Screenshots of Captio App on Nokia PhonesThe Captio platform makes it simple for users to accurately report expenses on-the-go using a mobile app to improve accuracy and consistency, while at the same time giving managers a web-based interface for expense tracking, approval, and reporting. By combining expense reporting and expense management into a single, seamless workflow, Captio is saving its customers significant time and money.

The platform was required to accurately read data from photos of paper documents taken in a wide variety of conditions, requiring access to the mobile device’s camera and other native functionality. By delivering this powerful, yet intuitive reporting interface, they have allowed customers to cut the time employees spend on expense-related tasks by 80% or more.

The Necessity of Cross-Platform Coverage

Key to the platform’s competitive advantage is a smooth user experience for the widest range of mobile devices used in business today, including iOS, Android, and Windows Phone. It’s critical for Captio to reach their users on whatever device they choose to use—or whatever device their company requires them to carry. When a company adopts a bring-your-own-device policy, Captio must be available on the fullest range of devices allowed.

The team did not believe it was feasible to develop and support native applications for every target platform, leading them to consider cross-platform development tools. A brief experiment with other cross-platform solutions revealed efficiency problems that would jeopardize scalability, leading the team to try Xamarin.

In Xamarin, Captio discovered the development platform they are still using four years later to support and improve their mobile applications, with a team of just two developers maintaining their apps across all major platforms.

One Codebase

The ability to use the same code to target multiple ecosystems is critical to Captio’s success. “Xamarin is the only solution that allows us to use our existing development skills to create native apps for all of the mobile platforms we need to reach,” reports Dan Moser, Marketing Director at Captio.

Given Captio’s reach, the development team required to create and maintain separate native applications and their underlying codebases would have been astronomical. Xamarin enables the team to create native applications for each platform from a single C# codebase.

“Code sharing was one of the main factors of choosing Xamarin,” says Lluis Claramonte, CTO at Captio. “We are able to reuse 70-80% of our code across platforms.” In order to create even more efficiency, the team is considering Xamarin.Forms in order to leverage the same user experience code across platforms.

Maximum Value from Existing Skills

The Captio developers already knew .NET development, so the ability to create native apps using that framework greatly sped up the application’s time to market. They used their familiar integrated development environment, Visual Studio, and were able to get started creating new functionality right away. Moser says, “We already know C# and .NET very well, so we can develop and support our applications with our own team. We didn’t have to hire specialists or learn a whole new language.”

Optimized User Experiences with Xamarin Insights

In their quest to give users and businesses the best experience, Captio uses Xamarin Insights to monitor crashes and react quickly to problems faced by customers through real-time monitoring and precise, detailed error reporting. According to Claramonte, “With Xamarin Insights, we can see the issues that might impact customers and in many cases, we solve them before customers are impacted,”.

The team has continued to develop and advance the Captio mobile application across platforms since its initial launch, leveraging Xamarin “to provide users with the widest palette of options for managing expenses and making their lives easier,” explains Moser.