Matt Calkins

Appian World 2019 highlights digital process automation growth

I recently had the opportunity to attend Appian World 2019 in San Diego, where I got to see how one of the most innovative companies in the space is impacting intelligent business process management systems, dynamic case management, digital process automation and low-code development.

Over the next week Bankless Times will post highlights from Appian World 2019 along with an interview or two.


Insurance is one area that is ripe for innovation and Appian is meeting demand by improving the enterprise’s ability to extract value from unstructured data such as forms and photographs.

The company helps insurance companies develop apps where customers can submit photos and videos along with a claim. The customer submits the accident location, weather conditions and names/information of additional parties involved. From menus they can pick the type and age of vehicle along with the type of claim they intend to file.

Where the real innovation comes in is when the backend systems get to work processing photographs. They match the damage with similar photographs in their database, producing an estimate complete with confidence level. The customer can challenge that estimate by obtaining one from their own shop.

The entire process takes less than one minute.

Worried about fraud? Claimants submit a picture of their VIN number, and that number gets matched against a database of VIN numbers.

The technology addresses a few issues. The first is manual checking is time consuming and error prone. It also expedites the 80 percent of claims that are low-cost, freeing up resources to focus on the more challenging cases.

More innovation on its way: Calkins

There remain plenty of opportunities to deliver added value to the enterprise, CEO Matt Calkins said in his opening remarks.

One of Appian’s goals is to streamline the process larger teams employ in their app development process, Mr. Calkins explained. The focus is to shorten the average development time by half every few years by getting as close as possible to APIs through processes like dropping integrations into code. Creative reach has grown as Appian published 32 apps and an SDK for free.

Matt Calkins

Mr. Calkins said Merck sought to streamline their end-to-end product life cycle and developed a solution in under eight weeks.

Low-code solutions bring power along with speed, Mr. Calkins explained. If a company was to develop a solution on its own they would be able to practically focus on only a few key data sources up front. With Appian, developers benefit from access to a library of solutions that deliver added functionality from the beginning.

“On premise you wouldn’t do that up front but on Appian you get it all for free,” Mr. Calkins said.

Appian’s technology is sophisticated enough to safely handle Department of Defense and protected health data, Mr. Calkins added. Robotic process automation allows companies to address basic information faster so staff can address exceptional cases directly with customers as AI routes the work to those best qualified.

“My goal is to make AI accessible,” Mr. Calkins continued. 

And also as useful as possible. Google AI, optical character recognition, translation, natural language processing and Amazon and Microsoft connectors are all available so the customer can pick which items best suit their needs.

If a client opts to deploy low code solutions some of their apps can be prebuilt to shorten deployment time.

Preparing for the end of Libor

Want a practical example of how RPA can deliver immediate value? If you are a financial services company, you are likely aware the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor) is being phased out at the end of 2021. That leaves many companies adhering to contracts based on a number that won’t soon exist.

Appian technology screens contracts to identify Libor-dependent language and suggest replacement terminology.

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