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Anne Stuart’s BPM in Action

Michael Dortch

Back to BPM (for a bit, anyway): Appian Movin' On Up (Continued, sort-of...)

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Appian, one of the few remaining "pure-play" BPM vendors, just announced its first-ever venture investment – $10 million from Novak Biddle Venture Partners. I participated in a very interesting conversation among several other industry analysts, Matthew Calkins, Appian’s President and CEO, and Samir Gulati, the company’s VP of Marketing.

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As Dennis Byron rightly points out in his recent entry here on Appian, the company plans to step up its efforts regarding the delivery of BPM as a service. As the Appian executives confirmed on the call, Software as a Service (SaaS) technologies will help it to expand the reach of its BPM solutions, in ways that should turn out to be easier and less costly for Appian, its partners and customers than traditional software delivery and support methods alone. (Mr. Calkins added that the company has interesting plans to offer on-demand, self-paced and “pay-by-the-drink? support options to complement its SaaS offerings. This will help to avoid forcing users to buy professional services that can wipe out any SaaS-generated cost savings.)

Beyond SaaS, what I took away from the many interesting things Messrs. Calkins and Gulati said shake out roughly like this.

1. Appian has done a great job of growing organically, but perhaps has not really been able to mount channel-building, marketing, or partnering efforts at truly “enterprise-class? levels. The company is now stepping up efforts in all of these arenas.

2. There aren’t going to be that many top-tier, pure-play BPM vendors, and Appian intends to be one of them.

Frankly, I think the investment is great news, for Appian and for the BPM market in general. By my lights, BPM is one of those areas about which the strongest competitor for any vendor is often inaction aided and abetted by ignorance and/or skepticism. The more successful BPM vendors can tell credibly stories about how their customers and partners are succeeding, the safer – and bigger – the market can get. Because such stories are often the kick that gets prospective users and partners “off the fence? and “into the game.?

And with BPM, as with other elements of “The Big Mash-Up,? you can’t win if you don’t play.

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Business process management and optimization -- philosophies, policies, practices, and punditry.

Anne Stuart

I am the editor of ebizQ.

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