Effektif wants to do for the enterprise what IFTTT has done for the consumer web – automate workflows through a cloud-based service, but one designed instead to integrate with business level tools and processes, like Salesforce, Oracle, Google Drive, Box and more. The solution, launching today, is aimed at teams looking to coordinate around shared tasks, explains founder and CEO Tom Baeyens, who says the idea was inspired by fellow consumer-facing services like IFTTT and enterprise-focused Zapier.
Baeyens himself has been building BPM (business process management) systems for a decade, having previously founded open source projects like jBPM (acquired by JBoss, now RedHat), and Actviti at Alfresco.
Taking a page from other startups replacing on-premise enterprise systems with cloud-based, Software-as-a-Service alternatives, Baeyens began to envision a BPM service “for the rest of us” – that is, one that anyone could automate and use in minutes, even if not technically inclined.
That idea became what is today Effektif, a company which received a 1.2M € investment in March 2013 to get things going. The funding came from Berlin and Sunnyvale-based Signavio, a fast-growing, profitable BPM provider founded in 2009, which was already working on shifting process modeling to the cloud.
“They invested because they wanted a parter to execute their process models,” says Baeyens. “But also because they share the same vision about simplifying workflow and they believe in the company itself.”
To explain how the service works, the founder provided an example use case. “Effektif does things like: ‘when an email arrives at this address, first create a task list for Jack to upload a document. When that’s done, upload the document to Google Drive, and create a new task that someone from the support team should take,” he says.
At launch, the team has built the shared task list for collaboration and a process builder that combines a simple list view with a graphical flow. (This is based on BPMN, the industry standard which looks similar to flow charts). The piece involving the coordination of user tasks is nearly complete, and integrations with Drive, Box and Salesforce are due out in a couple weeks’ time, Baeyens tells us.
The plan is to give away the core product – the collaborative shared task list – for free, while generating revenue by charging those requiring more advanced integrations. A paid “Team Workflow” edition will enable basic workflows involving cloud services, while the high-end “Enterprise Process Management” edition will include on-premise integration capabilities and analytics.
Today, the company has two-full time developers, a part-time designer and marketing personnel, in addition to Baeyens, who’s based in Belgium. But Signavio’s two CEO’s, Gero Decker and Torben Schreiter, are also involved, coaching the smaller team on the product and other business aspects. “They have had a great track record building Signavio from 0 to 40 employees in four years’ time without external investment,” notes Baeyens.
Effektif is clearly a more complex product than something like IFTTT, which raised $7 million from Andreessen Horowitz, NEA and others in late 2012, but both are operating in the same general space, with an eye on the existing $5 billion BPM and workflow market.
With IFTTT, the plan was to grow the consumer base first, then expand into the enterprise, while Effektif has skipped building a consumer product altogether. To IFTTT’s advantage, though, that means they’ll have a better understanding of how real people use the software by the time they reach the enterprise, if that should come to pass. Meanwhile, Effektif has the support of a larger organization already operating in the enterprise space.
The new service is available today, with sign up on its homepage here.