Simon Berman, Vice President, Product Development, Capriza in a conversation with Techseen talks about mobility trends and the micro-app industry. He states that companies these days need to meet the expectations of a modern employee, and a prime element of this is allowing the data to be accessed and managed in a simple fashion through mobile devices. He also talks about the latest release called Falcon, Capriza’s micro-app suite having a user-first mobile design. Capriza as a platform claims to help IT and business units in enterprise mobility and mobile-enabled critical business workflows without the need of coding, APIs or integration. Excerpts:
Techseen: You state Falcon to be the industry’s first Universal Micro Apps? What do you mean by universal and what makes it an industry first?
Our latest Falcon
Release provides customers with pre-built micro apps for the most common approvals processes. The universality of these micro apps means that they can be quickly attached to any business application in an organization’s environment through a simple point and click interface. For the first time, businesses can deliver micro apps on their existing business systems without any coding, integration work, or APIs, reducing the time needed to mobilize key business functions.
Most organizations have a deep knowledge of their business, and their applications, but not on mobile best practices and design. The pre-built micro apps include a user-first mobile design, meaning they have been designed by our usability experts, they’re simple and intuitive, they leverage native mobile capabilities and controls such as swipe gestures and pick lists, and they have simplified workflows so the user can focus entirely on getting just the information they need in order to get the job done.
Techseen: Falcon focuses more on common approvals processes, such as purchase orders, invoices, expenses, and time off. According to you, does enterprise mobility go beyond these, and why did you choose these processes to begin with?
Berman: Enterprise mobility will encompass an increasing amount of business processes over the coming years. In fact, according to the Gartner Predicts 2017: Mobile Apps and Their Development report, 70 percent of all enterprise software interactions will occur on mobile devices by the year 2021.
With the Falcon release we wanted to make it easier for customers to begin this journey and provide their users with simple, one-minute mobile experiences. When we looked at how our existing customers were already using our solution, and the kinds of micro apps that they were rolling out, we interestingly found that the number one use case was around Approvals. And when you think about it, it makes sense – every organization has controls in place to keep things orderly, to make sure regulations are enforced, and to control costs. Common business approvals – such as expenses, times sheets and purchase requisitions – are not only time sensitive, but are often needed to be completed on the move.
Techseen: How does Falcon work? Is it a mobile app that acts as a container for micro apps? In that case how does the end user know where to put which micro app?
Micro apps are most effective when they are made as simple as possible to locate and use. At Capriza, our approach is to deploy a single mobile app that serves as each individual’s personalized mobile workspace. Users only have access to the micros apps for the processes they use. This means they don’t have to sift through apps they don’t have use for, and the entire mobile experience is condensed into a simple one-minute experience. At Capriza, all the micro apps are proactively pushed to the user’s mobile to simplify the mobile experience.
Techseen: Enterprises spend a lot of money acceding to legacy software for improving employee management and then employees use micro apps to manage the large/ legacy management softwares. What according to you is the rationale behind this theory?
Over many years, enterprises have made enormous investments in their legacy software, customizing them to specifically meet the needs of their business. These systems power the business and still provide enormous value to customers, making it highly impractical to rip and replace them. However, companies also need to meet the expectations of modern employees, and a prime element of this is allowing the data to be accessed and managed in a simple fashion through mobile devices. Our approach is to help customers preserve their investment in legacy software and create a layer of abstraction which also makes them simple to use in a mobilized workplace. Our company is centered in mobility, so partnering with customers to provide simple ways to mobilize their legacy software is the key benefit we see ourselves offering businesses.
Techseen: Micro app makers claim that their user interface is more appealing than large-scale enterprise tools in the market. Is this true? If so, then why and how does Capriza help make this a reality?
