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CIOs combat messaging overload with mobile 'micro apps'

Clint Boulton | July 1, 2016
CIOs are addressing major pain points in corporate workflows by consolidating approval requests into lightweight ’micro apps.’

sapho feed in an iphone

Sapho collects approval expense requests from the disparate systems and funnels the prompts into a single 'micro app.' (Click for larger image.)

Sapho collects approval expense requests from the disparate systems and funnels the prompts into a single "micro app" that lets managers tap the screen to approve or reject requests. The software, which runs on customers’ servers, connects via APIs to SaaS apps, databases, data warehouses and internal web services. When Sapho detects a change in one of those apps that requires an action, it pushes emails, texts and other notifications to managers' smartphones, desktops and through Slack, prompting them to approve or reject a request.

sapho integration with slack

Sapho pushes emails, texts and other notifications to managers' smartphones, desktops and through Slack, prompting them to approve or reject a request. (Click for larger image.)

“The aggregation point here is disassembling software so that you have a new visualization layer that connects to all it from one place," Yared says, adding that employees haven’t historically had the “luxury of systems that tell them when something they should know happens.”

Sapho’s technology has helped rescue media producer Super Deluxe from information sprawl that has made it difficult to meet production timelines. The Turner Broadcasting-owned company is comprised of four business groups that make short-form video, TV series productions, applications and games and a shared services distribution arm that supports the other three units. Roughly 120 employees spread across these four groups were using their own project-tracking apps, such as Asana and Trello, to coordinate creative, finance and other business functions, Hammer says. Sapho has helped unify the activity streams.

“What Sapho has built is a way for us to track really disparate information -- finance data, budget data, creative updates and status updates,” Hammer says. “And we can see the weakness in our processes -- where things get stuck. That wasn’t possible before.”

Employees hunger for better enterprise apps

You would think that enterprise software would be more mindful of employees' workflow needs. But Yared, who has started four enterprise software companies before joining CBS, says most business software companies are "very detached from what IT departments need and do." And with the bulk of vendors operating this way, CIOs have had little choice but to select the best possible option, typically the one at the right price.

The lack of user-friendly enterprise software gives Sapho a shot at slipping into IT departments at a time when more CIOs are adopting a mobile first mentality to software development. In its 2015 CIO survey, Gartner found that 48 percent of employee-facing applications are being designed with mobile as the primary or secondary consumption mechanism.

 

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