How Appian is leading the next phase of Low Code


Wayne Gretzky’s famous quote, “I skate where the puck is going to be,” may have become a cliché in business, but it’s an apt metaphor for success.

Businesses win, especially in growth sectors like technology, by going where the market is going, not where it is now. Appian (NASDAQ: APPN) does exactly that in low-code software.

The company acquired the process mining start-up Lana Labs to help it in this direction. Process Mining is a technology that examines what people actually do in order to find repeatable processes that can be automated to improve efficiency. With process mining now part of its software suite, Appian offers a complete low-code platform solution that begins with process mining, then uses low-code software to write workflows that automate these processes with bots, l artificial intelligence (AI) and other such tools.

This is an important step because process mining has always been sold separately from low-code or no-code software. With this decision, Appian unifies these markets. The company hosted its first Investor Day conference on October 4 to tout its new architecture and the convergence between process exploration and its low-code core offering.

Image source: Appian.

Where does the puck go

Customers have been extremely happy with the new platform, CEO Matt Calkins said in an interview with The Motley Fool. In fact, the company has recorded a customer retention rate of 99% over the past four quarters. Calkins believes the company’s technology was the reason the retention was so high, calling it “top of the market and the engagement of staff and services as well.”

This loyalty gives Appian an edge as it leads the next phase of the low code evolution, and the company is already seeing success with its acquisition of Lana Labs and strong customer interest in the extraction component of process. Calkins added:

We have a large backlog of customers who want to use it immediately. Partners enthusiastic about deploying with her. So we’re going as fast as possible.

Switching to process mining is also a great way for Appian to expand its current contracts, in addition to helping it attract new ones.

Calkins distilled the new business model into a slide of his presentation, which you can see below, and said that when he shows this model to customers, “they love it and it immediately makes sense.”

A slide describing Appian's low-code platform.

Image source: Appian.

What’s next for Appian

Appian is a 20-year-old company, and in some ways the low-code software market has been slower to grow than other areas of software as a service, but the acceleration of digital transformation during the pandemic has gave the business a clear tailwind.

In its final quarter, revenue growth accelerated to 44%, its fastest pace in several quarters, and although second-half forecasts call for its growth rate to moderate, the addition of Lana Labs will give it a helping hand. The early reaction from customers to the integration of Process Mining is also clearly positive.

With a customer retention rate of 99% and a No. 1 ranking in GartnerAccording to the Appian Peer Knowledge Survey, it is clear that Appian’s customers are very satisfied, and this will serve it well as it carves out a more complete market with its new low-code platform.

The company plans to announce soon that the process extraction component has been rebranded as Appian, a milestone in its customer-centric integration that will allow the company to ship this product along with the rest of its platform.

Appian estimated a $ 37 billion and growing addressable market for low-code software, which is more than 100 times its revenue in the past four quarters, and the integration of process exploration could be a major catalyst to unlock more of this market. Stay tuned, because this is just the beginning.

This article represents the opinion of the author, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a premium Motley Fool consulting service. We are heterogeneous! Questioning an investment thesis – even one of our own – helps us all to think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.


Margie D. Carlisle