The simple answer is that most legacy software applications weren’t built with mobility in mind. They were developed to be used on the desktop, and it takes a paradigm shift for this to be effectively delivered through a mobile experience. Importantly, this doesn’t just mean changing the screen to make it viewable on smaller devices. It means considering how employees interact with applications while on mobile devices, leveraging the native capabilities of the device, and creating an experience which caters to this reality. Our DNA is in mobility – it’s what we’re built on – and we come with a ‘user first’ view of mobile productivity. Providing not only a simple and functional user experience, but also funneling only the required information needed to perform an individual task, is paramount in delivering an effective one-minute experience. This is where we can help businesses view their legacy software through a different lens and help them mobilize it simply and effectively.
Techseen: Do you feel it is okay for larger legacy applications to modify itself to a mobile app or create a knocked down version of their application for mobile use? What are the challenges there?
Too many companies are still pursuing a mobility strategy which is fundamentally flawed. The traditional enterprise application vendors take an inside out approach, starting with the same software and trying to cram it into mobile devices. However, the software wasn’t developed with mobile use cases in mind, so this approach doesn’t cater to a mobile experience.
This is one of the major challenges facing many businesses – shifting that paradigm and approaching the issue from a user first perspective. Not only do businesses need to be considering how to deliver mobile experiences which enable their employees to be productive, but they also need to consider the other factors which come with native mobile experience. For example, effective ways to utilize native mobile capabilities like camera and voice need to be considered, as does the impact the data consumption can have on battery life. Mobility necessitates viewing applications through a different lens, and shifting this view can often be a challenge for businesses.
Techseen: In an interview with another micro app maker, the spokesperson had said that micro apps are a better way to access the system and get actionable data instead of looking for it manually. Is that true? Or do you have another opinion?
When developing micro apps, it’s important to consider the ways in which people use their mobile devices and how users can best be proactively directed toward the information which is important to them. At Capriza, we aim to make the mobile experience as simple for the user as possible, and that includes bringing the data to the employee instead of forcing them to track it down in an unwieldly format. It’s also important that this is achieved in a way which matches user expectations of a mobile experience, which means utilizing mobile native tools – such as push notifications and alerts – to direct users toward the tasks and data they should be looking at. Mobilizing applications is about simplicity, and ensuring the right data follows the user is a vital part of this.
Techseen: What is the way forward for micro apps/ what is the future? Do you feel micro apps will always share relationship with legacy applications where it cannot exist without the latter?
As the workplace continues to become more mobile in the coming years, it will be important to effectively reflect the use cases of every type of worker. At Capriza, we view this through multiple angles. There are users – such as finance departments – who need the high level of data and functionality provided by legacy software apps. In a way, these are the users for which many legacy software solutions were built for, and they’re the employees which value most from the large amounts of data contained within this software. There are also everyday users who primarily need access to perform quick, simple transactions or operations.
For example, sales employees needing to access account information or managers needing to complete Purchase Orders while offsite. These workers need access to data in a way which is mobile centric and allows them to complete actions quickly and simply. Finally, there are temporary employees or other transient users who don’t commonly use an enterprise application, like truck drivers who need to look up their deliveries from an ERP system. In these situations, developing an interface which is altogether different than a mobile app – such as utilizing text messaging or chat functionality – may be the best solution for ensuring a productive yet cost effective mobile solution.
The industry is moving quickly, however there’ll always be a relationship between mobile micro apps and legacy software solutions. As we continue to move toward a mobile only workforce, it will be increasingly important to deliver experiences which are suitable for every type of user.
Techseen: Even if micro apps are not a threat to larger legacy systems, do you feel these larger companies will also create micro apps of their own? Or acquire micro app making companies in the future?
Mobile technologies are evolving quickly, and businesses wanting to remain successful will have to continue developing experiences which best make use of the newest mobile solutions. However, for many companies this requires a paradigm shift to a use case first viewpoint. Capriza is a mobile company – it’s in our DNA. As mobile solutions continue to evolve at an accelerated rate, I think businesses will keep relying on mobile first companies like Capriza to bring this perspective to ensure they’re on the cutting edge of enterprise mobility. Enterprise mobility hasn’t stopped evolving, so partnering with companies which pride themselves on delivering the latest and best thinking will continue to be a valuable commodity.