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Generate Interface Forms in Seconds with Appian AI Copilot

Dan O'Keefe, Appian
August 24, 2023

Ever since the release of ChatGPT, which showed the potential of generative artificial intelligence (AI), enterprises have raced to operationalize generative AI within their organizations. In fact, AI represents the primary challenge for nearly every organization today. You will either be good at AI or bad at business. 

Appian was quick on the AI draw. First, we released our OpenAI plug-in, followed up by the Appian AI Skill Designer, which automates human tasks and decisions using AI models trained securely in your own environment. 

Now, as part of the 23.3 release, we’re proud to launch AI Copilot, a design assistant in Appian's low-code development console. Now, you can use generative AI to accomplish tasks with record speed and accelerate the delivery of new applications in Appian.

The first capability we’re releasing as part of Appian AI Copilot is our PDF-to-Interface feature.

Build an application form in seconds.

With AI Copilot, building an interface directly from a PDF only takes a few clicks. All you need to get started is a PDF with blank form fields. This can be any time of form—from customer onboarding forms to financial forms to healthcare forms. 

Here’s how it works: 

  1. Upload a supported PDF for the interface you want to generate. The PDFs must either be searchable or fillable (including form fields for users to input text). Flattened PDFs are not supported.
  2. If you want, you can have it generate instructions for the form based on the contents of your PDF, so you don’t have to write individual directions to users. Watch as the form gets built automatically. 

This next step is crucial: once the form has been generated, you can review and modify as you see fit using Appian’s low-code design tools—as AI grows more prevalent, humans and AI must collaborate. For mission-critical applications, humans must be part of the equation to ensure the applications deliver value to meet business needs without adding risk. 

The PDF-to-Interface feature will offer immense value to businesses in a few ways:

  • It’s radically faster to create user interfaces. Simply upload a PDF and then you have something with strong usability and design in seconds. 

  • Your user base will keep coming back. When you release an application to solve a problem, generating enthusiasm with a well-designed user interface ensures your users are happy to adopt the new technology. 

You’ll boost efficiency. An easy-to-use interface allows employees to complete their work faster, rather than having to wrestle with the interface. Appian incorporates user experience (UX) design best practices with guardrails that ensure your interfaces instantly work across browsers and devices.

Finding real value in generative AI adoption.

With all the buzz about AI, specifically generative AI, organizations have been understandably quick to want to adopt the technology. People were impressed by the output of OpenAI’s ChatGPT (as well as other AI tools like Midjourney and Dall-E). In the face of this seismic shift in the nature of technology (and perhaps our entire world), organizational leaders across industries wanted to adopt the new tools or risk falling behind those that do.

But while AI is revolutionary, it’s also like any other technology. And organizations need to remember the real reason they apply any new tech, not just AI: to provide real value to the business. This means identifying critical use cases and applying AI in an intelligent and responsible manner. 

One of the first use cases people identified with OpenAI, for example, was the potential it had to speed up coding. Some even proclaimed that everyone would become a developer. This hasn’t happened—especially for non-trivial enterprise applications. AI can speed up development, but it can’t do everything. It takes both human expertise and a wider platform to responsibly create applications that deliver value to the business. 

Consider the above example. Creating a working interface requires you to understand a number of factors. First, you need to understand how to build the front-end code and any related frameworks you’re using. Second, you need to understand back-end coding and the languages involved—from transforming data to preparing it for databases or data warehouses. Third, you need to understand CSS to style it within your brand and allow it to appear correctly across browsers and devices. All of this must be done without breaking anything—and of course you’ll need to update it all when underlying databases change.

This is where a solid AI-powered process platform like Appian comes into play. You don’t have to worry about doing all of this. Generative AI can take a natural-language statement and turn it into an interface that works across browsers and devices. And you can easily tweak it in the low-code design studio. Plus, if you’re in a heavily regulated industry or region, you’ll have Appian’s many compliance certifications backing up your creation. 

Generative AI needs a strong platform to ensure that what’s created for an enterprise truly follows governance best practices—it’s a critical factor. Generative AI can absolutely speed things up, but when you combine it with the right platform, you solve problems faster and avoid common risks.

What's next?

Over the coming months, we will release new features as part of AI Copilot to help you further increase time to value on your projects. Some of these features include self-service analytics to build custom reports from natural language as well as generative AI for building out process models. You can visit our site to learn more about our vision for AI Copilot

Don’t miss seeing all our great new features, including AI Copilot, in the Appian 23.3 webinar replay.