Appian: Pushing the BPM Envelope—Part Two

One-on-one with Appian Marketer Malcolm Ross
To further discuss the issues brought up in last week’s post on business process management (BPM) provider Appian, we recently spoke to Malcolm Ross, VP of product marketing at Appian. Ross has been directly involved in the implementation and development of enterprise BPM solutions and platforms for over 13 years. Prior to his involvement with BPM technologies, Malcolm worked for leading B2B and B2C e-commerce software providers and led numerous technology consulting engagements at Fortune 100 corporations. Malcolm received his bachelor’s degree in computer science with a minor in actuarial mathematics from Florida State University.

TEC: Which regions and industry segments have been most active of late? What do you foresee in 12–18 months, more of the same or not?
MR: Appian has had a long history of success in the government and financial services sectors, as well as in other “mature” BPM industries such as insurance, manufacturing, telecommunications, and healthcare. In the past 18 months, Appian has seen success in many markets that are relatively new to BPM, such as retail (customers like Amazon, Oakley, Nike, Punch Taverns), life sciences/pharmaceuticals (four of the world’s top five pharma companies are Appian customers—Johnson & Johnson, Sanofi, Merck, Novartis), transportation (Appian customers like Dallas/Fort Worth Airport, Melbourne Airport and UPS), and energy/utilities (Appian customers like EDP Renewables, Husky Energy, Ameren, Marathon Petroleum, Memphis Light, Gas and Water).
Much of this new market penetration has been driven by Appian’s “write once, run everywhere” architecture for rapid mobile development (supporting processes for outlet/facilities/equipment quality/safety warranty, inspections and maintenance, customer-facing service apps, etc.). In combination with Appian’s industry-leading ease of use, Appian has been able to drive the value of BPM into the emerging markets.
Appian expects deeper penetration into these and other new markets as we continue to make BPM software more available, inclusive, and easy to use than it has ever been. We also expect further international expansion. In 2013, international markets (primarily Western Europe and APAC) accounted for 30% of total company revenue. We expect that contribution to grow significantly in those regions.

TEC: How do you explain Appian’s protractedly upbeat times?

MR: It cannot hurt to recap that Appian is the leading innovator in the BPM software market with a rich tradition of innovation and being first to market with the following:
  • An integrated, native BPM Suite, including all components needed to design, execute, manage, and optimize business processes.
  • 100 percent Web-based, thin-client architecture.
  • Full BPM capabilities in the cloud and on-premise, with complete portability and compatibility between environments.
  • Native Mobile BPM apps across all major mobile device platforms on iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, and Android.
  • Industry-leading ease of use. This is essential for truly empowering business users to drive process improvement with consistent and accurate enterprise data.

TEC: Are there any evident remaining white spaces (functional gaps, based on customer inquiries and competitive face-offs) in your offering and how do you plan to fill them?

MR: Appian is evolving BPM to be largely shaped by emerging mobile, cloud, social, and data management technologies. This is because these technologies allow for the management of different types of knowledge work. In essence, BPM will become less about just process management and more about overall work management.
Appian is a single, comprehensive, and modern BPM platform. There are no “functionality gaps,” but Appian is focused on enhancing the value and usability of its platform. Appian’s customers want it to be as easy as possible to consume our innovations. Truly changing how work is done, and accelerating business performance, requires rapid and iterative agile development, as well as widespread end user adoption.

TEC: How do you view the host of other open-source BPM players, such as ProcessMaker, Red Hat/Polymita/Drools, Activiti, etc.? Are they a disruptive threat to you (and the BPM market in general) or not really? Can they at least cause some price pressure?

MR: Appian does not see open-source BPM players as being competitive to Appian's offering and does not compete against them on a regular basis. We have not seen them exert price pressure on Appian yet, and the features offered by those competitive solutions are often significantly less with a higher total cost of ownership (TCO) than Appian's software offering.

TEC: What is keeping you up at night, who/what do you fear the most in the market?

MR: Appian has two key points of focus: 1) continuing to set the pace for BPM software innovation, and 2) scaling the company to meet global demand (at superior quality). What keeps us up at night is anticipating where the nature of work is headed, how technology can enable it, and how to make that technology as easy to consume and use as possible. Appian added more than 100 employees in 2013, and is scaling its global partnerships as well. Keeping the company’s culture of innovation intact and ensuring the quality/certification of our global partners in the midst of such accelerated growth is a challenge.

Related Reading:
Appian: Pushing the BPM Envelope – Part One (February 2014)
Apparent BPM in the Cloud—Analyst Roadshow (January 2014)
Bonitasoft, Part 2: Interview with Marketing VP Mac McConnell (August 2013)
Oracle Closes the Business-IT Gap with the Latest Oracle BPM Suite 11g Upgrade (May 2013)
AuraPortal: A BPM Vendor Worth Checking Out (August 2011)
PegaWorld 2011 Revisited (August 2011)
comments powered by Disqus