“Even if it’s jazz or the quiet storm
I hook a beat up and convert it into hip-hop form”
-Rakim, “I Ain’t No Joke“
Over the past 20 years, enterprises have spent over 3 trillion dollars building web applications, but now most of their users would rather access those applications from mobile devices as mobile is indeed eating the world. In related news, most people think that packaged enterprise web applications suck and suck worse when they move to mobile. If you run a company and need your people to have the right information and the right tools to make decisions in a timely fashion, then these are big problems.
The conventional wisdom has been to rebuild the most important applications by hand on mobile or wait for the big vendors to provide acceptable mobile solutions. The conventional approach has several problems:
1. Workers aren’t partially mobile — Many companies have 100s of internal applications. If employees can only get to 2 or 3 of them via a mobile device, they are not actually able to be mobile and they are certainly not able to exclusively use a mobile computing device.
2. Big enterprise applications don’t fit on a phone — SAP has 300,000 screens. I don’t care how great a designer you employ, you can’t make a 300,000-screen application usable on a phone. Of course, most users don’t need all of SAP. They might only need to see a forecast or retrieve the number of a key supplier via their phone. There ought to be a way to do this customized for each user and use case.
3. Security and manageability — If you do hire people to rewrite your web apps in mobile, chances are each app will have its own security model and its own management hooks, which look nothing like any of the other mobile apps. Your mobile solution will soon turn into a mobile nightmare.
4. Cost — In addition to the “rewrite your apps” approach being incomplete, impossible to use, insecure, and unmanageable, it’s incredibly expensive. Even using the best development tools, building a fresh mobile app to replace a web app typically costs around $250,000. Multiply that by 100 and you have one big expensive mess.
For all these reasons, led by Yuval Scarlat, the team that revolutionized software testing at Mercury Interactive is now doing the same thing for mobile application development at their new company Capriza. Rather than re-implementing every web application by hand, Capriza simply observes you using a web app and automatically constructs a mobile app with the same functionality. You take from the web app only what you need and will find useful on mobile — not 300,000 screens. Capriza is so robust that it can translate virtually any piece of any web app into a mobile app including the SAP colossus. Beyond that, every Capriza app comes with an integrated and consistent security and management model, so the more apps, the better.
For any company with a big investment in web applications and a real need to mobilize its workforce, Capriza is a magical solution. That’s why I am extremely excited to be an investor and board member.