Anyone that has used one of the monolithic enterprise applications from the likes of SAP, Oracle or Salesforce will know that the complex processes and sheer level of data involved doesn’t translate particularly well to mobile apps.
Capriza is a startup that lets business users create and use mobile versions of enterprise software workflows themselves, in the form of simple mobile apps.
“You look at Salesforce alone and there are 8,000 processes locked in Salesforce and the ones I need to interact with are a fraction of those,” says Russell Acton, vice president and general manager, international at Capriza.
“The others are just noise that I have to wade through. What we’ve been taught on phones is that you go in and do one thing beautifully, easily, simply.”
The problem is that taking these single business processes and converting them into bite-sized mobile apps traditionally required mobile developers, which are often expensive and hard to find.
This is where co-founder and CTO of Capriza Oren Ariel saw an opportunity to build a simple app designer, basically a wizard that requires no coding or programming knowledge.
“We produce the same result as if you were rolling up your sleeves and throwing two or three programmers at the problem one hundred times faster by leveraging all of the assets that you already have,” says Ariel.
What is a Zapp?
Capriza focuses on apps for a single workflow, which they call Zapps. These apps could theoretically be built for a single issue regardless of the back end system it needs to interact with, be it SAP, Oracle or Salesforce. For example, building an app that allows a sales team to update their forecasts while on the move with just one or two taps.
These Zapps can then be collected and managed using the WorkSimple app, which is available across mobile app stores. Users can also set notifications within WorkSimple according to personalised alerts, such as a KPI dipping below or jumping above a given threshold.
How does it work?
Capriza is essentially an extraction layer, taking the series of screens you would normally navigate on an enterprise web application - for example Sales Cloud, Oracle ERP, SAP CRM - and taking out any necessary data or steps so that the end-user can perform the task they want as quickly and simply as possible.
Ariel explained: “This uses HTML5 technology which means it can run on any device. The Capriza cloud will run a virtual headless browser and will transact with the back end system, whether that is Salesforce, SAP or Oracle, and it will do all the heavy lifting.”
Designers using Capriza can personalise the app by taking out unnecessary click-through screens and remove data parameters that aren’t needed for the task they want the Zapp to achieve.
From a user experience and aesthetics perspective Zapps tend to look like the Facebook mobile app, with a default royal blue colour scheme and a clean, user-friendly interface. Designers can add corporate branding, change colour schemes and add sliders, drop downs and approve/reject buttons.
Who will build the apps?
Ariel admitted that the Capriza designer module has its challenges, as it requires knowledge of the business process you are looking to turn into an app. Ariel believes that business analysts, line-of-business IT and power users will make up the designer community and will require “one or two days training”. The rest of the workforce can reap the benefits through the WorkSimple platform.
“Sometimes it takes multiple iterations, so typically it will not take five minutes, it will take a couple of days, a week at most,” admits Ariel, “which is still a hundred times quicker than a mobile app developer.”
Security and governance
As Capriza is extracting from your existing enterprise systems, the security and governance that comes with this software is inherited by Capriza’s platform. As Ariel explains: “You can’t break the business logic because the business logic is owned by the master, source application. We are simply piggybacking on top of that an inheriting all the security.”
Theoretically this takes the stress off of IT teams as more business users can self-serve when it comes to line-of-business apps. As Acton puts it: “Without making wholesale back end changes they can all of a sudden service far more requests to the business than they ever could before without additional overheads.” The WorkSimple app can also be delivered through the enterprise app store, so IT teams can monitor usage and maintain control without having to configure anything.
Capriza works on a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model with subscription prices on a per-user enterprise model. Once onboarded, employees can access their various systems via the WorkSimple app and start designing apps on the designer module.
Carpriza isn’t the only enterprise app builder on the market, but following a hefty $27 million Series C funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz and Charles River Ventures (CRV) and a growing set of big-ticket customers, like TiVo, Paramount and Sotheby’s, it certainly seems to be leading the way.
Where Mubaloo acts more like a consultancy in building mobile apps to certain specifications, Capriza is a self-serve solution. Microsoft’s Power Apps is also self-serve but it is naturally just for Microsoft software based processes, whereas Capriza is relatively vendor agnostic.
Giving business users the ability to create simple mobile apps so that they can perform key tasks while on the move benefits everyone, from the end-user to IT teams.
However, Capriza needs to ensure that it doesn’t become just another nice idea that is left on the enterprise app store shelf and that users are really designing apps that employees want to use.
The potential for WorkSimple to replace all of the enterprise apps on your home screen is definitely there, now it just becomes a question of uptake.