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When legacy desktop systems weren't cutting it for TiVo, it went the application refactoring route to take greater advantage of employee mobility.
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TiVo Inc. of San Jose, Calif., markets and sells its own TiVo-branded digital video recorders with 1,200 employees and contractors spread across the globe. TiVo eventually prioritized app mobilization to meet the needs of users, said Daynas Corman, TiVo’s applications manager.
While Corman usually manages TiVo's consumer-facing apps, he was asked to oversee the creation of some employee-facing apps using software from Capriza Inc. of Palo Alto, Calif., to refactor them for use on mobile.
Additionally, Capriza's apps refactored for mobile are integrated with TiVo's mobile device management platform of choice, AirWatch by VMware. This way, when an employee leaves the company, IT can use AirWatch to erase a Capriza-refactored app and its data on their device.
Corman set out to make new apps for portions of TiVo's SAP environment, including desktop apps for time cards and management approvals. With the time cards, TiVo utilizes an SAP desktop app where employees working on projects involving partner companies enter those hours so TiVo can charge those partners.
Daynas Cormanapplications manager, TiVo
TiVo found some of its employees had difficulty submitting their hours at the end of a given week, in part because it required using a desktop app and also because the SAP app's interface was "pretty clunky," Corman said. While SAP has its own mobile app, TiVo wanted to create a custom one to meet its users' needs.
"The benefit of Capriza is you can create your own mobile app and tweak it for your own purposes," he said. "We wanted a simple app that employees can submit their time cards on and it works pretty well."
TiVo's management approvals mobile app also originated from an SAP desktop app. This includes approval of time cards and statements of work. Logging in to the desktop app was onerous for managers and sometimes approvals would sit in a queue for weeks, Corman said.
At first, the new app was slow, he added, but within a few weeks, Capriza improved its hosting environment and that improved performance. As a result, approvals at TiVo happen much faster thanks to the app.
"This has probably been the best [app] we've had in terms of return on investment," Corman said.
TiVo finds Capriza very easy to use for creating new mobile apps -- so easy that the company usually lets younger developers and interns work on the platform, Corman said, because their skills are better allocated on more complicated tasks.
The TiVo mobile environment is mostly Apple iOS devices with some Google Android devices mixed in, and the user experience of the Capriza-optimized apps is very similar on both, Corman said, with no complaints from users.
TiVo's goal is to create a new employee-facing app every week with Capriza to mobilize more workflows, including parts of its Microsoft Exchange environment, he said.
"If you know how to use [Capriza], you can just dream stuff up and send it out," Corman said. "It's fun to use."
Capriza released a new version of its platform this week, including personalized workflows for Capriza-developed apps that reduce the need for extensive training and the number of steps needed to start working in the app. There's also no downtime for apps since they don't need APIs, coding or app upgrade requirements.
Capriza is licensed on a per-user, per-month basis, but the company declined to offer specifics, besides its pricing, which varies up to "high single digits" depending on the individual deployment.
Some of Capriza's competitors for application refactoring include Reddo Mobility Inc. and PowWow Inc.