I had a chance to hear an update of Appian Anywhere, Appian‘s SaaS BPM offering, while at the Gartner BPM conference this week. I’m very interested in BPM and Enterprise 2.0, and SaaS BPM fits nicely into that intersection.
Although they originally planned for GA in Q307, it looks like Q108 before they’re going to be available to their planned SMB target audience with payments by credit card and other functionality that you’d expect for a SaaS offering. The reason appears to be that they’ve had so much interest from large corporate customers that they’re offering a large-client configuration first to a small number of select customers, so have diverted resources from the SMB functionality to focus on the big fish first. It seems to me that that would tend to cannibalize their on-premise business, although I’m sure that there are large organizations who will use this as a way to try before they buy.
They’re really trying to create an ecosystem for partners to develop applications on their platform. To prime the pump, they’ve created 30+ applications of their own that they’ll offer out for free with the basic subscription; partners are developing other applications that will be offered on a subscription based in the Appian Anywhere marketplace. Encouraging this sort of application development is a web service-like integration capability (I don’t think that it is exactly web services, but similar in nature) to integrate between Appian Anywhere applications and behind-the-firewall applications, which makes it much more useful as a BPM platform, since I can’t think of any customer of mine who wouldn’t have to integrate with one of their on-premise systems at some point.
They’re also creating some video training to minimize the need for professional services to get you up and running on the platform.
There’s still a lot of resistance to SaaS for core business processes, although I think that this could catch on for the non-critical ones as a starting point. However, there’s some pure Enterprise 2.0 vendors such as LongJump who are going to creep into this space — from the other direction and with a very different sort of offering — and pick up some of the market.