Appian Mobile BPM: What we learned in 2011

Appian’s Mobile BPM capabilities were a significant driver of our record 2011 results. I’d like to talk a little about how and why organizations are using Appian Mobile BPM.

For the longest time, knowledge workers using traditional BPM software could not easily do BPM functions on their mobile devices like completing work items, accessing real-time reports, or initiating processes. Meetings, travel or just being away from the desktop computer usually resulted in bottlenecks and inefficient processes.

Frankly, for an industry dedicated to process improvement and eliminating inefficiencies the lack of Mobile BPM options was embarrassing.

In 2011, we became the first BPM vendor to release a native Mobile BPM application for the iOS, BlackBerry and Android platforms. We focused on making the experience dead simple and highly intuitive. As a result, many of our customers rapidly adopted and subsequently expanded their use of Appian Mobile BPM. 

Specifically, our customers used Appian Mobile BPM to do the following:

1) Decrease the White Space:
Some of the most important hand-offs in a business process happen between people that are in different functions or are geographically dispersed. This hand-off area is called the White Space and usually offers the greatest room for process improvement. For example, the irony of being a road warrior is that overall customer responsiveness often goes down. This is because business processes wait in limbo for these geographically dispered workers to get back online and move the process forward. Appian Mobile BPM helped eliminate White Space and drastically lowered the end-to-end time to complete a process. Knowledge workers in meetings, on the road or standing in line could both collaborate as well as move the process forward using Appian Mobile BPM.

2) Enhance the Customer Experience:
Think about being able to walk into a customer’s office and having your entire history of interacting with that customer available at your fingertips on your iPad or smart phone. This was a big driver of our Mobile BPM projects in 2011.

Organizations also used iPads to drive engagement with their customers. A large government agency used iPads with Appian Mobile BPM to sign up hundred of job applicants at a major career event. Wealth Management advisors used iPads and Appian Mobile BPM to open accounts at customer locations including being able to take a picture of the customer’s ID and signed bank check required for opening the account. Property managers used Appian Mobile BPM to take a picture of property damage and initiate property assessment processes. And health care workers recorded voice notes about their patients with their mobile devices and Appian Mobile BPM and submitted them as part of a health care process.

3) Simplify Access:
We heard this time and time again: “Our Executives will never sit in front of a computer and learn a new web application. However, they are willing to install an app on their iPhone, BlackBerry or iPad and do work and approvals from there. ”

Executives were able to easily install our native mobile BPM application in a few minutes and then see exactly what action items needed to be done and completed within the Appian Mobile BPM interface.

The fact that executives who would otherwise have never tried a BPM interface used Appian Mobile BPM worked to our advantage. It increased the visibility of our BPM projects, led to account radiation opportunities and consequently greater license sales within the customer’s organization.

Why did customers use Appian Mobile BPM instead of other options?

1) Extraordinary user experience and convenience

It’s dead simple to get started with Appian Mobile BPM. All you have to do is download the native Appian Mobile app for your iOS, BlackBerry or Android device from any of these respective App Stores and point to it your Appian deployment (on-premise or in the cloud). There is no tinkering needed with a separate mobile application development platform, or having to go through any mobile development training.

Did customers care that Appian provides a native mobile app instead of a web based mobile app? You bet they did. They told us over and over, that “Mobile web standards are still evolving and mobile web apps are not ready for prime time. They are unresponsive and don’t leverage all of the mobile device’s native capabilities. This is why we want a native mobile application.”

With Appian Mobile BPM customers were able to make use of their mobile device’s native capabilities such as the camera, voice recorder, image library, and spatial orientation, and incorporate them directly into processes to make the experience satisfying for their mobile users.

2) No additional cost

Customers appreciated the almost non-existent additional cost of adding mobile capabilities to their Appian BPM applications.

Firstly, Appian Mobile BPM is truly model-driven. There is no extra code or configuration that you need to do to be mobile enabled. Build once and deploy on any platform natively. The native mobile app takes care of all of the user interface rendering and conversion for you.

As importantly, Appian does not charge separately for our mobile BPM offering. This is Appian’s core philosophy – when you’re a customer under maintenance every new feature we add to the product is included for free. No add-on pricing, no throttling of features. *It’s all included*.

If you want to hear firsthand from organizations on how they’ve implemented Mobile BPM please register for Appian World 2012, being held in Washington D.C from April 15-17, 2012. We’ve got customers like the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), the U.S Department of Veteran Affairs and others showcasing how they’ve implemented Appian Mobile BPM. Space is filling up fast so register as soon as you can. The event is free.

And if you’re an Appian fan looking for an exciting career with lots of growth and a fun group of people to work with, consider joining us. We’re hiring in every function!

– Sid Nazareth, Director, Solutions Strategy