Appian Reviews | Glassdoor

Appian Reviews

Updated August 10, 2018
149 reviews

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3.4
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Appian President and CEO Matt Calkins
Matt Calkins
120 Ratings

149 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • "Work-life balance is sadly rare in the tech space" (in 10 reviews)

  • "Great product that keeps getting better" (in 12 reviews)

Cons
  • "It did seem like many of the full-time employees were under pressure to put in long hours, but this obviously wasn't an issue as an intern" (in 7 reviews)

  • "Upper management is a closed group" (in 4 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Fantastic Experience"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Business Development Representative
    Current Employee - Business Development Representative
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Great culture, bright employees, engaging workforce, unlimited opportunities

    Cons

    Not many to speak of. N/a


  2. Helpful (9)

    "Patience, my friends."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Reston, VA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Reston, VA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Appian full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    I've been with the company for a little over three years, and it's been exciting from day one.

    + Rapid growth
    + Invested leadership
    + Improvements on improvements
    + Ongoing training and support from management
    + Upward growth opportunities

    I suggest taking all of the negative reviews with a grain of salt. Similar to Yelp, people tend to go to review sites to 'vent.' After reading some of the unhappy reviews, I wanted to chime in as to why I've been so happy here and remain engaged.

    We are a rapidly growing organization, and with that comes growing pains. Find me a company who isn't going through them... I'll wait.

    If you enjoy a fast pace environment, you'll enjoy Appian. If you're never satisfied with the status quo, you'll enjoy Appian. If you want to have the ability to make a lasting footprint within an organization, you'll enjoy Appian. If you're willing and motivated to go the extra mile, you'll enjoy Appian.

    If you put in the work, you WILL get awarded. During every company quarterly meeting, I watch colleagues get awarded MVP and Nexus Awards. The MVP Award is given to someone on your team (nominated by their peers), and the Nexus Award is when you nominate someone from another team -- a person who has played a part in helping YOUR team to be successful. Teamwork makes the dream work! Don't let me forget the Pillar Award, an award where leadership votes to extend recognition to an employee who has made a substantial contribution to the culture and the company. To see a co-worker get sent on an all expenses paid trip to Europe (his dream)... the best! It's reassuring to see fellow friends get recognized, and it's ever more awesome have the chance to nominate others to get recognized for activities that other departments may not know about.

    Cons

    One con that I've read and would agree with is there could be an improvement with Benefits. It's becoming more and more competitive in the space.

    Appian Response

    Jun 25, 2018 – CTO and Co-Founder

    Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback. I think my long-time readers know that we don't dismiss negative reviews out-of-hand; we try to look past the anger and hyperbole to consider the... More

  3. Helpful (12)

    "Sales culture is toxic and micromanaged"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Account Executive in Reston, VA
    Current Employee - Account Executive in Reston, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Appian full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    It's an up and coming company, possibly on the cusp of really explosive growth.
    Direct teammates are helpful and fun.
    Direct management tries to run interference because they can see how the culture change is killing the staff.
    It's a cool product that does a really neat thing.

    Cons

    Since the update of sales management at the beginning of the year, the culture has changed significantly. There is a high degree of micro management that is clearly more concerned with AE's checking the box on process instead of AE's focusing on radiation. It appears counterintuitive to new management that forcing AE's to do power dialing hours, do multiple types of QBRs in various levels across the quarter, and sending lots of daily email updates actually doesn't help AE's focus on doing what they were hired to do. Instead, it slows AEs down and has everyone feeling burnt out at the best and in constant fear for their jobs at the worst.

    They also don't give pay raises, so negotiate well. It appears there is anywhere from a $10-$15K gap in pay between AEs.

    You will either knock your target out of the park, or you will be scraping by for 1.5-2 years to bring in a new logo. Sales operations will tell you the average sale s cycle is 6-9 months, but they don't separate that out into industries or new vs existing logos. 6-9 months seems to be right for established logos in established industries.

    Advice to Management

    Perhaps it is intentional, as it is starting to feel that way, but all the micromanagement and management by fear culture that's been increased this year feels a lot like Appian's powers that be feel they hired the wrong people, they don't trust their staff, or they are just looking for reasons to fire people to reduce staff.

    The problem is if you want good sales people who can handle an incredibly complex sales cycle, you need to be willing to hire people who have left this kind of micromanagement behind in their entry level days.


  4. Helpful (2)

    "Abusive Sales Environment with Bullying Corporate Leadership"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Vice President Federal Sales in Reston, VA
    Current Employee - Vice President Federal Sales in Reston, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Appian full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    A good place for an initial resume entry out of school as an engineer. Learn and then get out. The perks are for rookies unless you are into branded swag and paid breakfast. Young social crowd but only slightly internally philanthropic.

    Cons

    Too many to list - Founders, Execs, Services, Sales, Benefits, and HR are all well below par and at worst are dysfunctional and operate through fear, abuse, and in some cases illegal practice. Do not be fooled, despite the facade this company is a grand con game that has fooled industry and ripped off customers for decades.

