Reading the article one wouldn't even know that Appian is a BPM company. It is interesting how the company is described in the article, viz. "For reference, Appian offers corporate customers a simplified, user-friendly platform to build custom software."
This reflects my belief that the BPM market is going to split into two. On one side you will have Appian and Appian-like companies which are going to unabashedly go in the direction of being App Development platforms. Their competition is going to be other RAD (Rapid Application Development) platforms not necessarily just BPM platforms.
On the other side you will have zero-code BPM approaches geared directly towards business users.
This article comes to mind :https://m.signalvnoise.com/reconsider-41adf356857f#.k4p0d6jmu (37signals)
Also, just wrote about business process applications - Ranjit proposes it is splitting into appdev and zero code.
I think the split is:
1. bpm largely as we know it, but evolving with various technology waves and modes of interaction
2. bpm applications / solutions
3. bpm-based app-dev a la Appian.
I don't know that zero code is a separate market from app-dev, rather than just one end of the spectrum of appdev tools.
No single vendor "owns" BPM.
BPM does not even own "Business Process Management"
Managing a business is not just about "managing processes".
Valuations can change overnight - take a look at LinkedIN stock pricess.
When any company confuses its customer base, it may be only a few steps away from "tanking"
This is yet another sign of the potential power of BPM (discipline, tools and practice) – it can address concerns of various enterprise stakeholders, for example, business (we want “managing by processes”), IT (we want “RAD”), EA (we want “process-centric solutions”), etc.
It's a significant event, purely for marketing purposes. Now, the BPMS-as-biz-app-dev-platform appears as a viable business to investors. And it can mean a lot for the whole BPMS market. In today's shallow, shifting markets, more eyeballs = more cash = more opportunities to push BPM at scale.
Other than that, no customer cares about how the BPMS market is split.
And yeah, Appian deserves the recognition as they have probably the most interesting execution among the large BPMS players.
“We're not interested in an acquisitions ... we just don't engage" says the CEO in an article discussing their $1Bn valuation. Yea right.
In a sense Appian’s fortunes are a good barometer of the BPM market as a whole. While no doubt a strong business their revenue is still only around $100M and has grown slowly.
Their success if anything was down to some clever marketing in the 00’s, especially around mobile and social BPM. This resonated with the analysts (shiny new toy) but no one, rightly IMO really talks social and mobile BPM about any more.
I expect Salesforce to make an acquisition in the BPM space and wouldn't be surprised if it was Appian.
Is the BPM industry a "unicorn"? As I've argued before, analysts, and even vendors, have consistently underrated the capabilities and underestimated the market for this technology. No matter what you call it—"BPM", "low-code/no-code application development", or "chocolate pudding"—we are actually talking about completely changing how organizations build and deliver their products and services.
As for Appian in particular, well... Good for them. It's a decent product and I imagine those folks are all nice to their moms and live spiritual and deeply meaningful lives. But if you've been around the block a few times, you've seen everything. Hell, I personally worked at both Lehman Brothers and Washington Mutual, two of the most successful businesses—and most spectacular disasters—in recent memory. Here today, gone tomorrow. (On the other hand, I strongly suspect that some of the executives at those firms were not, in fact, nice to their moms, so maybe it was just karma.)
I'm gonna just go ahead and put this out there: if I own something you want to buy for a billion dollars, please call me right away. It's yours.
Valued at 1bn with sales.of 100m hmm that's a bubble ...grab it guys it is not sustainable... and so in my view the analogy with BPM does not makes sense. Having said that I do believe that it is the BPM thinking supported by next generation adaptive low/no code platform software will truly disruptive the current complex and thus expensive enterprise software offerings. Does Appian fit this paradigm shift I do not know; if they do then maybe hang in there ....time will tell.
Regardless of the increasing power of BPM, I'm still sceptical of valuations for technology plays. A tier-2 technology-based vendor like Progress (current market cap > $ 1.1 B USD, revenue 3X Appian) has a huge and successful channel making it much more than a technology play (and Progress has the whole RAD thing going too). Pure-plays are a hard go. The gap between technology and business value is very wide, especially if most of the time you're selling to developers or architects.
So we get back to market strategies where technology is sold to VARs and BPO providers and Wipro (market cap $ 27 B USD, user of Appian, IBM and Pega BPM suites) generates the valuation because of domain knowledge and market power - and a willingness to take responsibility for outcomes.
Which observation leaves us really nowhere . . . how does one fund or make a business out of one of the most important business-oriented technologies of the future?
I thought I would try an add a modicum of science to the discussion, bearing in mind "unicorn valuations" are not based on any form of maths, economics or accounting. To believe that BPM is on fire because Appian may be worth $1bn (prior to Monday's crash) is chasing rainbows. So I submit this image as a discussion point.