How Customer Success Consultants Learn to Build in Appian
Meet Matt Berry, Manager, Technical Training Development
When I began learning about Appian during my job interview process, it made me wish I had this product throughout my ten years in the military.
It could’ve solved inefficiencies and many other everyday problems. On any given day, as a manager, I was logging into ten different systems to solve various problems and check on status issues, this consumed a lot of time. I realized the Appian platform could have transformed those systems into a one-stop shop and saved me so much time and frustration in my day to day.
I saw the vision of the Appian product and now as Manager of Training Development, I get to help others see this vision too. My CS Education team leads training for all technical employees, partners, and customers. When you join Appian in the Customer Success (CS) team, whether you’re based in the US, EMEA, Mexico, or anywhere around the globe, you’ll be part of an extensive training program in your first month.
Three onboarding steps for new Customer Success Consultants.
We have a company philosophy that every employee should be a great advocate of Appian and be able to speak to its impact. In your first three days at Appian, regardless of what team you’re on, you’ll see a product demo from one of our instructors. They go over the fundamentals, and the main product components.
All technical employees then go through 12 days of EmployeeAcademy, and CS employees receive an additional 5-day Bootcamp. In all, this process takes up to a month.
1. Employee Academy: Building your first Appian app
Every employee who will be hands-on building applications using Appian participates in Employee Academy for 12 days after orientation. This includes our Engineering, Solutions Engineering, Customer Success, and other departments.
Over the first seven days, you’ll learn everything about how the Appian platform works and have daily exercises to try it out. In the first week, you’re doing it piecemeal. The next step is doing it on your own with a real customer use case.
2. Project Week: Five-day agile sprint
The second half of the Academy is where you’ll build an application for a customer with your instructor as your coach.
It’s in an Agile sprint style so you’ll start the day by sharing with the team what you’ll get done, what problems you want to solve, and any barriers you’re facing. It’s not really learning anything new, but it’s the chance to try out everything you learned in the first week with a team and an advisor. It’s intense! If you ask anybody who’s been at Appian for a while and they’ll tell tales of their project experience.. They’ll also look at that first application they built and think it would be so easy to do today knowing what they know, but in your first few weeks, it’s a lot to learn!
In one training session, years ago, there was a software development manager in my class with 20 years of experience. During Project Week, he built an application that looked great and did everything it needed to and I asked him: how long would this have taken you if you had done it in Java or one of the other languages you were used to?
He said if he didn’t sleep, and worked all weekend, he could have done it in three months. With Appian, he was able to do it in a week. There were nine other students there, fresh out of college, who had also built a similar app during Project Week. Can you imagine the power of that? It was an incredible moment where all of us in the room were able to listen to the real impact of our Appian product.
3. CS Bootcamp: Solving customer problems
This program is for new CS team members and focuses on reinforcing delivery best practices and understanding our customers.
For any given technical problem, there are probably 5-8 ways to solve it through the Appian platform. You’ll tinker around and find everyone in the training will come up with a different variation of the solution. Then we take it to the next level and add in the constraints and scale our enterprise customers are at.
We find that, usually, all five solutions are going to work when it’s just you working in this tiny controlled environment. But now think of our customers who are running your processes 10,000 times a day at an enterprise scale, like at a big bank or government institution. It could be 10,000 people running 300,000 processes a day and you have to figure out how to do it with a solution that doesn't crash the system or slow them down. Out of the original 5 or 6 ideas that would have worked at a small scale, there’s likely only one solution that will meet the needs of a specific customer and it’s part of your job to discover what that path is going to be.
We take new employees through many customer use cases. We talk through questions like:
- How do you find the best solution for an enterprise company?
- How do you support customers who have processes that are changing as they scale?
- What questions do you ask customers to ensure you really understand the problem?
CS Education team: The spiderweb to Appian globally.
Our team on the CS Education side is interesting because we connect to everybody globally in some way. We lead training for new employees, partners, and customers across the globe and with our hubs in the US, the UK, Spain, Australia, and Mexico.
I like to think of us as the spiderweb that connects to everyone, helping educate our community about the impact of Appian and how it helps you solve problems.
As we’re building our CS team in Mexico City, all employees there will go through this training and we’re excited to have them on board to help us grow the CS team.
Join the CS team where the best idea wins.
When I joined Appian, I was coming out of a military environment where everything is about the status quo. You’re encouraged to not rock the boat and stick with the way it’s always been done. I had never heard anybody say the best idea wins, that was unheard of.
At Appian, if somebody has an idea that challenges the status quo, people stop, listen, and give them a chance to try it. If it works, then we establish a new way of doing things or open up a new role. We create opportunities for people to try and find better ways to do things across the board.
This was all new to me, but an environment I really appreciated. Now it’s one I’m happy to be part of and encouraging of on our team.
Joining the CS teams means being part of an environment where innovation and healthy debate are part of how we work.
Pavel Zamudio-Ramirez, our Chief Customer Officer & Senior Vice President said it best that Appian is “leading the movement to define the future of technology.”
Read more from Pavel about how you’ll see the impact of your work on the CS team.