Prototyping using Appian to improve customer experience
September 21, 2017

Prototyping using Appian to improve customer experience

Lynley Johnston | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with Appian

Appian updates happen automatically and regularly (about every two months or so). We are informed when updates are coming to understand the timing, and in our short timeframe (about 6 months) we have had no issues with functionality breaking.
Usability can refer to a number of different things.

From a customer's perspective, using the product to set up their profile and complete the service requests is easy and straightforward.

From a provider's perspective, we would like to have had a chance to try out the low code drag and drop capabilities to create our own business processes and forms, but relied instead on the Appian developers (who were awesome) to build our prototype.

Maintaining users and cleaning up data in the prototype is very easy, which has made having a clean system to demonstrate to people has been very simple.
We used Appian to build a prototype. The prototype focuses on a subset of the hospitality sector (namely, setting up a cafe). It pulls information through from the New Zealand Business Number register about the business to create a profile for the business entity, and uses this information as part of the service request for that business customer to apply for their alcohol and food licenses for their cafe. Currently the process for applying for food and alcohol licenses is lengthy (usually a paper form of around 11 pages often completed by hand, plus a bunch of documents to attach to the application). We re-use information that has been supplied in previous applications to pre-populate the new service request, saving the business customer tons of time.

We wanted to support business customers when they need to get permits or licences to run their business by enabling them to use and re-use information and data that government holds, making requests for permits and licences easier and more efficient, by joining up services and sharing information that spans multiple government organisations, including local bodies.
  • The team we had to build the prototype (including the consultants from Appian) was fantastic. We implemented the prototype in three short Agile sprints (6 weeks in total), and the resulting prototype was high quality with lots of functionality of excellent quality.
  • Because Appian is a product suite, all the components worked seamlessly together - we had no issues with integration and could focus on the experience for the business customer, the concepts to prove and the problems we were there to solve.
  • We had such a short timeframe for implementing the prototype that we did not get an opportunity to explore the drag and drop business process modelling functionality - this is available in the Appian product, and would enable low code development, but I can't really comment on how good it is.
  • Our objective to reduce customer effort when dealing with government by 25% was exceeded. In the process of applying for an alcohol licence renewal alone, we saw approximately 80% reduction in time and effort for the business customer - and that was just a prototype! Imagine the possibilities when this is taken into a live environment!
We went through a light-touch Request for Proposal process, explaining the problem we were trying to fix and giving lots of examples of the current process and pain points. Appian was one of 10 respondents but stood out as having all of the components that would make putting the customer first, sharing information across multiple government agencies, workflow, low code and speed to build a working prototype that would work on multiple devices (pc, mobile, table) out of the box.

Appian understood the problem we were trying to fix, and their response answered the majority of our concerns about how to solve the problems for the business customer by using and re-using information.

Other providers could do some parts of the functionality needed, or offered to build the prototype from scratch, or couldn't meet our timeframes (due to length of delivery or lack of resources). Some of the respondents missed the point entirely and simply did not meet the requirements we set.

Another factor was the cost estimate presented by the respondents - Appian was not the cheapest, but they were definitely not wildly expensive (unlike a couple of other respondents)!
We chose a complex process to prototype, which included needing to use service request management, send notifications, generate a PDF of the information captured in the online form and package it up along with the myriad of documents that the business customer needed to send through as part of their application to get their licenses for the cafe. Appian handled this very well (though the document management we implemented was a bit clunky - this was more due to the short timeframe and could easily be improved with a bit of tweaking).

We focused on the customer at the centre of the process, rather than the receiving agency/local government of the application, and saw huge savings in customer effort (in the vicinity of 80% time saving!) and visibility for both the customer and the receiving agency/local government on where their application is at. The use of business rules to guide the customer through the process also resulted in better quality information and completeness of the application, which in turn would reduce effort and time for the receiving agency/local government when processing the applications.

We were able to use Appian to provide two low touch options for the receiving agency/local government - one which included an email template (using an Excel template) for them to update the status of the application and request further information (which then updated the system and sent notification back to the business customer); and another which enabled them to log into the prototype and process the work from a work list. Appian made these both easy and stuff just worked.