Appian CEO Matt Calkins has said he wants his company to help drive a new "Moore’s law, except instead of the size of the transistor it will be the amount of work it takes to build your application", while also announcing a range of artificial intelligence capabilities in the latest version of its platform.
Appian, which successfully raised $75 million in an IPO back in May 2017, offers a platform as a service (PaaS) suite which aims to simplify creating business applications with API integrations across the public cloud platforms.
Its products are typically referred to as 'low code', meaning they are designed to enable users without technical backgrounds to build comprehensive, highly customisable applications that suit their business needs.
Speaking at Appian World 2018 in Florida today, CEO Matt Calkins said that the company’s goal is to make it as “easy as humanly possible” to build and maintain unique applications.
"We are already in my opinion the fastest way to build powerful applications,” Calkins said. He asserted that the focus for Appian is to keep making app development “easier and easier” for customers, by targeting areas that still require the most coding or scripting.
“Our goal is every two years we want to cut in half the work it takes to build an application,” Calkins said. “Two years from now it will take half as much work, two years after that, a fourth as much work. It’s like Moore’s law except instead of the size of the transistor it will be the amount of work it takes to build your application.”
This lead into the major announcement of the conference, which centred around the popular topic of AI. The idea is to simplify pulling AI functions into business process workflows and customer-made applications.
Appian now has "no-code" integration for the big three public cloud platforms - so Google Cloud Platform, Amazon Web Services, and Microsoft Azure - making it fairly simple for users to take advantage of the machine learning capabilities from the big cloud vendors in their own apps. It also extended support to the OpenAPI standard so customers can make use of web services designed with Swagger.
If a customer has a model in any of these services, they can now run a wizard through Appian to connect it up and make it a reusable object in the program.
The company has also baked in sentiment analysis so that customers can determine the general sentiment of the customer, scoring them from one to 100, and looking at the way they write or the particular words that they use, or even for providing a real-time transcription of a phone call.
"We will tell you if this is a happy customer or not," Calkins said. "This is the kind of thing AI should be used for everywhere right away."
The latest release sees a simpler user interface, with more drag-and-drop features across all web and mobile flavours without the need for any additional coding, plus improvements to Appian for running inside Docker containers.
“We are very excited about containerisation,” Calkins said. “It’s going to be a big deal.”
Customers can also now hold the encryption keys to all of their data that's in the Appian Cloud.
Appian Intelligent Contact Centre
The company also announced a brand new Intelligent Contact Centre Platform, which "inherits all of the core attributes of the Appian platform" but packaged specifically for customer engagement and case management use cases.
Appian already has a track record in being used for bespoke call centre solutions – Barclays, Goldman Sachs, and Aviva are all customers – but this will be buyable off the shelf.
Calkins said that call centre products today are missing a 360-degree view of the client on the other end of the line, and that they are not intelligent enough about connecting the dots so the customer service rep knows as much as possible about the customer.
The Appian product will bring together multiple sources of information into one “cohesive picture” to allow for complete tracking of the customer.
The platform makes use of Appian Records so customer service staff can see a clear contextual view about each customer interaction.
The company boasts that this is delivered in a "zero-training interface" that workers can get to grips with in just a few clicks. It will also use AI sentiment analysis to suggest next steps based on each individual customer interaction, as well as allowing customers to pull in the AI services offered from the public cloud vendors.