The Speed of the Modern Workforce

By CMD Technology Group

4 min read

Micro apps have been making headlines for some time now. The market looks for fresh new buzzwords to create excitement as the term “cloud” has grown increasingly commonplace. Micro apps, however, is not just a new buzzword, and it is starting to transform the IT landscape for both end-users and admins alike. The terms “mini” or “micro” have been coined to the evolution of technology for the past 50 years. Since the days of mainframe, computer hardware has become smaller, software has become more efficient, and marketing has scrambled to find ways to create noise around these advancements. 

Minimalism is trending as millennials take over the workforce, and they are demanding changes in how work gets done. Micro apps are a step in the IT minimalist direction by reducing clutter, decreasing adoption rates, and reducing the time for task completion. This blog is an overview of micro apps and will explain in greater detail what they are, why companies should be thinking about them, and who is a current leader in this space..

The Nature of Micro Apps

Depending on where you look, there are quite a few ways micro apps are defined across the internet. In non-technical terms, a micro app has a very intuitive design in which an end-user can complete a very specific task quickly with no prior training on it. One drastic difference between a traditional app and a micro app is that while a traditional app is designed to complete many tasks and might include multiple windows and options, a micro app focuses on one task. 

From a technical approach, micro apps are built by decoupling large applications into separate smaller subsets of applications. Microservices and existing APIs from SaaS, web, or home-grown applications are heavily used to keep a micro app’s customized code to a minimum. One thing to note, when the term “app” is used, this is not limited to mobile apps. Micro apps are used across all endpoints, on the web, and all major operating systems.

The Benefit of Micro Apps

There are many benefits to using micro apps, both for end-users, software developers, and IT departments. When considering software developers and IT departments, micro apps are extremely valuable. Because they are highly focused on one job, it naturally becomes easier to iterate and release software updates for it. Imagine a traditional application with many pages of code. When working on one part of the application, the new code might break other aspects of the application. Bugs and broken functionality can create costly downtime, poor user experience, and IT time wasted trying to fix the pages of code.

Thinking about end-users, what many might not realize is that they have already used micro apps. They are built into many of the platforms we use daily. Take Google, for example. If you search “flights to New York,” you will receive results from many different online travel agencies. With these results, you will see an interactive app that lets you quickly search for flights within the same window. Now you can quickly complete your task of finding relevant flights without having to open a new tab or, in the context of apps, a full-blown application. Micro apps are a growing technological advancement emerging across many platforms and services, and some enterprise technology companies are taking notice.

Sapho + Citrix

Back towards the end of 2018, Citrix acquired a company called Sapho in a $200M deal. Sapho was the market leader in micro apps at the time, and Citrix took notice. Citrix gravitated towards their technologies as more Sapho customers requested Citrix integration. Citrix has been in the process of transitioning from a traditional on-prem technology company to a cloud services company. They have created a full Workspace Suite that provides one platform for users to access their apps, desktops, and data. 

Since the Sapho acquisition, Citrix has been working to integrate Sapho’s micro apps technology into its Workspace platform. They are branding this service as Intelligent Workspace, and it is scheduled for release in Q4 2019. Existing customers that have Workspace Premium and Premium Plus entitlements will automatically get these new features for free.

Citrix Intelligent Workspace

Citrix has developed a modern looking Workspace UI that has been out for quite some time. Sapho technologies will be automatically integrated into this Workspace experience and incorporate a social-media-like “newsfeed” feature with actionable items on the home page. From the Workspace home page, users will still have access to their SaaS and legacy apps, desktops, and files, which will be integrated with the newsfeed feature.

This experience fits with Citrix Cloud Services to create a single pane of glass where users can access everything needed to get work done in the modern workplace. Citrix has stated that they will support more than 100 out-of-the-box micro app integration templates with leading SaaS vendors, including Concur, Salesforce, Microsoft, SAP, Tableau, G Suite, Workday, and Jira. They have also shared that companies will be able to build their custom micro apps for home-grown and legacy applications using the micro app builder interface. For a more in-depth look t what Intelligent Workspace looks like from other a user and admin experience, check out the video below.

Inside Intelligent Workspace

The Intelligent Workspace Service will leverage existing APIs and act as the bridge between full applications and the micro app the user will interact with at the Workspace level. The service will also include the micro app builder for IT admins to customize their micro apps. As this is a cloud service, there will be minimal to no infrastructure that IT must set up on-prem.

The Modern Workforce

The workforce is rapidly changing, and employees are demanding new and innovative ways to get their work done. To complete time-consuming admin tasks like submitting expenses with Concur or requesting time off through Workday, users have to navigate multiple windows and options to get to the point where they can complete their requests. With Citrix Intelligent Workspace, users log in once and have access to all of these services. As users can seamlessly submit their requests or complete their actions, managers will be able to approve them in the same manner. Intelligent Workspace keeps us at the pace that users want to move, improving the productivity of our workforce and removing the pain of menial tasks that are less meaningful to our work.


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