Appian Gets Mega-Friendly

Enterprise processes just got a little more coordinated. At least that’s the stated goal for business process management (BPM) vendor Appian in its newly announced partnership with Mega, a specialist in enterprise architecture (EA) and business process analysis (BPA). The two vendors have made available an integrated offering blending the Mega Modeling Suite with Appian Enterprise BPM Suite for existing and prospective customers. 

According to Samir Gulati, vice president of marketing for Appian, the partnership was spurred not only by customer demand, but also by emerging trends in the industry. Enterprise Rent-a-Car, for example, was already a customer of both Mega and Appian when it suggested to the two vendors that integration would be beneficial for its processes. Enterprise was modeling and documenting its existing processes with Appian and using Mega to analyze how effective those processes were. Realizing the potential in coordinating its BPA and BPM tools, Appian selected Mega to pursue deep integration of its complementary products, Gulati says.

“If spending time integrating [the two products] would enhance the value proposition for both tools, that gave us the validation that it would help existing customers and open up marketing opportunities for both companies,” Gulati says, adding that the two vendors already have about five customers in common and are hoping that the partnership will soon lead to increased referrals and signees.

“In the future, I see this offering a lot of value to the customer base,” says Terence Lee, vice president of North American operations for Mega. “Automation by itself...is a relatively mature space, but very few [vendors] are monitoring the process within that space and capturing the metrics and then feeding back into the process design. That’s the direction these partnerships will take.”

Several analysts have noted a rise in customer demand for broader BPM offerings -- and this partnership may be indicative of the need for greater optimization of tools. “The business process modeling vendors are finding they need to provide an execution environment for their customers, and many of the BPM suite customers want stronger modeling capabilities than the BPM suite vendors currently offer,” says Connie Moore, vice president and Forrester Research director. She points out that she sees this trend playing out in recent acquisitions including Metastorm's purchase of Proforma in mid-2007 and EMC's acquisition of ProActivity two years ago.

Any changes to a process that occur in the execution environment can be shown in the process modeling environment, Moore says, allowing further analysis to take place, essentially broadening the scope for business process managers. She also notes, however, that, to be effective, process models created in a modeling tool should be linked to a BPM execution environment to avoid becoming out of date. “If the process models stay frozen in time, they get out of sync with reality very quickly. Keeping the two environments linked is critical because processes constantly change -- often with managers and supervisors not even realizing it,” Moore states. “For example, we recently interviewed 10 companies that have implemented BPM products, and their processes change two to three times per week. Plus, major changes happen quite often, too -- usually every two to three months,” she says, adding that enterprise architecture is in no way stagnant.

With that in mind, executives from Appian and Mega say that the integration between the two companies' products will reduce potential bottlenecks in piecing the solutions together, thereby making the iterative nature of business process management easier to -- well, manage.

News relevant to the customer relationship management industry is posted several times a day on destinationCRM.com, in addition to the news section Insight that appears every month in the pages of CRM magazine. You may leave a public comment regarding this article by clicking on "Comments" at the top; to contact the editors, please email editor@destinationCRM.com.

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