Mendix vs. Appian – Define Your Needs Before Making a Choice

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Jacek Pietsch

Nov 27, 2023 • 7 min read
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One of the most effective ways to digitally accelerate is constantly streamlining processes and validating new ideas through building and shipping software quickly.

The development of Low-Code Application Platforms (LCAPs) such as Mendix, Appian, OutSystems, or PowerApps can significantly help with achieving these goals. Among the top players, Mendix, OutSystems, and Appian have earned their spots in Gartner's Magic Quadrant. Although placed in one category, these tools differ from each other significantly, having completely different use cases and features. Some of them, like Mendix, serve mainly the purpose of application development, while others, like Appian, are better suited for robotic process automation (RPA).

Both Mendix and Appian have their strengths, and selecting the right platform will depend on your unique business needs and development goals. In this article, we will compare Mendix and Appian to help you make an informed decision about which one is the right fit for your organization's needs.

If you're interested in exploring the differences between low-code vs. RPA & BPA – we described them in this article. Here, on the other hand, you can learn more about the battle of Mendix vs. OutSystems in low-code app development.

The low-code expert for app development vs. the powerhouse of business process automation

Founded in 2005, Mendix focuses primarily on application development, making it the go-to choice for creating complex web and mobile applications. It uses a single low-code approach to develop solutions ranging from simple forms to sophisticated core systems. Mendix's strength lies in its ability to cater to the development of highly customized UI and UX, making it suitable for customer-facing applications in both B2B and B2C scenarios. Moreover, Mendix's advanced offline mode allows for the creation of offline-first mobile apps, a feature that can be crucial for certain industries and use cases.

On the other hand, Appian takes a different approach. Since its foundation in 1999, it is renowned for its specialization in process automation, business process automation (BPA) and case management. It helps in orchestrating complex activities and processes, making it a great choice for organizations looking to streamline their workflows and automate repetitive tasks. Appian's strong suit lies in its ability to deliver fast results in these areas, thanks to its specialized toolset designed explicitly for business workflow automation.

UI and customization

When it comes to user interface (UI) flexibility and customization, Mendix clearly takes the lead. With its visual interface to build apps without the necessity of using custom code, it empowers developers to create applications with advanced UI components, custom styling, and complex integrations. With its integration with React Native and support for Reacj.js components, it provides a level of control that Appian can't match.

Appian, on the other hand, offers a less flexible UI, which may limit your ability to create highly customized and visually appealing applications. It lacks the capability to easily customize the UI using CSS, which can be a drawback for organizations with specific design requirements. It's also not easy to embed React.js components, a feature that can be pivotal for building modern and interactive user interfaces.

Integrations: Mendix's native-like experience vs. a ton of pre built connectors

Both Mendix and Appian provide robust integration capabilities. However, Mendix stands out in terms of its native-like experience when it comes to utilizing external data sources. Developers can work with external data as seamlessly as they do with local entities, speeding up the process of building UI and defining business logic. Mendix further enhances its integration capabilities with features like the Mendix Connect Catalog and Data Hub, which make managing multiple data sources easier and provide an exceptional level of governance, ensuring data consistency and reliability.

Appian's integration capabilities, dedicated more for data-exchange standards, are designed to be flexible, modular, reusable and allow for easy API integrations with popular systems. Its toolset operates at a higher level and allows for fast results in the areas of BPA and case management as it was created specifically for business workflow automation. Appian offers pre-built connectors to major platforms like Salesforce, Google, Microsoft SharePoint, DocuSign, and AWS, enabling faster development of integrations. Additionally, Appian integrates using standard protocols, allowing for the connection and publication of APIs using the OpenAPI standard across regular HTTPS communication.

Modularity and IP protection

Modularity is a key consideration when building complex systems, and Mendix excels in this area. It offers a separation of concerns with loosely coupled modules that can be easily replaced and reused, promoting a more agile and maintainable development approach. Mendix's IP protection is another advantage. It allows you to share apps or modules while exposing only their APIs, keeping the underlying logic hidden. This protects your intellectual property and ensures the security of your proprietary code. No.

Deployment flexibility

Mendix offers complete flexibility in terms of deployments. Whether you prefer on-premises solutions on a single server, a private cloud based on industry-standard technologies, or Mendix Cloud with multiple vendor choices, Mendix has you covered. The default deployment for Mendix Cloud is based on AWS infrastructure; however, users can choose different providers like Microsoft Azure, SAP Cloud, and IBM. Private cloud deployments can run on industry-leading technologies such as Kubernetes and Docker.

On the other hand, Appian can only partially run on-premises. Appian RPA, a core component that orchestrates all the processes, can only run in the cloud. However, a robot that executes tasks can be installed on-premises if that is what the client prefers. As an alternative to the private cloud option, Appian offers a Virtual Private Cloud (AWS) that ensures an additional level of isolation and seamless integration with existing infrastructure. Appian fully manages the VPC, so it is still considered a SaaS model.

Mendix's flexible pricing vs. Appian's simplicity

When it comes to pricing, Mendix offers more flexibility, catering to a wide range of needs. This flexibility extends to its deployment options, allowing organizations to choose from on-premises, private cloud, or Mendix Cloud, which offers multiple vendor options. We hope this article will help you gain a better understanding of Mendix pricing if you’d like to learn more.

Appian pricing model adopts a simpler but less flexible approach by pricing per user, offering options for both single app and unlimited usage. While this pricing model may be straightforward, it can become more expensive as the number of users grows.

Conclusion

In the battle of Mendix vs. Appian, the choice ultimately comes down to your organization's needs and priorities. If your digital acceleration strategy requires a creation of web and mobile applications with a focus on user experience – Mendix is the right choice for you, offering extensive customization options, advanced offline capabilities, and a flexible pricing model.

However, if you're looking for accelerating your business through workflow optimization, Appian, which excels in process automation and BPA is a strong choice for you. However, it may fall short when it comes to complex application development and highly customized UI/UX requirements. Ultimately, your choice should align with your organization's objectives and the nature of the projects you undertake.

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Jacek Pietsch

Principal Mendix Expert at Netguru. Jacek leads the low-code/no-code initiative by shaping the new...
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