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Sapho Gives Enterprise Applications A Millennial-Friendly Makeover

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Logging into and performing tasks on what can be dozens of different enterprise applications can eat up a lot of an enterprise employee’s workday. A company called Sapho is looking to solve that with a “micro app” on-premises platform that delivers a unified interface of tasks to users via desktop or smartphone.

Traditional enterprise applications are the cornerstone of many an IT infrastructure, but when you put them next to the AI on your mobile phone — Siri or Google Now — they seem antiquated and not very user friendly.

That’s the problem that Sapho set out to solve with its new Micro App Platform software, announced this week, which is designed to provide a front end to traditional enterprise applications, as well as the many other applications that employees use over the course of their work days.

“We are spending lots and lots of money on enterprise software that no one is using,” said Fauad ElNaggar, CEO of Sapho, in an interview with InformationWeek. “People have invested billions, even trillions of dollars, if you look over the past few decades, at enterprise infrastructure that a small minority of people in the enterprise uses, while everyone else is trying to figure out how to do their jobs without that information.”

Cloud-based systems may offer an alternative to centralized monolithic enterprise applications.

Indeed, Salesforce’s revenues are growing at a fast pace, while sales of on-premises enterprise software are hurting. SAP reported a decline in software license sales last quarter, and so did Oracle, even as their cloud revenues accelerate.

But while there may not be a lot of new business for installations of on-premises software licenses, enterprises already have so much invested in them — years of sunk cost in software licenses and custom development. They run their businesses on them. For the most part, organizations don’t want to rip these systems out and replace them. But they may want to make them easier to use, and that’s the idea behind Sapho’s platform.

The company has introduced this micro app platform — on-premises software — that delivers tasks and insights via cards, like Google Now, or in workplace collaboration platforms such as Slack, or in platforms such as Facebook for Work. These tasks and insights can be delivered on the user’s smartphone or desktop. The software provides an interface to many different enterprise application systems, as well as to certain cloud-based systems such as Salesforce, databases, and data warehouses.

ElNaggar describes it as a move from a “pull”-based workflow to a “push”-based workflow.

In a pull-based workflow, employees need to think about what they want, remember where it is, log into the system somewhere, and then navigate through the software to get to the place where the task is accomplished, ElNaggar said. Push-based workflow is more like Google Now or Facebook, he said. When an event happens, the system alerts you and kicks off the workflow.

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