CEO Matt Calkins gives CBR an insight into the company he founded back in 1997.
That innovation is predominately being driven by software, with this creating a shift in business – a shift which Appian is well placed to be at the core of, according to the CEO.
“Software has become part of the profile of a company – that’s pretty exciting because it means that software, which has long been homogenous, will now have to be differentiated. It’s a neat trend, and of course we are going to be in the middle of that because we allow for the easy creation of easy software.”
The Appian CEO wants to position his company at the core of this new wave of unique software, with the company pitching their product as the higher quality, simple and easy platform for all industries.
“PaaS is one of the names which is emerging to describe what we do, and what we do of course is provide a platform for building software applications quickly and easily, even though they are powerful.”
One of the main criticisms when talking about application platforms and PaaS is vendor lock-in, a problem which the CEO says is going to happen to a certain degree with any product. However, Appian is trying to differentiate between its competitors by being as open as possible, promising less of a lock-in experience than others in the market.
“For example, our competitor Force.com provides you the ability to write an application, on a platform, in the cloud just like we do. The difference is, in our case, you can bring that back behind your firewall and out of the cloud whenever you want. Whereas for them, you are locked in. Same with our competitor ServiceNow, they lock you in to their cloud. We don’t. We say you should own your applications and own your data.”
Although full of praise for competitor ServiceNow, who the CEO calls ‘fantastic’ and ‘formidable in their own right’, Mr Calkins does draw to attention the fact that he believes that his product is one of higher quality, with better security, scalability and feature set than ServiceNow.
“We are coming from the top of the market down to the middle, while ServiceNow is starting at the bottom and making rather slow progress towards the middle.”
Success at the top of the market is highlighted by the company’s success in EMEA, specifically among Financial Services. Although a US company based in Washington, the CEO made it clear that Europe and the UK is vital in taking the company forward, with Appian having ‘caught fire in the FS community’. Declaring ‘never mind Brexit’, Mr Calkins wants to keep the momentum going in Europe – momentum which has seen the region become the fastest growing part of the company.
“[We are] very focused on Europe and the UK – this is where we see the greatest growth, as a company we are growing 50% year after year in terms of software revenue. The EMEA operation is the part of the business which is seeing the most growth and we are investing in it the fastest. We have put more investment in EMEA offices than any offices in the world in past 12 months.”
For a company with one product and one price, Appian could be the answer to the world’s growing need for more and more software. With a possible future IPO fuelled by a Unicorn status, there are interesting times ahead for the company – as well as interesting times for the UK post-Brexit with companies such as Appian pressing ahead and reporting positive growth.