Highlight Report

Appian acquisition of Lana Labs establishes process mining as a table stake for automation platforms

October 20, 2021

The Bottom Line: Mining-to-BPM integration holds promise for the enterprise.

Automation platform Appian’s acquisition and integration of process-mining firm Lana Labs is intended to enable enterprises to build their processes faster with less risk of error.

We expect low-code, cloud-native Appian to wrap Lana’s process mining capabilities in the one-price business model it announced in April. Kryon recently announced a free entry-level tool—indicating the increasing commoditization of process mining. Appian’s acquisition is more evidence of process mining becoming a must-have capability for automation platforms.

The integration of process mining—intended to be complete in January 2022—means Appian will offer a discover-design-automate solution at a simplified all-in-one price. Bringing discovery capabilities into the same environment as Appian’s established Process Modeler offers the opportunity to reduce the steps between process discovery and process solution delivery, and in doing so, the opportunity for faster, less error-prone builds versus switching between platforms.

In Lana Labs, Appian can offer a proven tool in manufacturing and logistics

Appian, reporting 44% growth in cloud subscriptions, has learned growing inorganically through M&A can benefit its products by addressing gaps versus customer needs. It acquired and integrated Jidoka RPA after buying it with developer Novayre in January 2020.

LANA Labs had a creditable showing in September 2020’s HFS Research Top 10 Process Intelligence Products report; in the report, we noted its intent to launch Lana Connect, a no-code data integration platform. Like the Appian low-code architecture, the Lana platform’s product architecture is modern, container-based, and portable between AWS Cloud and customer-managed environments

The LANA Labs solution is a proven tool in the manufacturing and logistics industries, applying machine learning to automatically detect process problems such as bottlenecks and deviations based on patterns in process data. Executives dealing with supply chain issues can benefit from Lana Labs’ deep experience working with complex industry-specific processes. Clients have typically benefited from Lana’s domain expertise as well as its process mining offerings.

Community offers rapid response to the automation skills gap

Beyond the integration of process discovery, Appian is responding to the automation skills gap currently hampering many enterprise development programs by ramping up its focus on its 47,000-strong developer community.

The McLean, Virginia-headquartered business has added new features to its Appian Community Environment (ACE) to guide developers through their learning. One global banking client reported having to scale its training program in response to global automation skills shortages. The client found that using the ACE platform, it could take graduates from scratch to being fully productive Appian users within three months.

Appian has also made data performance improvements to enable enterprises to build applications faster. Its data sync function can now synchronize 1,000,000 rows of data versus the 500,000 it handled before, enabling the enterprise to relate and transform more data without slowing performance.

And it added a low-code approach to establishing one-to-many, many-to-one, and one-to-one relationships in data. It comes with a new data preview function to enable application builders to check they are setting up the appropriate relationship type for each case.

Takeaways

For enterprise clients, the easier the points of integration between Appian’s automation, business process management, and process intelligence tooling, the better, and thus the Lana acquisition holds promising potential. Appian’s integration track record is good; RPA is also happily part of its suite, also through M&A.

But process mining has become table stakes for any vendor that wants to play in the world of automation platforms. It would prove hard to charge extra for. And since it was only in April of this year that Appian committed to an all-you-can-eat subscription model focused on convenience for the customer, we expect the philosophy to hold true going forward.

In April, Appian told HFS Research that the pricing plan aligned with its belief that artificial intelligence (AI), workflow, and RPA were synergistic, arguing that they work best when they work together. We think adding process mining can only strengthen that argument.

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