In markets for software technologies, conventional wisdom dictates that, over time, as the need for the technology becomes widely understood and the market matures, supply consolidates and room for small, innovative players starts to disappear.
Now I’m not generally a fan of conventional wisdom, as it’s often just a shortcut for thinking properly through a situation. In any case, BPM technology provider Appian is one specialist vendor that’s busy defying that historical pattern. A few days ago it announced elements of its performance for 2012, highlighting record revenue, new license runrate and license revenue. Q4 orders more than doubled over the same period in 2011.
Also in the release, Appian announced that in 2012 around one-third of new customers opted to deploy Appian’s cloud-based platform rather than deploying on-premise—with twice as much revenue attributable to cloud implementations than in 2011. This is something we need to get to the bottom of: when we wrote specifically about Appian’s cloud-based offering in January 2012, Appian told us that around half its new license sales at that time were related to cloud-based deployments. Not sure how the maths stacks up there—unless Appian’s new license revenue overall was 3x higher in 2012 than in 2011. I’ll update here when I find out.
One thing’s for sure though: with 98 new customers, new offices in Melbourne, Singapore and Paris and a new regional HQ in Australia, Appian is definitely seeing a continuing and growing opportunity for what it offers.
Appian is a company with some real technology differentiators, as well as being a company with a strong customer focus. That’s part of the reason I’m pleased to see it continue to do robust business. But just as importantly, I’m pleased to see Appian continue to succeed because I strongly believe in the value of systems of coordination for organisations across industries. Having a vibrant independent group of technology providers continuing to push forward helps to keep the large, generalist infrastructure players who also offer tools and platforms in this area (IBM, SAP, TIBCO, Software AG, Oracle) on their toes. This means more choice and ultimately more value for customers than would probably otherwise be available.