Welcome back to Appian World 2013! The conference is officially in full swing as more than 750 Business Process Management (BPM) professionals from 225 organizations, 17 countries, 18 industries and 45 federal and state government agencies gather to network and learn about the newest Appian products and future trends they see in the BPM industry.
In my last blog, I mentioned the concept of work-social as the dominant trend at Appian World. Work-social is an Appian term for the concept of driving work in a meaningful way to those that need to take action, wherever they are (mobile) and allowing them to collaborate on a familiar, no-training interface (social) to solve problems. Appian is confident that the same concept of collaboration we are familiar with on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn can and will be the way to "democratize work" in the future, according to CEO Matt Calkins. This is a major theme of the conference so far, but as we have heard from experts and exchanged ideas with other BPM professionals some other concepts have really caught out interest.
Below are the top five trends and topics that we think have been the most interesting or thought-provoking this week as they have been presented. Over the next couple of weeks, the CapTechers attending Appian World plan to discuss these ideas with thought leaders at CapTech and elsewhere and then blog on them further. Are these trends the direction BPM, mobile, and work are headed? What are your thoughts?
1) Work-social BPM: Social media has been widely and enthusiastically embraced as a revolutionary communication channel. The newsfeeds on all of these websites are similar, and that is no coincidence. It is the way – for better or for worse – we are now communicating with friends and loved ones all over the world. Work is the foundation of what we do to add value to our businesses every day. Social is a feature that drives the right work to the right people to foster collaboration, delegation, and action wherever they are.
2) Build once, deploy everywhere mobile architecture: At its core, Appian is a platform that allows users to build and deploy applications critical to their business processes. Appian's architecture allows a user to build an application with no coding, and then deploy that application once to every mobile device as a native application. No HTML 5, no need to build a different native application on Android and iOS. It's a new way to think about mobile.
3) Mapping current state processes? Go to the data: Traditionally, when we look to map current state processes, we go to the people responsible for the process or doing the work to see how it's done. This can be effective, but is also dependent on the information we get from the process owner being accurate. Another way to determine current state is to mine and analyze the process data to see how it is created, where it goes, and to what end. Sound crazy? People are doing it and succeeding.
4) Lean Startup Methodology: Lean Startup Methodology can help BPM developers move quickly without sacrificing quality. Leveraging principals like A/B testing (more common than you might think), building a minimum viable product first and reacting quickly to user feedback to improve the user experience are important to this methodology.
5) Strategic Planning for Legacy Systems: Every business has legacy systems and databases they know could be more efficient but have become institutionalized. The risk of moving away from those applications to something (admittedly) better is just too great. Appian integrates as a "wrapper" around key legacy systems so that from a user perspective they look like the new applications you are building without sacrificing functionality and data core to the business. Businesses may need to carefully consider the long-term strategy for this approach with any BPM tool. Do we keep the legacy applications indefinitely, or do we strategically plan to replace the applications with a database where the core functionality lives in Appian?