Appian has released the latest version of the Appian Platform. It integrates AI, data and process automation into a single product to accelerate business growth and automation. Users will now have access to a range of tools that will significantly improve their ability to deliver value to the business at a lower cost.

Michael Beckley, Chief Technology Officer and co-founder, Appian (Image Credit: Appian)
Michael Beckley, Chief Technology Officer and co-founder, Appian

Michael Beckley, CTO & Founder, Appian, said, “The generative AI prompt builder positions Appian as the ideal platform for AI-driven process automation. Now, organizations can harness generative AI in their applications using an embedded large language model (LLM) in Appian’s private AI architecture.

“Appian is excited to be among the first vendors in the low-code and process automation market to bring a native and secure LLM to our customers. This release is just the beginning in our plans to bring secure generative AI capabilities to all of our customers.”

AI is at the core of the new Appian Platform

The new Appian Platform delivers a number of tools that will make it easier for customers to exploit AI. Attendees at Appian World events in 2023 were given an advanced preview of some of these new features.

At the heart of this is Appian’s AI Skill Designer is a low-code solution. It enables users to use generative AI to improve their business processes. It is effectively a skills repository into which new “AI Skill” elements can be added and which users can then exploit. There are three AI Skills in this release, with Appian adding more later. What is not clear is how organisations can design, build and add their own skills.

The first three skills are:

  1. Email Classification: Create automated solutions that can route emails based on business-specific labels. For example, an email arrives with a product support question. Rather than that be read by a human and then forwarded onto the right person, using this AI Skill, the email is read, context checked and then forwarded automatically.
  2. Document Classification: A similar use case to Email Classification but this time for documents. The document is scanned to determine what type of document it is and who it should be sent to. It is then forwarded to the best person or team.
  3. Document Extraction: This extracts data from documents and makes it available to applications. It removes the need for manual review of a document and its contents, reducing time and error significantly. The document can also be made available to multiple applications based on the context of the content.

Case Management Studio

Another new feature is the Case Management Studio. It allows users to build the custom case management solutions especially for complex case management needs. Using a CMaaS (Case Management as a Service) approach, developers can take a modular approach of building components that can be assembled later into more complex solutions.

It uses the Appian Data Fabric to provide access to enterprise data. This is essential for the most complex scenarios where case management spans multiple departments in an organisation.

As with AI Skills, Appian is combining its existing low-code solution with AI and automation to make it easier and faster to deliver a solution.

What else is in this release?

Appian has listed four other key features of this latest version of the Appian platform. They are:

  • Data Fabric Analytics. Data Fabric Analytics offers enhanced business intelligence reporting for every Appian user. This dedicated reporting space is now generally available (GA), marking the end of a successful preview release. Users can now utilize Data Fabric Analytics to dig into data using AI generated insights to identify patterns, and summarize findings.
  • Streamlined RPA for faster end-to-end automation. Robotic tasks can now be directly executed from an Appian process model, eliminating the need for additional integrations. The enhanced operations console ensures operations personas can effortlessly monitor robotic task executions and vitals.
  • Ability to leverage popular plug-ins directly inside Appian Portals. Features like rich text editors, Google Maps, and ESRI ArcGIS Maps can now be seamlessly integrated into portals, providing customers with enhanced user experiences.
  • FedRAMP certification for Appian Portals. FedRAMP certification is the gold standard of security and risk assessment for cloud technologies and federal agencies. Achieving FedRAMP certification makes Appian Portals a trusted choice for federal agencies for building public and citizen-facing web applications.

Enterprise Times: What does this mean?

Appian is taking advantage of the work it has done over the last few years to ensure that AI is at the core of its platform going forward. It sees it as an integral technology to improve process automation and speed up digital transformation.

Importantly, its focus on the use of AI is about speeding up application delivery and enhancing skills, not replacing them. This is a critical difference to many other AI solutions where automation of tasks is all too often used as an excuse to cut employee numbers. In Appian’s approach, AI makes it possible for users to be focused on the elements of their jobs that add value to the business.

While all the new features look interesting, it is slightly disappointing that there is no obvious route for organisations to add their own AI Skills. For a platform that is big on modular design, especially around CMaaS, it only seems right that organisations design, build and deploy their own AI Skills that are explicit to their business. After all, these can easily be seen as competitive differentiators.

Overall, however, Appian customers are likely to welcome this release and more details are expected at Appian World in 6 weeks.


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