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Speeding Up the ROI in BPM: Appian Explains

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What follows is my podcast with Malcolm Ross, the Director of Product Management at Appian. Malcolm has been directly involved in the implementation and development of enterprise BPM solutions, which is a good thing, as in this podcast we discuss some exciting new BPM developments at Appian, which they announced today.

Listen to or download the 6:28 podcast below:

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PS: I understand you guys are announcing the availability of Appian 6 today. Can you tell me a little bit about this?

MR: That's right. We're really excited about this new product release coming out shortly. Announced today is going to be the Appian 6 platform. It represents a significant leap as far as the speed at which people are not only discover but also build BPM applications on the Appian Business Process Management Suite really accelerating Appian to the forefront is the best solution to really choose to both design, execute, manage, and optimize a corporation's enterprise business processes.

The buzz around BPM lately is about accelerating process improvement to ramp up at the speed of business. Now, tell me a little bit more how you address this with Appian 6.

Well, we introduced a number of new interfaces inside Appian 6, which really increase collaboration between business and IT and not only which IT can build these applications but also deploy them inside the environments. Now, we're accelerating this even further by having a lot of end user collaboration features which really streamline the capabilities for users to not only complete tasks but also accelerate which they receive targeted content to understand the task better, collaborate with other users inside the context of a specific task powered by the BPM system, and get work done faster. Now all this is also accelerated by the Appian Forum concept.

As you may know, we have our Appian Forum User Group Conference planned in the end of October but this is being extended to an online experience which not only allows users to collaborate about Business Process Management methodologies but is as well shared process templates, application templates which can be instantly deployed on any other Appian system to accelerate a BPM initiative for certain practice areas such as IT request management, compliance, financial services, and different types of common processes that people are looking to implement using BPM systems.

Now do you agree with all of this focus on speed? I mean why exactly is it so important for BPM deployments today?

Well, especially today, when people are having tighter budgets, people need to see results faster. Return on investment is key with any software implementation and need to prove its value to really show value to the executives to justify an expenditure they're inside today's economy. Now speed is really important because it's going to ensure that a customer is not willing to -- having to wait or make big investments in the current economy state. They can see rapid results, get something implemented in a very short period of time and get that return on investment inside the BPM platform very quickly. Now as well, speed also has aspect of change.

As we've seen in the past year, there's been a lot of changes in the financial markets from the dollar shifting value very quickly, financial markets shifting very quickly, it's become very important for people to build highly adaptive, and very accelerated BPM development cycles to make sure they can accommodate the change and Appian allows this by allowing real time visibility into the task and processes executed inside the system, allowing for rapid change management inside the systems. And Appian 6 with the capability to share methodologies allows you to adopt methodologies very quickly to accelerate your process improvement.

Many companies are on very tight IT budgets and they're thinking why exactly should I consider this.

Well, I think Appian is a logical choice for a BPM platform because it's probably one of the easiest platforms to get into, especially with our Appian Anywhere on-demand offering. The total cost of an investment to get into a BPM platform based on the Appian system is extremely low and to defer cost over time, to really get the full value as you ramp up the BPM system, you only pay for what you use. There's not the large upfront cost typically associated with a lot of traditional BPM or development platforms inside the system.

And of course, going back to the speed sense, it's also important to choose a platform like the Appian system that's going to generate those results in a very short period of time. People don't want to have to invest in a software platform with today's low IT budgets and then wait six, eight months or maybe even a year for the end product to be delivered based on that BPM platform. We're talking development cycles of 20, 40, 60 days to get the first phase out inside an Appian BPM system.

Can you tell me about the two other Appian announcements you guys have and a little bit about the future direction of the BPM Suite.

Yeah, the two other announcements we're going with the Appian 6 is also what I briefly mentioned the extension of the Appian Forum concept. We're very proud to have one of the largest BPM vendor-sponsored user group conference of the entire year this year, that's going to be your Appian Forum on October 26th - 28th here in Reston, Virginia. Its' going to include over 250 participants and speakers from a wide variety of the leading analyst organizations.

And that experience has been really powerful for us that we want to extend to a permanent online community. So the Appian Forum Community is going to be extended to a permanent online environment where people can share collaboration, methodologies. Again, there's product template extensions and accelerated process application templates to really improve and share the BPM methodologies they're learning with the entire global community.

Now, on top of the announcement of Appian Forum, we're also going to be announcing some new BPM methodology formulation frameworks. We're going to really help a customer understand how they can evolve a BPM implementation from a project to a practice and to then an enterprise experience. So how do you plant the seeds for BPM inside an organization? Start it with a low-level project and grow into enterprise.

And what we guide you through this is not only product training to understand the best uses of the tool but also management training to understand how you can guide through the difficulties in building a BPM system, gaining sponsorship from executives, and building what we call a "Center of Excellence" based on process improvement inside your organization. The professional services methodology that we're delivering is delivered as a framework including services as well as training courses to help customers guide them through this methodology.

ebizQ’s expert blog team covers a broad range of BPM, business integration, business analytics/monitoring, collaboration, content and related issues.

Peter Schooff

Peter Schooff is Contributing Editor at ebizQ, and manager of the ebizQ Forum. Contact him at pschooff@techtarget.com

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