Capriza touts its mobile-first strategy for the enterprise

Mobile. It’s the choice of a new generation. And Capriza has a million users to prove the point.

Capriza touts its mobile-first strategy for the enterprise
REUTERS/Toru Hanai

Enterprise software, where hopes and dreams go to die. And where new employees are unceremoniously pulled into a new reality—that the tools they use in their day-to-day lives as consumers are a world apart from the tools they’re expected to use in their working lives.

But whereas it used to be a case of employees simply putting up and shutting up, increasingly employees are powerful advocates and potential change-makers—and organizations need to be ready to respond to their needs with tools that aren’t so abysmal to use.

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Of course, the traditional enterprise vendors, such as Oracle and SAP, realize this change is coming and are trying their hardest to deliver more user-friendly interactions. But as Clayton Christensen explained in his seminal book, The innovator’s Dilemma, this isn’t such an easy change to effect.

That is where products such as Capriza come in. Capriza isn’t about moving enterprise customers onto new platforms; its about wrapping those legacy applications to make them mobile-ready. In essence, Capriza create contextual mobile applications that talk back to those big, clunky core systems. And in Capriza’s case, it enables the “mobilization” of workflows without any coding, APIs or integration.

Capriza works with applications such as SAP, Oracle and Salesforce, as well as many custom-built enterprise solutions, and is focused on changing the economics of mobile-enabling applications.

Capriza has been going now for half a dozen years and has just marked the occasion with announcing that it has passed the 1 million user mark. These 1 million users are spread over 100 countries and, in an impressive piece of acceleration, roughly 80 percent of those users have been added in the past 18 months.

Yuval Scarlat on Capriza's mobile-first approach

I sat down (well, it was via email, but I’m fairly certain we were both sitting down) with Capriza's co-founder and CEO, Yuval Scarlat, to talk about the genesis of his company and his approach towards running it.

Scarlat is a firm believer in what Silicon Valley calls dog-fooding. That is, he displays the actions he believes his customers should show. To this end, when he co-founded Capriza in 2011, he made the decision to run the company from his phone.

As he tells it: “Over the past 25 years, I’d grown frustrated using too many different systems of record in the workplace, spending unnecessary time trying to find pieces of information. Essentially, having a one-minute experience through an app on my mobile device was much more productive than sifting through multiple different systems on a desktop.”

To this day, Scarlat is able to oversee and run every aspect of Capriza from his mobile device. When he opens his phone, he sees a snapshot of his company’s forecast, marketing dashboards, sales leads, approvals and associated costs. Scarlat is adamant that running Capriza from his phone allows him to be exponentially more productive. He gave me one small but impactful example:

“For instance, if I’m waiting for a flight at the airport and want to quickly see how my different departments are doing or if I need to approve anything urgently, I’m able to quickly pull out my phone and check rather than trying to find a Wi-Fi connection and get my laptop up and running. Also, I’m able to highly customize my work experience by setting up my mobile apps and device the way I want, not the way IT may dictate on a desktop.”

Capriza is chasing a very real opportunity here. Analyst firm Gartner estimates that 70 percent of all software interactions will take place on mobile devices by 2020. Enabling that within the context of existing legacy applications is a very hard nut to crack. Companies such as Capriza and its ilk help enterprise CIOs with that task.

In an interesting statistic that points to the concept of “mobile moments” being a real one, Capriza tells me that average user interaction time per app on Capriza’s platform is about 60 seconds. That just goes to show how a simple, personalized, task-based mobile app can let a user do something productive for their business faster than a desktop-bound employee could even log into the VPN, Let alone find the right screen in their complex enterprise application.

Some of the rapid growth Capriza has enjoyed may have come from its increasing offering of pre-built “micro apps.” These micro apps are a good way for organizations to get a sense of what is possible with Capriza and are, in my view, as much of a sales onboarding tool as they are offerings that customers will use on an ongoing basis. That said, however, the fact that customers can experiment with the micro apps and use them as building blocks for their own purposes is useful.

Final word goes to Scarlat, who does revert to a bit of chest thumping hyperbole, but is probably justifiably when he says:

“We are at the dawn of the mobile-first enterprise, and Capriza customers are paving the way for the industry. The million-user milestone is proof that their users are embracing this new mobile-first reality.

“Simply making complex business applications available on mobile devices is no longer an option for businesses. Employees today not only expect a personalized and unified mobile experience, but also an intuitive, productive experience. That’s why a user-centric mindset is critical to any successful mobility program, and it’s why more businesses are trusting Capriza to unlock this potential."

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