Appian SAIL Helps Users Ride BPM’s New Wave with Multi-Platform, Data-Driven Features
Appian’s latest BPM suite provides “write-once, deploy-anywhere” capabilities that let business process management apps run across web, cloud, mobile and social – without recoding. Thanks to a new SAIL (self-assembling interface layer),, process apps written in Appian 7 BPM Suite can also tap into data from any location. IDN speaks with Appian’s Malcolm Ross.
by Vance McCarthy
"Today, BPM needs to work with cloud, mobile and social, and leverage these new technologies to deliver customers a more flexible platform."
Appian’s latest BPM suite provides “write-once, deploy-anywhere” capabilities that let business process management apps run across web, cloud, mobile and social – without recoding. Thanks to a new SAIL (self-assembling interface layer),, process apps written in Appian 7 BPM Suite can also tap into data from any location.
“Appian SAIL lets users write an Appian application once, and deploy it across multiple web browsers or on any mobile platform,” Malcolm Ross, Appian’s vice president of product marketing, told IDN.
The new capability means devs can quickly design and deploy rich BPM solutions that provide platform independence, native mobility, flexible cloud/on-premise delivery, and even easily access outside data from enterprise and social media sources, Ross added.
“Today, BPM needs to work with cloud, mobile and social, and leverage these new technologies to deliver customers a more flexible platform that lets them change processes to improve experience, improve results or simply get more insight about individual processes, customers and transactions,” Ross said.
A recent report from Gartner also noted how BPM is being affected by the latest wave of technologies. “Four independent forces – social, mobile, cloud and information – have converged as a result of human behavior, creating a technology-immersed environment,” according to a recent Gartner report. “And the organizations that pay attention to this ‘nexus of forces’ will be successful.”
The latest updates to Appian 7 BPM Suite take a dramatic new step toward a “data-first” approach to BPM, rather than the traditional “process-first” approach. “More powerful BPM needs a ‘data-first’ approach, where processes and users can easily tap into data from their process apps, no matter if they’re at their desk, online on a mobile device,” Ross said. The SAIL architecture is a key to delivering those experiences across the BPM lifecycle, Appian’s Ross told IDN.
This confluence of capabilities enables faster and more intelligent business processes that drive new growth and new levels of customer engagement. According to Gartner, “Four independent forces – social, mobile, cloud and information – have converged as a result of human behavior, creating a technology-immersed environment… Organizations that ignore the Nexus of Forces will be displaced by those that can move into the opportunity space more quickly – and the pace is accelerating.”
Appian SAIL’s rules-driven interactivity creates intelligent and completely dynamic interface experiences for users. This lets Appian customers quickly and easily generate rich, graphical task, record and reporting dashboards with really easy and powerful ways to interactively drill-down into that data to get precise information about a particular customer or process, Ross said. Users can also see macro-trends and discover new perspectives on business performance, Ross added.
Inside Appian 7 BPM Suite’s Data-Driven Appian Records
Another crucial component to Appian’s “data-first” approach is what the company calls Appian Records. These records simplify how a BPM app can access rich and informative sets of data in real-time to inform, enrich or gain more viability into processes, as well as individual transactions or activities subject to the processes.
First released this spring, Appian Records give BPM users fingertip access to enterprise data navigation, orchestration, collaboration and reporting. “Through a single social interface, business users can easily manage, access and update the data they need to do their jobs – regardless of where that data resides,” Ross told IDN.
In addition, Appian Records eliminates the need to constantly switch or toggle between multiple applications when completing a business action, such as resolving a partner or customer request, he added.
To illustrate how SAIL and Appian Records work together to promote adaptive case management, Ross shared a BPM user scenario. A customer is asking about the status of an order or trying to complete a transaction. The call center worker can see the entire status of the customer’s account history and the present pending activity via access to an Appian Record, which already includes data from CRM, ERP, legal and other systems.
Because the call center worker has all this information in a single view within a BPM app, the worker can immediately take an appropriate action. These could include logging a trouble ticket, sending an e-prompt to the customer’s account manager, or whatever. Further, because this is a BPM app, once the call center sends the notification, the next person in the chain can also access the Appian Record and contact others to address the issue.
Once an Appian Record is defined, enterprise data is imbued with several capabilities to make that data more BPM app-aware. According to the Appian website, these include:
- Navigation: Business users can easily browse and filter enterprise data from a single intuitive interface. Appian provides a rich web interface and native mobile applications on all major mobile platforms for fast, simple, and secure access to data from the office or in the field.
- Process Orchestration: Appian’s intuitive BPMN-based process modeler allows fast and scalable process orchestration of enterprise data. Appian’s native integration frameworks, robust human task management, events processing, and data rules allow designers to easily create and execute process orchestrations involving enterprise data.
- Social Collaboration: Appian also offers an intuitive social interface and seamless integration with enterprise data to better enable users to easily share comments and information with key stakeholders, as well as deliver context and accountability to social collaborations. Users can also discover, securely share, comment and collaborate on records.
- Enterprise Reporting: Users gain real-time views and reports on all records, allowing them to make more informed strategic decisions. Appian’s flexible reporting engine extends to all records to provide fast aggregations and a single view across all data sources.
One adopter noted the benefits his firm is getting from the latest updates to Appian 7 BPM Suite.
“We wanted the benefits of process control and improvement directly embedded with a social and mobile user experience. We are excited about the enhancements that Appian SAIL delivers to make that user experience even more valuable and compelling,” said Will Barrett, Senior Operational Officer at Bank of Tennessee.
Readers can apply for a free trial of Appian 7 BPM Suite cloud-based version here
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