Appian World 2016: Day 2 Highlights

Yes, you’re correct that there was no Day 1 blog, because all you would have read was my review of the endless apps, many drinks and plentiful conversation about television and fish and chips (shout out to Neal Ward-Dutton!) from yesterday.

Today, we got down to business. Literally.

Being new to the BPM space, I wanted to just soak up presentations, conversations and panel talks, and share with you the insights and lessons I gained at the very highest level. If you’re looking to go a level or six deeper – which I’m sure most of you are – there’s an easy fix. Look to your left, look to your right, and ask! That’s what we’re all here for – to share what we know, learn what we don’t, and collectively leave the conference with more tools, tricks and tips than we came with.

Here’s what I learned today:

We are really, truly, unique.

MattAppian CEO Matt Calkins really set the tone from the very beginning that the most valuable thing we can talk about during Appian World is the journey from problem to solution. So at the start of nearly every presentation I saw was a slide or two outlining the problems each person and their respective organization faced when contemplating a BPM solution. While many were variations of broad themes, they were totally different at their core.

And therein lies the beauty of BPM, and really the beauty of Appian. It really starts firm and concrete understanding of the problems that need to get solved. As Karen Matijak, VP at NBTY said during the afternoon panel, it’s not about finding ways to use Appian. It’s about finding the most pressing and difficult problems, and finding ways that Appian can solve them.


It’s all about making friends and keeping them.

Yes, we’re all here to make connections and maintain them throughout our careers in BPM, but that’s not what I’m talking about here.Amy

I’m talking about getting executive-level buy-in at the very beginning of a project, and engaging them at multiple touch points throughout the development journey.

If there was one key thread I noticed in every presentation I saw today, it was how critical an executive-level business sponsor can be to a team developing mission-critical applications with Appian. And it’s not just getting your boss’s approval to build an application. It’s regularly getting their input, tracking progress, and keeping them engaged throughout.

Amy Green (right), Senior Director of Technology Governance at telecommunications leader Syniverse, described a system that has worked well for her teams that uses conference rooms to bring together all key constituents at regular points throughout a development process. She gets the actual business users who will be using the application to test, react and provide input all at once and in a controlled environment, eliminating the lag that sometimes comes with independent testing over a period of several days.

Quick Apps is here, and folks are excited.

Once Malcolm introduced Quick Apps to the masses, I got the feeling that it was really the only thing anyone wanted to talk about. And that’s not surprising.

I mean come on – you’re telling me I can create a fully-functioning app in 15 minutes? Oh, and that app can run on any device and for any user I want? Oh, and if that app turns out to be great, I can have someone way more savvy and I am build upon it and make it even cooler?

Yeah – there are going to be some amazing things built with Quick Apps.


Baxter is pretty cool, huh? Check him out!

But let’s look behind the 300-pound robot that stands before you, and think about what this really represents. This is what’s possible through BPM. This is the Internet of Things. This is the intersection between process, innovation and power. Let your mind wander and think about what we can do with a room full of Baxters, all running on Appian. What can we do?


Keep an eye on this blog for more insights. I’ll check back with you all tomorrow. Enjoy Appian World 2016!