Appian Forum: Product Update from Malcolm Ross

Malcolm Ross, Director of Product Management and someone who I once referred to as an über demo god, gave us an update on the Appian product. He started with their product development philosophy:

  • flexibility
  • ease of use
  • comprehensive
  • build for the future, which is how they position their web-based AJAX process modeler, in contrast with most of the competitions’ Eclipse-based desktop process modelers
  • listen to customers

He reviewed the enhancements in their latest version, Appian Enterprise 5.7:

  • improved web services handling
  • custom data types, allowing for complex data sets based on XML structures
  • WSRP portlet consumption for creating mashups directly within an Appian dashboard (which, of course, he illustrated by showing my RSS feed integrated into a dashboard)
  • improved security for outside-the-firewall applications
  • a number of smaller enhancements, mostly around usability for designers

They’ve also released Appian for SharePoint, providing single sign-on and the ability to snap a number of different Appian views into a SharePoint page, and access SharePoint content from the Appian environment.

He gave a bit more detail on the Appian-MEGA integration, although I think that it’s still early days on this, and he didn’t comment on round-tripping, although he implied that it was possible. He described being able to discover Appian processes from MEGA — the opposite of what is usually done with BPA-BPM tools integration — and I’m waiting for the (I hope) more in-depth details in this afternoon’s session. Their overall goal is to integrate process models into a larger enterprise architecture picture, allowing for risk analysis and other corporate performance analysis and management.

Appian Anywhere, their software as a service solution, is based on the same core code base as Appian Enterprise, so these enhancements will be available there as well.

He gave us a brief summary of what’s coming up in Appian Enterprise 6.0 in the first half of 2009, including new end-user and application designer interfaces, and support for managing distinct process-based applications within their environment.

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