Appian World 2013 Business Track — Modernizing IT with Worksocial

After lunch, Appian World attendees broke out into 3 tracks geared towards BPM newbies, developers, and business users. In the first session, beginners learned about worksocial applications built on Appian and developers learned about EDP Renewables’ success with lean startup techniques. Meanwhile, I sat in on the business track, which started with a case study from Matt Richard, CIO of Laborers International Union of North America (LiUNA). LiUNA faced significant challenges in managing its 500,000 workers with an aging IT infrastructure. We heard how the union is modernizing its entire Member Management System with worksocial, while scoring “quick win” deployments along the way.


LiUNA is a diverse union of 500,000 construction workers, public employees, and mail handlers. They’re dedicated to providing their members family-supporting pay, good benefits, and advancement opportunities.

LiUNA had an outdated membership management system. The hardware infrastructure was antiquated and mobile capabilities were limited. This resulted in increased costs for local union affiliates. The data integrity was very poor, which made it difficult to analyze membership trends or organize targeted political and legislative action. Paper-based business processes took days instead of hours, and executives couldn’t see bottlenecks due to the paper everywhere.

Richard explained LiUNA’s vision for a comprehensive enterprise process and data management system. They wanted to automate and streamline processes – no more paper! They also wanted real-time, accurate data and mobile campaign organization in the field. Because their workforce is almost entirely in the field on a daily basis, they needed a tool that was easy to use on any mobile platform. They also wanted worksocial tools to connect their local unions, district councils, and leadership to increase collaboration throughout the organization.

They chose Appian BPM to accomplish these objectives. Why Appian? Richard said he finds the development platform in Appian is by far the easiest to use, and appreciated the “no-code” customization capabilities. Outside of the benefits of the application, he feels that Appian treats LiUNA as a partner, not just a client, which is rare and invaluable in the software industry.

LiUNA laid the foundation for success. They decided to overhaul the Membership Management System because all processes, applications, and data rely on membership data. By replacing the antiquated data entry system, they’re able to achieve dramatic results across the entire organization. LiUNA took a phased approach to the enterprise system: they set up their new member management system step by step across a period of time.

Richard stressed the importance of identifying quick wins and eliminating pain points to drive adoption. Examples include leave requests, travel requests, and conference room requests — quick, easy processes that have a big effect on customer satisfaction. He also introduced Tempo feeds, tasking, and actions to the organization through these processes.

What’s next for LiUNA? Enterprise process and data management. They plan on adding local union affiliate management capabilities, and contractor management capabilities. Richard wants to add more mobile capability, and enhanced reporting. With Appian BPM, they have endless possibilities… it all starts with the member!

Alena Callaghan

Web Marketing Manager