    Founders – Despite coming off as transparent, available, and focused on the product, this rhetoric is driven by the need to raise share price. They literally do operate in the ivory tower. They never respond to internal emails from anyone but direct reports, even when they direct or invite staff to share ideas. They are narcissistic want-to-be billionaires. Their promises of nothing changing due to the 2017 IPO was all smoke and everything did change. They do rely and delegate to their senior execs, but these same execs are horrible bosses, tyrants, or useless fixtures that are hang-ons from the early days of the company.

    Execs – the landscape of the executives is defined by the existence of the staff. So, if you are an engineer, you are a cool kid and will get the most positive executive experience. If you are in marketing or HR then you live in la-la land with unicorns and fairies, nothing can go wrong. If you are in services then you are a slave in a dying revenue stream. If you are in sales then you are expendable. My experience was in both services, then sales. I saw the best executives leave from Services because of unrealistic expectations placed on them from corporate. Sales, on the other hand, is a complete catastrophe. The Global Sales Leads are indeed the tyrants others have referred to and for some reason everyone around them believe that everything they say is right, and it is not. When they are right, they are bullies and when they are wrong they are delusional, refusing to even hear alternative business cases. This impacts others up and down the chain who feel they have to practice a knee-jerk reaction management style. As a result, people either leave or are fired all the time, even executives.

    Sales – my closest experience to sales was with the Federal Sales team. The leads and group are completely dysfunctional. This is mainly due to the fact that the leads are yes men for the tyrants and have no strategic sense whatsoever. The Federal Sales execs rule through fear and in the first 18 months I was there, 11 staff from account executives to industry executives/VPs were either fired or left as a direct result of execs. That is an abysmal record but corporate turns a blind eye from dealing with the real problem. Additionally, they rarely fire folks themselves and will have someone else do the dirty work. They are disconnected from the sales team due to disruptive personal schedules, yet insist on being involved from a micromanagement perspective. Account Executives' progress is constantly disrupted in having to repeat reports that they have already presented to execs who don[t listen or are distracted, with very little tact in customer relationships. Basically Account Executives' lives and jobs are miserable. There is an abusive work atmosphere and profane language is regularly used. Execs insist staff work in the office but they are rarely there themselves. They define the term “bad bosses” and in some cases operated illegally with abusive behavior and the toxic atmosphere created. Countless careers have suffered due to their own deficiencies and somehow escape the fate that they so fondly use on others to get their way.

    You know those folks that can’t look you in the eye when they speak to you? Not the type that divert eye contact to think or because they are shy, but the ones who uncomfortably just can’t look people in the eye when they talk? Well, don’t trust those people ever. One of those is the Federal Industry Lead, who like all the other narcissists at Appian, is a really bad boss. He is never available and perfects the facade of being an expert in the Federal industry when he is really just a former integration PM (from an integrator, not from Appian) with a few big implementations under his belt, one of which was Appian. His contacts don’t matter in winning new business and his demeaning tone and manner in which he speaks is embarrassingly condescending and uncomfortable. For some reason potential customers listen to him and don’t realize how really insulting he is to their knowledge and capability. There is a reason he has no direct reports.

    Human Resources – in all of this the HR team is completely hypocritical. Terminations come out of nowhere with no reason or justification. If you look up what the worst case scenario is for “at-will” employment, the source will tell you to refer to Appian. They honestly do not care about employees as human beings, bottom line. If some tyrant or nitwit decides they don’t like someone, that person is gone the next day. There is never good news from HR and if you see an HR executive, you minutes are numbered. You are summarily treated like a criminal and literally escorted out the door. I saw one senior person terminated for no reason and forced to leave everything behind, even personal artifacts that were never recovered. At Appian there is no such thing as a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP), particularly in sales. You are simply cut loose and forced to sign non-disclosures. They even try to get you to "resign" so that they don't have to pay unemployment insurance.

    Advice to Management

    Get your heads out of the sand. Do what is right, not what is right now. Don't bother replying to serious reviews with marketing dweeb rhetoric.


  5. Helpful (4)

    "Misery for Sales Talent"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Account Executive
    Former Employee - Account Executive
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Appian full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Good product. Engineering is talented. HQ in Reston is nice. Appian World conference has stepped up its game over the years.

    Cons

    Overwhelming majority of sales reps fail miserably. Zero sales for the year is very common. Only a few of the 100+ reps hit quota or even come close. Most of these have a territory of install accounts, which is the only path to real revenue. Appian Sales management has zero strategy for breaking into new logos. Sales Engineering has no appetite or capacity to appropriately resource the “land” deals that will ultimately “expand”. Believe the reviews re Nepotism and Loyalty - the SVP only surrounds himself with those who will kiss the ring and the sales management org is full of family friends. Everyone else will be verbally abused in front of their peers during QBRs. Between QBRs, an extraordinary amount of effort takes place to avoid SVP tantrums and knee jerk reactions that destroy deals and morale. Appian co-founders don’t understand sales, and even struggle with normal human interaction. Some are better / worse than others, but none know or appreciate real sales talent.

