By Cassandra Balentine
To keep up with the latest demands, enterprise application developers rely on a range of tools. Appian provides business process management (BPM) and case management software to deliver an enterprise application platform that unites users with data, processes, and collaboration—all in one environment.
Appain’s BPM-based application platform is described by Samir Gulati, VP marketing, Appian, as the fastest and easiest way to build, use, and maintain enterprise applications. “Appian unites users with everything they need to do their jobs better—all the data, processes, documents, and collaborations—in one environment, on any device, through a simple social interface. We offer the identical platform in the cloud and on premises, and provide easy migration between environments.”
Based in Reston, VA, Appian was founded in 1999. Gulati states that in 2014, the Appian term license orders grew more than 100 percent and its revenue grew by nearly 50 percent over 2013. As a result, the company added 172 new employees in 2014. Now with 430 employees and 3.5 million users around the world, Appian is recognized by global IT analysis firms including Gartner, Forrester, IDC, and Ovum/Datamonitor.
Appian is a privately held company and does not disclose its annual revenue.
Appian’s BPM and case management platforms differ from the traditional approach to application development, which Gulati says are not sufficient to meet today’s business demands for speed and innovation in a multi-platform world. The company’s heritage in BPM allows it to provide a model-driven approach, as opposed to hard coding, which it says is faster, both to build and change over time.
“Appian integrates all of the capabilities for process innovation and continuous improvement, including native rules, social collaboration, content management, identity management, business activity monitoring, reporting, and more,” says Galati.
The platforms includes innovative advances in enterprise data management through a feature called Appian Records, which marries enterprise data to drive faster, more informed decisions. The feature unites information silos to give users the data they need to gain situational knowledge and take immediate action.
“This enables our customers to build powerful case management solutions that are predicted on a data-first approach,” says Galati.
Case management solutions built on Appian are designed to empower knowledge workers with immediate access to complete information, enforcement of applicable rules and policies, collaboration with key personnel, and visibility into processes that impact success. Interactions between people, process, data, and content may be dynamic, ad hoc, and unpredictable, and the company says it ensures all business cases are unified to create faster and smarter decisions.
“We have also pioneered a powerful solution for true enterprise mobility,” says Gulati. “Appian provides full-feature mobile applications at no additional development or maintenance cost. Any application built on our platform is natively rendered on any device, whether desktop, tablet, or phone.”
Need for Modernization
To prove the need for its modern approach to application platforms, Appian recently announced the availability of a new commissioned research study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of the company. The study identifies the need for new application development platforms and approaches to meet the demands of 21st Century business.
The study, titled The Move to Modern Application Platforms, is based on survey data from IT managers and business directors on the current trends, challenges, and benefits related to the adoption of modern application development platforms within enterprise organizations with more than $1 billion in revenue in the U.S. The study also includes data from Forrester’s Business Technographics surveys of application development professionals.
“IT’s priority has shifted from cost cutting to driving business growth and customer engagement. But, IT is heavily over burdened in trying to meet the demands of businesses because the tools and approaches being used are out-moded,” says Gulati. “We commissioned the Forrester Consulting survey to highlight this problem, and to show that there is a new, better, faster way to deliver innovative applications.”
He explains that the applications that drive real value and competitive advantage in a business are the ones that have to be custom-built. They can’t be bought off the shelf because they have to be unique to how a company operates. “The custom software industry continues to evolve and IT teams need to understand that there are better answers out there than just hoping for more budget to do the same things a little faster.”
According to Gulati, the survey highlighted the urgent need for IT teams to accelerate delivery of innovative business applications that must be built in house. “The data shows that 59 percent of survey respondents stated they must custom-build applications because specific functionally unique to their business is not available in pre-packaged, off the shelf software applications. In addition, 50 percent of respondents cited the value of custom-developed applications in increasing customer and employee engagement,” he states.
The survey data also shows that speed of delivery is the primary barrier to meeting IT priorities, and that demands from the business are driving interest in new development techniques and new development platforms that are designed for experimentation, fast delivery, and easy modification.
Another notable finding is the value of cloud platforms for application development, points out Gualti. “When asked why development teams had chosen a cloud environment, the top response was that it was the fastest way to get a project done and deployed to meet unique business demands.”
Modern development methodologies, including agile, lean, and continuous delivery, are designed to complement the benefits gained by modern application development platforms, according to Appian and the Forrester study.
Key characteristics of these new platforms include fast deployment of environments for development, testing, and production; visual, model-based, and automated tooling; easy integration with all relevant data sources; full lifecycle support; easy updating and change management; availability of cloud and on premises deployment options; and compatibility with multiple application types, including Web and mobile. SW