By: Neil Ward-Dutton, Research Director, MWD Advisors
Published: 14th May 2014
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License
Appian held its annual user conference, AppianWorld, in Washington DC two weeks ago, and I presented two sessions (‘BPM fundamentals’, and ‘Exploring exploratory work’) at the event as well as catching most of the main conference sessions. I’d missed the event last year, but attended in 2012.
For me, AppianWorld 2014 was interesting because of what wasn’t, as least as much as what was, on show. Specifically: what wasn’t there was any significant new announcements of major strategy shifts or product changes in direction. At the 2012 event CEO Matt Calkins highlighted how Appian was going to focus on addressing more customer concerns than ‘pure BPM’ implementations; and he highlighted user experience and engagement as two areas where the company would make technology investments.
Wind the clock forward two years, and Appian’s in full flow demonstrating implementations of its Records data-management technology layer, its SAIL multi-platform UI definition technology, and the technology features it provides to support case management implementations (‘exploratory work’ styles). Appian has been busy executing, executing, executing.
In his main tent session, Calkins highlighted a few significant growth indicators over 2013. For me the key ones were:
As was the case in 2012, this year’s AppianWorld featured customers across a variety of industries—from leisure (Punch Taverns) to financial services (CME Group, Janus Capital), transportation (DFW Airport), and pharmaceuticals (Sanofi). As was also the case a couple of years ago, all the customers emphasised their speed of work and of implementation.
One final thing that certainly felt new at AppianWorld 2014. Although it was only explicitly referenced once on stage as far as I could tell (by Punch Taverns), it was alluded to a number of times in demos and conversations… Appian sees CRM as a domain where, with its Records functionality as a way to integrate externally-held reference data, it can make a big mark.
I don’t have an inside track on whether CRM will be an explicit domain for Appian to go after with targeted marketing and sales campaigns, but I do see a lot of industry interest generally in extending and adding value to base CRM implementations with business process automation and measurement—whether the base system in question is from Microsoft, Salesforce, Sugar CRM, SAP or Oracle. It makes sense for Appian to at least have a solid CRM story with some customer references, particularly as it makes more of a deliberate attempt to show how it can implement case management applications.
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