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Unlocking the Power of Appian: A Partner's Guide to Financial Services Success

Vanna Maggi, Partner Programs Content and Communications
December 4, 2023

The financial services sector is constantly changing, faced with evolving customer expectations, regulatory pressures, and the need to maintain operational efficiency. 

The Appian Partner team recently hosted episode 2 of Best Practices, a new webinar series dedicated to partners. In this episode, our knowledgeable guests, Guy Metrick, Appian Industry Vice President, Finance, and Jay Cherrie, Appian Global Industry Lead, Finance, explore the significant trends and challenges faced by financial institutions today, highlighting the vital role of technology in addressing these issues.

Top 5 financial services trends.

Guy Metrick began the conversation by addressing the key trends he's observed in discussions with customers, partners, and analysts. Historically, financial organizations aim to enhance revenue growth, improve customer engagement, and manage customer interactions more effectively. He noted that a consistent focus has always been on controlling costs, even as organizations grow. 

1. Revenue Growth and Customer Engagement

Enhancing revenue growth and improving customer engagement remain paramount for financial institutions. The ability to interact effectively with customers is crucial in achieving these goals.

2. Cost Management

As institutions expand, they aim to avoid proportional cost increases. Efficient cost management is essential for sustaining growth and profitability.

3. Compliance and Risk Management

In an increasingly complex regulatory landscape, institutions focus on compliance and risk management, especially concerning financial crime and Know Your Customer (KYC) processes.

4. Resiliency

The recent push by regulators for organizational and operational resiliency, exemplified by stress testing, is a critical focus. Resiliency planning has gained prominence, driven by the events of the COVID-19 pandemic that exposed the need for organizations to withstand crises and operate in dispersed, outsourced settings.

5. Employee Experience

There's a growing emphasis on enhancing the employee experience to make employees more effective and improve their role value.

The role of technology and how Appian can help.

Jay Cherrie, as a former CTO, emphasized that technology is at the heart of addressing these challenges. With the industry experiencing fragmentation, partly due to multiple payment systems and methods, institutions are grappling with data management challenges and integrating their multiple systems. Cherrie outlined several key technology-driven solutions:

Integration and Orchestration

Technology, specifically platforms like Appian, can help financial institutions orchestrate complex business processes more efficiently. Partners can illustrate how Appian enables customization and orchestration, providing an effective layer on top of existing systems. This approach is especially valuable for institutions with aging core banking systems or those integrating new payment systems without large-scale, costly disruptions.

Data Management

With a multitude of systems generating data (to support payment operations, for example), Appian’s data fabric can be put to good use. A data fabric can integrate data from various sources, creating a unified database for streamlined workflows.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI is an essential element in addressing financial challenges, speeding up application development, and handling tasks such as contract interpretation and draft generation.


Appian's low-code development capabilities enable rapid solutions without excessive ongoing maintenance costs. 

Speed and Efficiency

Appian technology helps financial institutions respond quickly to regulatory changes and market shifts while maintaining cost-efficiency. It offers a solution to rapidly address these challenges and become more agile in a highly competitive environment.

Top 3 Appian use cases.

Guy Metrick highlighted the primary areas where Appian's capabilities align with the needs of financial institutions. He emphasized that Appian's influence is particularly felt in three key areas:

1. Managing Customer Journey and Regulatory Elements

For financial institutions, ensuring efficient, transparent customer interactions and robust regulatory compliance is paramount to serving those customers throughout the lifetime of the relationship. Appian excels in managing various customer journeys, from retail to corporate, SME, and even institutional. It ensures that onboarding processes are not only effective but also transparent and consistent. Appian plays a crucial role in managing customer queries, investigations, and the intricate aspects of regulatory requirements, such as Know Your Customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) processes.

2. Middle- and Back-Office Process Optimization

The complexities of managing point solutions within a financial institution's architecture that sit within operations and middle- and back-offices can pose challenges. Appian addresses these complexities by unifying data and processes, creating an integrated approach to managing operations efficiently in an end-to-end process with embedded risk control and auditability. By providing visibility into these processes, Appian helps enforce service-level agreements (SLAs), prevents work from being overlooked, and allows root analysis and remediation moving forward along the workflow. The result is more efficient, risk-resilient operations.

3. Governance, Risk, and Compliance

Governance, risk, and compliance functions have expanded significantly in response to regulatory requirements. These functions face challenges similar to other lines of business, including complex systems and manual processes. Appian's process automation platform effectively surfaces data, manages processes to an agreed set of standards, incorporates risk controls, and ensures compliance with regulatory requirements, making it ideal for financial institutions operating in highly regulated environments.

“Within very regulated industries such as financial services. It's not just enough to make systems processes very efficient, you have to be able to ensure that they are manageable, governable and auditable as well,” says Guy Metrick. 

Navigating a crowded market.

In an increasingly crowded marketplace, financial institutions often struggle to differentiate among various technology vendors. This challenge makes it vital for Partners to communicate what truly sets them and Appian apart. So what tangible benefits can Appian bring to an organization? 

Jay Cherrie highlighted several key differentiators that make Appian unique in the financial services sector:

1. Data Fabric and Process Automation

One of the most significant strengths of Appian is its ability to gather data from various sources and enable a streamlined process. For instance, when onboarding a new customer, this seemingly simple process can involve multiple systems and departments. Appian's data fabric simplifies the flow of data, making it accessible for various departments, ensuring a smoother and more transparent onboarding process.

2. A Low-Code Approach

Appian's low-code platform is not just for departmental citizen development but is designed to rapidly develop enterprise process automation. This approach empowers organizations to not only speed up their initial development but also efficiently address future requirements, which can change as business needs evolve.

3. Investment in Engineering and AI

Private AI is a manifest of Appian’s investments in engineering, recommending that organizations use their own data storage and language models. This approach ensures data privacy and security. The ongoing investment in AI means that Appian's solutions will not only help rapidly develop applications but also seamlessly incorporate AI into business processes, making it a significant differentiator in the market.

4. Agility and Scalability

Appian's unique capabilities enable organizations to overlay their existing systems, augment their core systems without extensive modifications, and quickly address operational efficiency challenges. This agility ensures that organizations can respond to new regulatory demands, market fluctuations, and customer needs without being burdened by expensive maintenance costs.

“Data Fabric, low code process automation, the artificial intelligence that all ends up being a speedy and cost-efficient way for business to get ahead of the competition. If any partner brings that kind of thing into a customer, I think they are going to stand above other partners who may not be recommending that kind of solution set,” says Jay Cherrie. 

Appian's unique edge in the financial services industry is derived from its ability to streamline complex processes, offer transparency, support rapid development, and ensure data privacy. Its focus on adaptability and scalable solutions positions Appian as a vital technology in navigating the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in the financial sector. At the same time, this technology, when harnessed by expert partners, empowers financial institutions to modernize, operate efficiently, and excel in a dynamic and competitive landscape. Let's work together to uncover and capitalize on the numerous opportunities within this rapidly evolving market and deliver outstanding customer experiences. 

Watch Best Practices in Financial Services by the Appian Partner team to explore real-life customer stories.