Appian Tech Leader: Putting Culture First
Sand Hill recently interviewed Appian Chief Technology Officer Michael Beckley about how tech leadership is changing, and the importance of company culture. Mike says in the late-Nineties, he and his Appian co-founders focused on culture before even having a business plan, and made “the very intentional decision to build a culture of innovation.”
“We had no idea what our product would look like in 2013 and we didn’t care. We knew if we got the culture right, we would get the technology right. We knew it was very important to have the culture right on day one so that the first employee that came in the door would understand what we were trying to accomplish and would help us build it.”
As both CTO and head of Recruiting, Mike has helped orient Appian towards investing in the right people for long-term industry innovation. Just as the industry has continuously changed over the years, so has Mike’s role at Appian.
While it is unconventional, the blending of technology and talent recruitment leadership makes sense for a company like Appian. Our “product” is ultimately the creativity and energy of our people. Appian recruits heavily on leading college campuses, which is cyclical, but at peak times, Mike can spend as much as 80 percent of his time looking for talent. His dedication to recruiting will be on display in the next several weeks as he prepares to embark on a non-stop recruiting trip with visits to colleges such as MIT, Dartmouth, and the University of Maryland. The mission of this trip, as always: find future leaders who will thrive in an environment where the best idea wins.
“I never forget about the clients, but my role as CTO focuses much more on making sure I have the right team in place and that they have the right incentives and the tools they need to succeed,” Mike says. “I need to make sure we have the right people so we will make the right decisions and investments that enable creating enduring value for our clients for years to come.”
Getting the culture right first has been the driving force behind Appian becoming a leader in BPM, and why we’re positioned for future growth. The industry will continue to change, and there will be challenges, but innovation will always be our answer. Continuous release of new features is what gets seen on the surface, and ultimately what translates into customer value, but it’s important not to forget where it comes from. Appian has assembled a gifted team, and aligned the entire organization with its culture from the start. And that standard hasn’t changed since day one.
If a company that puts culture first and has a best idea wins approach to business seems like the place for you, visit Appian Jobs. We’re hiring, and we need people who can contribute to our culture of innovation.
Media Relations Manager