Q1 Success and Building the Future of BPM

Last week, Appian released its Q1 results.  Generally, we keep quarterly results to ourselves and do semiannual ‘momentum’ press releases.  This time we publicized the quarter, for two reasons: it was awfully good, and it’s ‘quadrant season’ for the major analyst firms so all good news helps.

We grew 58% over last quarter (not last year) which is to say the company is 58% bigger than it was 90 days ago.  There are multiple reasons for this.

The exponential growth of SaaS BPM is a big factor.  Our cloud-based business has doubled every quarter for the past year, such that Q1’s take was roughly the size of all quarters before it.  We closed our first SaaS BPM deal in the federal government, and our largest to date, both this past quarter.

Another primary reason was the absorption of our most direct competitors, Lombardi and Savvion, into the IBM and Progress Software stacks.  This has boosted our profile (so we make nearly every competitive short list), and elevated our win ratio.  As our win rate was always high, the former effect is the more important.

But what their absorption does for us today is a shadow of what it will do for us going forward.

It is clear that BPM is in flux.  I don’t mean that there is consolidation going on, though there is.  I mean that there is product innovation, and that the industry is still in the midst of definitional transformation.  And yet these two types of change are often opposed.  More consolidation generally means less innovation, particularly at the consolidated firms.  This is why consolidation often occurs once an industry is established and relatively feature-complete.  BPM is not.  The BPM you’ll see in 5 years (which, by the way, will not be called “BPM”) will be strikingly different.  To the 2015 consumer, 2010 BPM will be inoperably deficient.

At Appian, we’re building 2015 BPM.  We think about it every day.  My standing desk is covered with sketches of new features.  We discuss new mockups weekly.  These features will change BPM.  If you benefit from the advancement of this industry, we’re working for you.  If other firms are not, the gap will widen.  The 2015 market will be much larger than the 2010 market – and regardless of what happened in Q1, it is the 2015 market where we expect to have our biggest advantage.

Matthew Calkins

Chairman & Chief Executive Officer