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Going from idea to app in just eight weeks sounds crazy, right?
This seemingly insane timeframe is what Appian — an app development company — has built so many prolific partnerships on.
Appian found what they do well and they can do it fast. Ultimately, their business model has produced numerous win/win/win situations for them, their partners, and the end customers.
In this episode of Ecosystem Aces, I have the opportunity to sit down with Appian’s Commercial Partner Director (PwC), Ben Galego. Ben fills us in on how Appian can offer such a quick turnaround and the other ways in which it supports its strategic partnerships.
The low-code platform
Appian’s developers have constructed a streamlined process for creating apps. It’s what makes it possible for the company to turn an idea into an app in just eight weeks.
This low-code intelligence automation uses a combination of:
Robotic process automation — The ability for partners to automate routine tasks across systems.
AI — The opportunity for partners to enhance business outcomes by making their apps smarter with machine learning.
Business process management — Partners can easily design, execute, and optimize their business processes.
Integrations — Partners can coordinate all of their enterprise systems, data, and web services without writing any code.
Ben emphasizes that his team at Appian enables their partners to do what they do best: business. He notes that he’s worked with a myriad of savvy business people who have used the low-code platform to initiate extraordinary business feats.
And, because of Appian, those partners can go to market considerably faster than if they chose a different development route.
A win/win/win situation
There are a few circumstances that need to be present in order for a developer like Appian to successfully enable a partner:
The partner needs to know how to position the end product in the marketplace.
The partner has to have good timing when bringing on the developer so the budget doesn’t get eaten up too fast.
The partner has to be able to deliver on training and pipeline once the app launches.
Ben explains that as long as those three matters are accounted for, it’s easy for Appian to effectively enable a partner. He also notes that this can be a bit of a balancing act for businesses, so it doesn’t always play out perfectly.
One particular aspect that Ben and his team focus on in order to achieve a win/win/win scenario is the management of a joint pipeline. It’s essential that there be a champion on the partner’s team to encourage the success of the app. Otherwise, the development and release of the app is often curbed.
Furthermore, Appian ensures quick delivery on demo apps in order to get the marketing and thought leadership initiatives rolling. The mutual go-to-market efforts represent another benefit for both the developer and the partner.
Plus, the faster the app reaches the market — and the more awareness that’s raised around its release — the more impactful are the benefits of end customers.
Take this example of a win/win/win scenario for instance:
The XYZ International Airport is in need of an app for flyers to be able to check-in early, manage flyer miles, and earn rewards. Up until now, there’s been no central location for flyers to complete all desired actions.
XYZ International Airport prepares a business proposal for the new app that needs to be developed. The marketing team knows exactly how to position the app in the minds of flyers.
XYZ International Airport commissions Appian to develop their app.
The development and go-to-market plan go smoothly because XYZ International Airport had all their ducks in a row beforehand. The app is tested and released for flyers to download.
This is a win for…
… Appian because the app was built on its low-code platform.
… XYZ International Airport because they quickly and accurately released a customized app to their customers.
… the flyers/customers because now they have a comprehensive and intuitive app to use while at the airport.
Mitigating risks for partners
In addition to speed and accuracy, Ben believes risk mitigation is a powerful differentiator for a developer — or any business — seeking a strategic alliance.
Through his experiences on both sides of the partnership, Ben has seen the value in reducing the risks of teaming up with another business. One way he mitigates perceived risk for Appian is by offering partners specific use cases that describe how Appian has succeeded in those particular spaces.
Although Appian can essentially build any type of app with unprecedented speed, it’s essential that they demonstrate how they’ve created specific products. Ben has found that specificity is much more powerful than telling a potential partner that you can “build anything.”
What we learned
If we boiled down this conversation to just three main takeaways, they’d be:
The main job in a strategic partnership is to enable the partner, whether that be with production speed, accuracy, or something else that’s important to them.
To achieve a win/win/win scenario, you need to have participants with skin in the game.
Do as much as you can to mitigate the risks of partnering with your organization.