Skip to main content

Why I Joined the Appian Government Acquisitions Team - Sabrina Lemire

Sabrina Sabrina Lemire

Sabrina 2

Sabrina Lemire made a career transition from government to the tech industry last year by joining Appian as a Customer Success Manager.

She went from being an Appian customer as CIO at her Naval command to being the person supporting other customers on the Government Acquisition team through implementing Appian. Sabrina shared what was behind her career pivot, the impact she has seen with customers, and why Appian may be a good move for other candidates considering a career change.  

What sparked your career pivot from government to the tech industry? 

I’ve always been interested in everything process-oriented and driving efficiencies in the way we work through tools. My career journey in the government was always about incorporating processes and tools together, which led me to lead the organization where we implemented the Appian platform to address our wide scope of business process needs. I found myself increasingly passionate about driving business value and wanting to dive deeper into automation, and I was curious about what it was like working on the industry side. 

Without the bureaucracy and chains of approvals within the government, how is innovation driven more quickly? How could I contribute on the other side, helping the broader scope of government agencies to knock down some of those barriers? It was important for me to find an organization that was leading the way with automation and government acquisitions. From my experience as a customer of Appian and someone who has learned the complexities across the acquisition lifecycle, I knew the acquisition technology suite was innovative and that I would be around coworkers I could learn very quickly from who were extremely knowledgeable in this field.

What is your favorite part about working in Customer Success? 

I can empathize with customers because I’ve been in their position and know the hurdles of modernizing tools in the government. There’s so much I wish I had known when I was a customer starting to implement Appian. I love the repetition in my role now and seeing similar patterns and challenges with many customers where I can bring my expertise and show examples of what’s worked for others and how to avoid common pitfalls. 

I’ve been able to help Sales and Customer Success coworkers by giving them additional context of what our federal customers are going through. This includes things like how we portray our messaging, how it’s different for government customers, and setting expectations early on, as well as throughout the implementation stage.

Sabrina Lemire presenting at the Armed Forces Communications & Electronics Association International (AFCEA) West in 2023.

What’s an example of how you’ve seen innovation on the Government Acquisitions team?

In the public sector, there can be long lead times to meet security compliance requirements and achieve an Authority to Operate (ATO) to be able to use products like Appian with production users. It follows a standard Risk Management Framework (RMF) process where the team has to categorize their system based on what it will need to do, select and implement security controls, assess that they have appropriate controls in place, and ensure that continuous monitoring remains in place to maintain a robust security posture. Supporting our clients by sharing relevant artifacts and guiding them throughout the RMF Process to achieve their ATO is something that we apply to all of our DoD and Federal Civilian clients in order to accelerate them to live operations and value. It’s a complex process. 

We started asking questions about how our Customer Success team could better support customers with this challenge: 

  • What descriptions, diagrams, and data can we provide proactively to minimize duplicative efforts and reduce lead times?
  • What expertise is available to ensure full understanding of Appian software and security based on the client’s needs?
  • How can we collaborate within Appian to ensure that web of support understands various client needs and streamlines our internal processes?

From this research, we created resources and a playbook to describe our role in enabling the RMF process to implement Appian so that clients were no longer spending a lot of their time getting up to speed and navigating it themselves. It was an innovative solution because we saw it as one of the biggest barriers in order to help improve our customers’ experience and to get them to value more quickly. 

How did you see the impact of this work with customers?

We’ve started to see customers streamline their time to ATO which has helped them achieve the value Appian is intended for a lot quicker. I remember the feeling of mapping out a big business process map for implementing Appian as a customer and it was so overwhelming. Now, it’s absolutely fulfilling and exciting to be part of Appian, helping customers who are feeling that same sense of overwhelm. Helping these customers knock down complex barriers like the security and risk management process and making it easier for them, makes a big impact. 

The Appian Public Sector Success Management team at a meeting in November, 2023.

What advice would you give to candidates from a government background considering switching to the Appian Government Acquisitions team? 

If you’re working in government and join the Appian team, the industry perspective will be new for you, but it’s an exciting opportunity to be a subject matter expert helping many customers overcome similar challenges. For me, I’m glad it’s a valuable perspective that I get to contribute at Appian. 

Appian is leading the way in modernizing government acquisitions. If you’ve worked in the government, like me, you’ll know there’s an extreme need for modernization in the tools and manual aspects of processes. You can have so much impact at Appian by being able to help change the system. 

Read more about joining the growing Government Acquisitions team.


Written by

Sabrina Lemire

Sabrina Lemire is a Customer Success Manager at Appian