Appian: all in on Case Management, Intelligent Automation

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At Appian’s annual user conference last month the company showed how it’s embracing Case Management and the notion of Intelligent Automation; the two come together in a new product.

Although the Appian Platform has offered many of the capabilities that a Case Management platform needs to exhibit for a couple of years now, the company has always been shy of hitching its fortunes too tightly to the popularity of Case Management concepts. It looks like this shyness has finally been banished, and I’m wondering if this is because Appian has woken up to the fit between Case Management applications and front-office scenarios that revolve around ‘exploratory work’.

The embrace of Case Management and of Intelligent Automation (the latter enabled through Appian’s partnership with RPA specialist Blue Prism) come together in the significant new product launched at Appian World: the Appian Intelligent Contact Center Platform.

This is a packaged framework layer that sits on top of the generic Appian Platform, and introduces specialised telephony integration services (via integrations with the likes of Twilio and Genesys), recommendations (via predictive analytics), AI services focused around natural language-focused text and document analysis and classification (via links with services from Google, AWS and Microsoft) and the Blue Prism RPA technology.

Expect to see alliances – like those with Twilio and Genesys, focused on particular frameworks and scenarios, and like those with Mulesoft and Blue Prism, which are focused on providing more ‘horizontal’ general-purpose capabilities – feature more in Appian’s development going forward.

This is a Good Thing: as I pointed out in my recent Automation Architecture presentation at bpmNEXT, a new architecture for automation in today’s and tomorrow’s businesses is emerging quickly; but the speed with which the component technologies are changing means that few organisations will want to go all-in and place all their investment with a single end-to-end platform. Vendors will need to play together.

Appian is not (currently) entering the market for packaged business applications; the Intelligent Contact Center offering is a development platform, albeit a platform that customers will customise and extend rather than write large amounts of code for (such is the nature of ‘low-code’ propositions). In this respect, it’s different from Pegasystems; however in the broad thrust of its strategy – embracing case management and intelligent automation and more explicitly targeting front-office scenarios with its products, as well as increasingly promoting ‘cloud choice’, and some of the other minor announcements at Appian World – it’s tacking closer and closer to the direction of one of its main rivals.

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