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What Does It Take to be a Champ in Low-Code Software? Ask PCMag

Roland Alston, Appian
June 26, 2017

Low-code application development is a hot topic. And why not?

Low code helps IT teams:Be more strategic. Drive top line results. And multiply productivity.

Low code helps businesses:Build unique apps. Sustain success. And speed time-to-market.

With the rise of digital transformation, the low-code development market is exploding. And with so many vendors and offerings popping up, there has to be a better way to learn which to choose without just googling low-code app platforms, right?

Enter PCMag.

Last year, PCMag shared their thoughts about low-code. Is it a myth? Reality? Most certainly the latter. The editors ranked some low-code platforms, and shared video on how they all fared.

[Spoiler: Appian came out on top as the easiest to use low-code platform for creating Business Process Management (BPM) apps. (Read the article).]

This year, PCMag is at it again! And the champ? Once again, it's Appian, winning its second straightPCMag Editor's Choice award as the best low-code platform for 2017.

The award cements Appian's place as the top pick in a tough field of new and veteran low-code vendors. In this year's roundup, each of the low-code app platforms tested was graded from the perspective of both average business users and skilled app developers. Here's how PCMag described Appian's overall performance:


"Appian is one of the most mature and capable low-code platforms on the market for enterprise organizations that want average users and programmers alike to build business apps quickly and start using them right away..."


Quick Apps: A True No-Code Experience

In their overall assessment of Appian, PCMag rated the low-code platform as "Excellent" for multiplying the productivity of business users with zero coding experience. Editors also gave Appian Quick Apps the nod as a true no-code experience for business users and IT. Quick Apps also won praise as a user-friendly, primarily form-based low-code feature, with a full Designer that lets users map out all the data and objects in their app, with the drag-and-drop Appian Process Modeler. (Watch the video)

Reviewers noted that the no-hassle form-based app creation of Quick Apps combined with the user-friendly Tempo interface made Appian the top pick for enterprise teams looking for a mature, no-hassle platform to build and share business applications within a task and productivity-focused environment.

Yes, Appian is a back-to-back Editor's Choice champion, a feat that's hard to beat. But this low-code champ isn't taking their past success for granted. Nope, to say on top, Appian has gone all-in on improving speed and power for users and designers.

Here's a quick rundown of how Appian has stepped up its low-code game.

5 Ways Appian Stepped up its Low-Code Game

    • Modern UI Enhancements

    Appian's mission is to help every company be a software company. This can't happen without user adoption, which is why the latest release of Appian includes billboard layout, new rich text controls, new multi-column layout, multi-file upload, mobile push notifications, and more.

    • Discoverable Sites

    New navigation features and styling controls that offer easily configurable interfaces, which allows customers to quickly create business applications. And with the Discoverable Sites feature in Appian 17.2, users can easily navigate between all Sites, as well as Tempo, quickly and easily.

    • Microsoft Outlook 365 Integration

    Integration add-in for Microsoft Outlook in Office 365. This feature allows users to complete tasks from within Outlook email messages via web or desktop. The latest version of Appian can be integrated with Microsoft Outlook 365. This means tasks sent to Outlook 365 web and desktop inboxes may be completed directly from within the email itself. Forms filled outÖdrop downs selectedÖand the task completed without ever leaving the Outlook environment. For users, it means one less system to log into and faster completion of tasks.

    • Decision Designer

    A zero-code visual designer for decision table rules, based on the open DMN standard. This feature enables designers to build decision tables to help users make fast work of what can be complex business decisions.With the Decision Designer, customers now can design sophisticated decision rules in an efficient and intuitive interface; Model business decisions using standard DMN operators like less than, and get instant feedback to make sure the rule behaves as expected. And, Appian will automatically assist the designer by checking for rule completeness and overlapping rule logic.

    • Integration Designer

    What it is: New low-code designer for configuring reusable web API integrations.

    This feature increases the ease and speed of integration with external systems.

    What if integrations were easy? That's the vision behind the new Appian Integration Designer, a low-code environment for improving the ease and speed of integrating third-party data with Appian, in minutes.

The Low-Code Landscape

Low code is trending, but it isn't new. Back in 2014, Forrester coined the term "low code" in their "New Development Platforms Emerge for Customer-Facing Applications," which was followed up by two market reports in 2016: "The Forrester Wave: Low-Code Development Platforms, Q2 2016, and "Vendor Landscape: The Fractured, Fertile Terrain of Low-Code Application Platforms."

Forrester defines low code as: "Platforms that enable rapid delivery of business applications with a minimum of hand-coding and minimal upfront investment in setup, training, and deployment."

Broadly speaking, the best low-code platforms make it easier for developers to build complex process models, map database objects to user workflows, and customize UI design, without having to write code. Some platforms excel at providing an intuitive experience for business users. Others focus on meeting the expectations of skilled developers.

Appian excels at both.

Check out this video and see what I mean.


Roland Alston


Empower, build, launch and change faster than ever before with Appian's low-code application platform.