Mobile Business Process Management (BPM) Software and the Free Flow of Information

Last week, I visited the portrait of Ginevra de’ Benci . It’s a masterpiece by Leonardo da Vinci, painted during the early Italian Renaissance. It is the only Leonardo da Vinci painting on display in North America, and it is breathtaking. You can observe Leonardo’s experimentation with the new medium of oil paint, his use of shadow and light, naturalism and atmospheric perspective.

Within a few years, the use of these techniques from Italian masters like Leonardo would spread throughout Europe and revolutionize art. It was the beginning of the Renaissance. Exciting times! It made me realize there is a parallel to the exciting times happening now in BPM software.

The free flow of information across borders was one of the biggest reasons for the rapid advancement of the arts, science and technology during the Renaissance. New information, collaboration and innovation fed on each other and started a chain reaction. The rest, as they say, is history.

For us practitioners in the BPM world, we have seen similarly amazing results. When business processes are actively managed and information silos exposed and integrated – massive change happens. Information flows freely, mundane work is automated and learning is unleashed. For examples, the implementation of BPM programs by our customers like UPS ($28M in cost savings and 100 process applications deployed) and the US Army (Army Knowledge Online (AKO): 2.2 million users and $500M in annual cost-avoidance) have unleashed millions of dollars of ROI, unparalleled visibility and access to unforeseen information from across the enterprise.

BPM platforms are also excellent for freeing highly paid knowledge workers from mundane and clerical tasks. These workers in turn are able to pursue more knowledge-intensive work, adding value and driving innovation in their organizations. When you don’t have to put out a fire every day you can use that time to learn and in turn share what you’ve learnt.

But it doesn’t stop there. The information and cultural renaissance that BPM has enabled is leading to rapid innovation. For example, with the exponential growth of mobile devices like tablets and smart phones, people no longer wish to be tethered to their desks to access information. Gartner predicts that By 2013, mobile phones will overtake PCs as the most common Web access device worldwide.” At the same time, more and more employees are actively participating in their business processes – they are hungry for information, asking questions, and driving innovation in their own spheres of influence.

At Appian, we are working very hard to help you achieve the new demands of the changing BPM world. Last month we released the latest version of our software. And the reception we have received has been tremendous and positively humbling. Organizations can now use our BPM software platform to turn their processes into mobile applications with a few clicks of the mouse. The same process actions, tasks and user interfaces, once available only via a web browser, can now also be exposed natively on mobile devices with no duplication of work – just a single click of a check box. Our customers are creating mobile applications and unleashing information without having to learn a lick of Objective-C, Java or other programming languages. When you use Appian’s BPM platform, you get the ability to create rich mobile applications immediately and for free. It’s powerful stuff.

Here are some screenshots of how Appian Mobile works. The image below displays process information and actionable tasks. One finger swipe approval is supported for tasks that don’t have required fields and where the user doesn’t want to drill down for more information.

You can also drill down for more information to complete a task. In the image below, Carol Wilson is asking you to approve a _Marketing Event Request_ and also provide your comments.

Appian Mobile can also provide secured _Actions_ to users. The image below shows how a mobile user is allowed to initiate process from their mobile phone. Clicking on one of these actions can display a form to be filled out to then initiate a process.

At Appian we love history. In fact our name comes from the Appian Way, one of the earliest and most important information highways. Information demands to be readily available, not only at the right time and in the right context but nowadays at the right location as well. If you want to spend more time with your loved ones, and with the customers you wish to shower your attention on, Appian allows you to take your information and your responsibilities with you. You can initiate processes, complete tasks and collaborate on your mobile device. Far away from the confines of your desk.

You can download the Appian App from the Apple App Store and BlackBerry App World today. The Android version will be publicly posted on the Android Market soon.

I wish Leonardo da Vinci was around today. I would love to watch him work. And peek at his favorite mobile apps. Right before he threw me out of his studio I’m guessing.

The breathtaking growth of mobile devices has ignited an information renaissance. We’re here to help you make full use of it.

-Sid Nazareth, Senior Solutions Consultant