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How Appian's Low-Code Software Works for Customers

By Jeremy Bowman and Nicholas Rossolillo – Oct 26, 2021 at 1:35PM

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This is why low-code is so valuable to so many companies.

Customer relationships are important in any industry, but they are especially crucial in software, where companies often count on recurring revenue from a relatively small number of customers.

Appian (APPN 5.13%) has an impressive track record of delivering results for customers and has 99% customer retention over the last four quarters, a testament to the strength of its customer relationships. In this segment from "Beat & Raise," recorded on Oct. 8, Motley Fool contributors Jeremy Bowman and Nicholas Rossilillo discuss what Appian is doing to earn high marks with customers.

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Nicholas Rossolillo: This is a little chart that they put together explaining what it does. Basically just speeds up the process of app development. Typically, if you're starting with point A, you go to point B, and then you get your end product. Low-code just cuts out point B, so quicker time to development. They have basically this cloud-based library of pre-built, pre-made tools. Let's say you want to, maybe just a very basic illustration here, you want to embed communications like chat inside of an app. You grab the chatbot tool out of Appian's library and drop it into the app that you're working on -- done. You don't have to rewrite all that code that would normally be required if you're going to build your own chatbot.

[Appian CEO] Matt Calkins -- Jeremy, I know you're going to talk about this, so I'll keep this brief here -- he talked on the presentation about there's this convergence, though, about their low-code platform where they started, where they got to start almost two decades ago with some adjacent industries with an IT [information technology], AI [artificial intelligence], process automation, robotic process automation -- RPA. We'll talk about that a little bit later as well. All of these things have converged and they are important movements, they are growing movements, that businesses, specifically big enterprises, need to tap into to get their work done.

And Appian is building out this one-stop shop, this unified platform, where a developer can grab all these different tools in the toolkit to build what they need. We're talking here not necessarily just like customer-facing app that you might download out of the app store that has some basic functionality info on the company that you're interacting with. A lot of this stuff is behind the scenes, really complex applications and processes that Appian is helping businesses grow. Think supply chain management, some software that is governing a company's supply chain or distribution customer data; helping manage some really big behind-the-scenes processes and helping make them more efficient.

Jeremy Bowman: I think it's hard to appreciate some of what these companies are doing with technology. I mean, there's so many nuances. When you get into the different Appian customers, they had an interview with Aon and which is a big reinsurance company and the representative from there was just talking about how they use Appian technology for claims processing and it's sped up that process. I think some of the slides Nick just showed us really show low-code is about giving companies speed and efficiency and agility. That's almost universally applicable. I think later we'll get to a slide that shows how broad Appian's customer base is.

I wanted to add on to the point that you made: One of the things you come across in software, too, is the shortage of engineers. That's a good thing for software companies in general because it limits competition, especially from companies, or would-be customers, who might try to provide these IT solutions in-house. It's especially a good thing for Appian because when your market is low-code solutions, you're competing with traditional coding. If there isn't anybody around to do that coding, you're a pretty good option.

Nicholas Rossolillo has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Appian. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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