    Advice to Management

    None - management doesn’t listen to advice


  6. Helpful (9)

    "Cultish organization. Toxic culture. Possibly fake reviews"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Herndon, VA
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Herndon, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Appian full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    The base pay is pretty high for the area and the recruitment process is smooth. The technology stack is pretty good too. If you're in the market to learn a tool and look for consultant gigs, particularly in the northeast, you will be a master-at-appian in some quick time.

    Cons

    This company is a total mixed-bag. In the end, the bad outweighed the good for me.

    My main problem with Appian is that people love to think how great they are in comparison with other enterprises. I worked in enough organizations to know that every one of them had their weaknesses. The best companies are the ones that are humble enough and are aware of them. However, as noted in other reviews, its a young workforce here with people who've drank the kool-aid so to speak. People will tell you how great their system is, or how fool-proof their methodologies are, but if you ask them how to do something they haven't thought about, or, consider another point of view of looking at a scenario, they would not understand the question and/or struggle to work their way to a solution, or plain resistant to comply. You hear words thrown about such as 'influence'. Most places that I worked for in the past want to convey the same thought, but they would rather use the word 'respect of their peers' or 'trust'. This subtlety affects the culture of the company in so many tangible ways. Someone actually told me how you '.. have to wait a year to be invited to the cool table'. To me, this is particularly telling about the culture here.

    Also, you will find a lot of pretty sparse 'no downsides to appian' reviews on Glassdoor. It's almost like there is this us vs them mentality. A couple of bad reviews and people inside will convince you that the company is the best thing ever. Every company goes through a rapid change in culture when it's growing. It becomes very important then to pay attention to the culture being set up. However, if culture isn't paid attention to, what ends up is a cultish, toxic mixture of 'we know best and everyone who leaves didn't belong here in the first place'

    Appian Response

    Jul 6, 2018 – CTO and Co-Founder

    Thanks for taking the time to share your feedback. I agree with you - Appian needs new people and new ideas. Like the head of engineering, who came to us from outside, or our engineering... More


  7. Helpful (5)

    "Supportive Company Culture"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Appian full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    From my experience, Appian offers a great work-life balance. Work-life balance is sadly rare in the tech space. Yet, Appian's flexibility with the support of colleagues has allowed me to go back to school part-time for my Master's degree while working at Appian. Overall, Appian employees are helpful, engaged, and passionate.

    Cons

    Be sure to keep compensation competitive across departments.

    Appian Response

    Jun 25, 2018 – CTO and Co-Founder

    Thanks for your feedback and congratulations on pursuing the Master's degree. Feel free to contact me off-line if you'd like to share what prompted your comment about compensation.

  8. Helpful (2)

    "Great Company"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Appian full-time

    Pros

    Engineering department has great culture and is run very well. Great place to work and learn. Expectations are high but you’re surrounded by very intelligent people who are also great listeners.

    Cons

    Other departments outside engineering seem to vary in terms of culture. Everyone in engineering seems to be happy and motivated but can’t say the same for other departments.

    Appian Response

    Jun 25, 2018 – CTO and Co-Founder

    Thank you for sharing your feedback. The transparent and open way engineering sets its goals and the constructive ways it includes the company throughout the development process are distinctive... More


  9. Helpful (1)

    "Ok but not great"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    Work-life balance, friendly employees

    Cons

    Unorganized management, inconsistencies in culture between departments, low compensation

    Appian Response

    Jun 12, 2018 – Director, Talent Acquisition

    Thank you for the feedback and taking the time to leave a review. We are in the process of launching our first company wide engagement survey (1 week away!) to understand the employee experience... More


  10. Helpful (1)

    "Future Focused"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Appian full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    The company is positioned to be the next hugely successful enterprise software company and senior leadership seems to be making many right decisions every day to get the organization there.

    The engineering organization functions like a well oiled machine and will continue to scale well.

    The best aspect of this company is the people. You find brilliant, hard-working people across every department - Engineering, Sales, Pre-Sales, Professional Services, Recruitment, Finance, etc.

    Appian is a meritocracy where employees are empowered to speak up for what they believe in and the best ideas win.

    Of the tech, bottom line is the platform is superior to anything out there.

    Cons

    There's a unique company culture that is perfect for many but not right for everyone.

    The platform is powerful but can be very easily misunderstood when messaged poorly. Marketing is still finding their way.

    Advice to Management

    Get back to being maximally involved in talent acquisition and don't let the company's culture or talent get any more diluted.

    Make sure your leaders continue to empower their teams to speak up and function as the meritocracy the company was built on.

    Appian Response

    Jun 25, 2018 – CTO and Co-Founder

    Thanks for the feedback. It's not inevitable that talent be diluted by growth -- Appian's higher profile and success means it is easier than ever for talent to find us. We do agree with you that that... More


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