What to expect from Appian World 2024

For what might be the fifth time this year, the Computer Weekly Developer Network team is at Appian World, so what can we expect?

It’s hard to think about Appian World without remembering the company’s crushing but sensible decision to switch its physical event to virtual on one of the first global days of the pandemic back in 2020, as we detailed two years later.

But with that time now behind us and with the ‘evolution’ of low-code technologies having progressed to a different tier of comprehension and automation, Appian is no doubt looking to use its stature and footprint in the industry to talk about where developer (and user) acceleration factors should steer next.

Looking at specifics for Appian World this year, the event is being held at the Gaylord Inner Harbor resort in Washington DC from 15-17 April 2024.

The rise of business technologists

Appian chief technology officer and co-founder Michael Beckley has recently spoken about the company’s mission to enable what he calls ‘business technologists’ to more acutely tailor their application use cases to fit specific needs. 

In other words, that means (somewhat) technically-aware businesspeople being empowered with enough control to shape (and in some cases build) enterprise application functionality themselves so that it aligns with the casework in hand.

Appian thinks that its newly launched Case Management as a Service (CMaaS) modular design solution is perfect for this task.

Process boundary control

Known formally as Appian Case Management Studio, this product will no doubt be showcased in full at Appian World. It enables users to configure end-to-end applications with prebuilt features that cover 80% of typical case needs. The software is capable of keeping processes ‘in bounds’ (i.e. within the realm of agreed privileges and access) while staying flexible with easy-to-configure business rules.

“Appian’s generative AI prompt builder puts functional AI directly into the hands of decision makers, leading to faster outcomes than ever before,” said Michael Beckley, CTO & Founder, Appian. “Appian’s private AI architecture means you’re not sacrificing speed for security either. Your data remains yours and you can use it to its full potential. We will continue to release more innovative generative AI tools that make our users more impactful in what they do.”

This product promises to empower business users with the ability to configure workflows and visualisations to track cases as they progress. The company further notes that this software offers incident management functions to identify issues with AI-driven root-cause analysis and automatic case routing.

Back to the event proper then – according to the company’s event promo literature, “Appian World is the ultimate destination to learn about the latest in Artificial Intelligence, process automation and digital transformation. The brightest minds from the world’s most innovative organisations share their strategies for driving end-to-end automation, achieving process excellence and winning in the AI economy. You’ll hear from the experts, share your successes and build lasting connections with Appian leadership, customers and partners.

Appian 24.1

For technical trainspotters, it’s worth noting that the platform itself is now at iteration Appian 24.1 with new features including the ability to embed AI prompts in workflows, build case management apps faster and empower users with self-service analytics.

Among the new (and enhanced) functionalities to be explored, explained and extrapolated at Appian World are…

A new generative AI prompt builder AI skill has been included to add AI prompts to an organisation’s processes to take advantage of generative AI. Users can create a prompt builder AI skill and describe what they want the AI model to do. Also here we find enhanced document extraction AI skills to extract data from tables and checkboxes with more accuracy.

Streamlined RPA makes it easier to integrate Appian RPA into a firm’s processes with robotic tasks that run directly from an Appian process model. Here we can pinpoint improved process history functionality to see highlighted changes to record variables, making it easier to spot changes when the technical team wants to test an expression, interact with an interface, or examine a process instance.

Of course, we also have to mention Appian Data Fabric (the company has been more vocal than many on this whole concept over the last half-decade) and in this space Appian points to self-service analytics. This is intended to empower business users to explore their data fabric in real time, quickly create reports and access AI-driven insights.

Live Build Challenge

As well as a dedicated Dev Day: ‘Hands-on Learning for Appian Developers; designed to provide a developer-focused keynote, instructor-led hands-on labs and networking, the company will once again stage its Live Build Challenge under the watchful eye of a team of judges led by April Schuppel, Appian’s senior developer advocate.

The Live Build Challenge was reimagined for the live stage in recent years’ events – this intense competition between six expert developers is staged in front of a live audience, with updated challenging prompts.

Other speakers include Matt Calkins, founder & CEO of Appian, April DelFavero, VP of global field & partner marketing at Appian and Malcolm Ross, senior vice president of product strategy at Appian. 

Customer/partner speakers include (to name but a few) Vijay Dhayaleeswaran, AVP workflow & content technology at Canada Life; Dylan Fulmer of 3E, Branden Ramsey of Axiom Space and Jennifer Swanson, deputy assistant secretary of the army for data, engineering & software DASA (DES), U.S. Army.

Will there be downtime? 

Obviously yes, Appian always throws a party as the event wraps up and this year is no different – an event is scheduled at a Washington DC music venue known as the Anthem, so even coders can rock, clearly. Appian World is now a pretty firm fixture on the annual technology conference programme, so let’s hope this year delivers an even lower low-code low down.

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