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Taking the Appian Way to process efficiency

Malcolm Ross, Senior Vice President, Product Strategy, Appian
December 20, 2012

Organizations face a growing challenge in the need to integrate technological systems and align them with overarching corporate needs. As businesses consider the best way to achieve these goals, the Roman Empire could serve as the guide.

As the Romans used roads to unify economic and military efforts over a large empire, organizations can use business process management software to integrate technological systems to improve processes.

Looking at Rome as a model for businesses

The Via Appia, commonly referred to as the Appian Way, was one of the most famous and noteworthy roads in the Roman Empire. The saying "All roads lead to Rome," has been remembered through history because the empire was built on its systems of roads. By building roads in every region that it conquered, the Roman Empire allowed trade to flourish in areas where technology and transportation were extremely limited. In some areas, especially during certain periods of the empire, this led to prosperity not only for Rome, but for the conquered groups.

During other periods, the focus of the road system was its ability to enable Roman leaders to distribute military units quickly and intelligently. This allowed Rome to expand and sustain its empire in even some of the most tumultuous regions, because the roads functioned as a central nervous system, enabling communication and logistical simplicity.

If Rome had not prioritized roads like the Via Appia, deer tracks, small paths through woods, rivers and other transit methods would have been needed to support expansion and economic stability. While it may have been possible to get by with those means of operations, it would have been incredibly complex, and slowed progress throughout the entire empire.

Businesses face a similar scenario. Business processes drive success, but technology often functions as the roads upon which workers transport data and applications that allow them to complete processes efficiently. However, the rise of cloud computing, mobile devices and social technologies present a system similar to rivers, paths and tracks. There are many ways to get to the desired process destination, but they need to be unified and optimized for maximum efficiency. BPM software can accomplish this by unifying various technological solutions and presenting data to end users in the most intuitive way possible.

As companies consider BPM investments, they may want to take a serious look at the Appian way of getting the job done. With tools like Worksocial, Appian is able to provide organizations with a holistic BPM solution that allows them to streamline processes and deliver major performance benefits to end users.

Malcolm Ross

Vice President of Product Marketing