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“Computer Programming Should Be Comfortable For Business”


Matt Calkins founded Appian with four friends out of his basement. In 2007 it starred in a US stock market IPO with an external capital of only $10 million. In 2021, its revenue will be €346.6 million. He admits that he has been thinking about simplifying programming languages ​​for five years, that he has not abandoned his traditional role in this digital society and that there are board games – one of his hobbies – more than a screen. Things can be done

How to start a company that works in the basement of the house?

The original idea was to create a company that could influence a lot of people, with a big impact. We are consultants, we have no money and need to finance our business, but the dream is to create a website or a software product that can change the lives of many people.

Is this how ‘low-code’ happened?

It took us a long time to get it and we changed the development several times. We have to adapt. When we started no one heard of low-code, not even us. We didn’t even think about it this time. I remember the day I got this idea, the idea that you could draw something and convert that image into software. This is the kind of programming we can all do. And in the future we will need more software.

It’s about making things simple…

yes. Also, if machines are important to us, to humans, and if we want to better communicate with them, that’s a good way to do it. I’m always looking for ways to make things easier. I am actually an economist, not a technologist. I feel that being able to easily communicate with a machine will have a huge impact on the way people work.

Could this difficult communication with machines be the root of many problems?

Since the invention of computers, we have wanted to communicate with them. But it’s very difficult, especially in the beginning, when computers can only understand their language of switches and punch cards and more complicated things. Over time, we make it easier and easier. We’ve come a long way since the 90s. I remember back then that people thought this new way of programming was very intuitive. We want to go far.

What is the goal of minimal code?

Low-code or low-code is not intended to help people with the most sophisticated needs. We started there, but that is not the whole purpose of our industry. We want to democratize development and let everyone who wants to be a developer and let them communicate and collaborate with machines. The more we simplify our technology, the more successful we will be.

Is the ‘low-code’ applicable for all types of companies or only for the largest companies?

It used to be aimed at large companies, but now it is also for medium-sized companies. We have been working on this idea for 15 years and in that time we have made it easier. Now we want to popularize it with the Lowcode4all motto. We want to make this technology easy to access.

Now the programmers should be more on top of the business?

We make programming very easy. So a business person can understand what’s going on in a program and tell us if it’s wrong. They used to have such different skill sets – business savvy and performance savvy – that it was difficult for them to be on the same level. Making program development work smoothly allows companies to understand this. This is a great way to bring groups together. And then of course some people who may not have been programmers before.

What is the last step in simplifying ‘software’?

We put together an end-to-end suite of processes to integrate the building process and mining process with workflows and automation into a single product. Thus we can facilitate the use of these three processes at the same time. We designed a more powerful response not only for organizations that want the best response to digital transformation. We also make it easy for the people. It is now possible to access them together and use them as a single entity. With this, we open this industry to many participants. The amount of usage of our tools has skyrocketed and it is because of the ease of use. Let’s just say this suite combines power and convenience.

What do companies need to be more efficient?

Now they have more data than knowledge. There are many data, but they are not understood. In order for an organization to be more efficient, it needs to understand what is going on within its own walls. where are we? Where are we spending too much money? Where do we spend most of our time? They just need to understand the truth of their system and once they know that, it’s easy to know where to work, that’s the key.

Can you provide any data?

98% of our customers stay with us year after year because they exceed expectations. We want digital transformation to be agile, for projects to work. That’s the key, take things easy.

There are many of these digital transformation processes that fail because they don’t want to leave behind old structures or legacy systems. How to solve the problem?

I believe that the main reason digital transformation fails is because there are so many moving parts and product interfaces from different companies… We want these systems to understand each other, but that’s not the case. always possible. and the processes must be smooth, integrated.

What are your forecasts for this year?

This is going to be the best year in the company’s history because we’re rebuilding our industry by integrating this suite that I talked about before. I think this is a turning point in our industry. Workflow and process mining automation will be one of the future and we have shown that it is possible. I think now the whole industry should follow this model. Ultimately, I think Appian is poised for massive growth as a company.

Is the pandemic good enough to drive digital transformation?

Perhaps the end of the pandemic is a good thing for the development of technology and its processing. I think it shows people how important it is to react to external events and keep up with them. When it comes to working remotely, I find it’s easier to be creative and innovative when we’re working in the same room as other people. I’m glad we can work together again.

In his free time he enjoys board games…

Right, I like the tactile element and because I like the fact of bringing people closer around a table. You can also show more on the board than on the screen, so it gives more possibilities.





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