to utilize DX APIs.

What's next for Pyra

While Pyra was created for the 2020 Pega Community Hackathon, development won’t stop once the competition ends. Pega is a technology built for change, and so is Pyra. Organizations come in many shapes and sizes, and Pyra will adapt to that reality. Administrators will be able to dictate complex voting structures without development changes. To focus the conversation, organization leaders will be able to pose challenges to their community, and community members can post their ideas in response to the challenge. Pyra is a simple but powerful idea, and the sky's the limit.

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