Appian’s 4Q12 Results and Trends that should Matter

I’m a keen watcher of Appian.

As one of the last pure play BPM vendors and an early innovator, their financial results could be indicative of the bigger trends in the industry. I’ve blogged before my pleasure at their success and my frustration with their lack of transparency.

Their 4Q12 headlines are all pointing in the right direction:

  • Q4 was a record performance and 2012 was a record year
  • Total Q4 orders for 2012 doubled from Q4 orders for 2011 and grew more than 40% over Q3
  • In 2012, Appian achieved record highs in terms of total orders, total revenues, license orders and license revenues
  • 2012 was a year of 98 new customers — 1/3 of which opted for a cloud deployment
  • Opening new offices in Paris, Melbourne and Singapore

All stellar growth, all relative numbers so there is no real way to figure out how well they are actually doing in absolute terms.

Some questions that would interest me:

  • The significant uptick in Cloud deployments is an predictable trend but without knowing the absolute number of customers, its a number without context. It’s not the directionality of this trend but its acceleration that’s interesting.

Are cloud and on-premises licenses a like-for-like comparison. The results make it sound that way but I would have expected smaller average order size on the cloud orders …

  • What does their churn look like? How much of this software is shelfware and how much is supported by successful implementations?

  • How many customers (or even what percentage) are using Appian’s highly-innovative mobile offerings as part of their solution? Or, put differently, how much of the mobile solution is driving thought-leadership but not results?

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