Skip to main content

For successful Low-Code projects, always set a clear goal on the horizon

19 February 2024 • Blog


What is the best way to start digitizing with low-code? How do you do that in a way that avoids the biggest pitfalls? And how do you reinvigorate innovation in your business with low-code? These were the key questions addressed during Bizzomate Meet & Mx, on Feb. 5 with the theme “Discover the power of Mendix low-code. The main conclusion: any problem around digitization is solvable, as long as you have a clear picture of the “goal on the horizon,” put it on paper and communicate it clearly.

This edition of Meet & Mx took place at the Gulpener Beer Brewery near the place, where Bizzomate was founded over a decade ago. A good number of SMEs from the region were present because many companies see the need for digitization. A survey we conducted beforehand showed that if digitization projects are not followed through, companies fear operational inefficiencies, higher costs and lower productivity.

Founder Marc Gelissen opened the afternoon and then gave the floor to Jan-Paul Rutten, head of the Gulpener Beer Brewery and the eighth generation to head this family business. In a highly competitive beer market, he knows better than anyone how important it is to always keep your eyes on the horizon if you want to survive in the market.

Setting a new & clear goal on the horizon in time is essential.

Jan-Paul paints a picture of how his father began thinking about the importance of sustainability in beer brewing back in the 1990s. A thought that aroused quite a bit of resistance at the time. Fellow executives asked: will it make us sell more beer or will it make beer cheaper? The answer in both cases was “no. Still, he persevered. He strengthened ties with the region’s farmers and soon only local ingredients were used in Gulpener beer even though the quality fluctuated more due to weather conditions and the beer became more expensive.

Now over thirty years later, his story of sustainability is one of the key differentiators of the Gulpener Brewery. When Jan-Paul became managing director in 2015, he continued his father’s focus. He set a new goal on the horizon: by 2030, the brewery must run completely fossil-free. He, too, faced a lot of resistance in the beginning. It was said that it was impossible to adequately heat boilers without fossil energy. Yet only a few weeks later, employees came up with the first ideas of how it could be realized. Since then, the brewery has come a long way and, with a local supplier of heat pump technology, they are well on their way to becoming the most sustainable brewhouse in Europe.

Jan-Paul stresses the importance of putting a goal on the horizon on paper if you want to innovate. Only when you do that and the noses are all in the same direction do people really start thinking about it. By the way, this does not mean that by putting a vision on paper, you must immediately change everything. Jan-Paul ends his story by stating that it is precisely by taking small steps and adjusting them ever so slightly during the process that you have the greatest chance of reaching the final goal.

If you want to achieve your goal step by step, in the IT world they would call it “agile. That’s where Charles Bronzwaer elaborates. As the second speaker, he will show how important digitization is in today’s business world and elaborate on the trade-offs companies face.

Digitization can no longer be put off

Charles argues that every company eventually becomes a software company. Staff, customers and suppliers increasingly expect digital processes in a company to be in order. They simply aren’t used to anything else anymore, whether in their personal lives or business. Digitized processes in a company are increasingly becoming the new normal. Many companies want this too but struggle with making the right resources available. A challenge that is at least partly solvable by first making concrete exactly what you need when it comes to digitization.

Customization? A layer of flexible software around your existing systems?

And then choose ‘buy’ or ‘build’ software? The disadvantage of standard software is that it often fails to meet your company’s needs, resulting in the need for additional systems or modifications to the software. The disadvantages are inefficiency or additional security challenges because you have to keep too many different systems secure. In addition, often only thirty percent of the functionality of standard software is utilized, while you pay for one hundred percent.

With low-code, you can quickly build custom systems that meet the exact needs of your business. Because you can easily visualize what the application will look like during the development process, you can make adjustments during the development process. A successful low-code application ultimately enables your company to do more work with the same amount of people, improve the customer and employee experience and accelerate innovation.

Charles closes his talk with some examples that illustrate how mature low-code technology is. Many business critical systems today are based on it. At the Belgian fries factory Agristo (click for case & video), for example, a low-code application is used to monitor fries quality. The PostNL app that processes some 1.5 million packages daily is also a low-code app. In short, low-code is a mature technology more than 10 years after its inception, and it can support any company’s digitization needs.

Tips for companies looking to get started with low-code

Belgium’s EasytoCare, logistics service provider Seacon and Sitech Technieksystemen can speak for themselves. They are from this region and

have digitized their processes with low-code. In the panel discussion led by Marc Gelissen, they provide some important tips for companies looking to get started with low-code.

Desi Swartilé, is Program Manager at Easytocare (click for case study). This company takes medical professionals’ processing of both paper and digital records completely out of their hands. They do so with a low-code application built on top of their current system. Daisy bendad stresses the importance of a thorough internal investigation if you are going to start digitizing. Through the thorough preliminary research, they found out at Easytocare that the many variables they face was their biggest challenge in building the application. By taking this into account when building the application, many pitfalls could be avoided.

Elias Becker, is Director of Supply Chain Solutions at logistics provider Seacon (click for case study). At Seacon, too, they wanted to go digital and they chose low-code. Elias reemphasizes the importance of a small but impactful application when starting out. At Seacon, that became an application that automatically stores master data and pushes it to other applications. A small application but now that this is a success, he sees confidence in low-code and agile working growing. It’s not just about the software but really a business transition, according to Elias.

The final panelist is Rob Gülickers, the CTO of Sitech Services, an engineering & maintenance company at the Chemelot site in Geleen. Many work processes at Sitech still took place on paper. Rob wanted to get started with digitization and started two pilot projects. He also faced considerable resistance. Suddenly it became clear that no one really knew the work process from a to z. They found that out by making it visual with low-code .

His advice for companies getting started with low-code? If you face a lot of resistance, ask yourself if it’s because of the low-code application or the work process itself? If it’s down to the work process itself, don’t be discouraged and continue along the path you’ve taken. One of the biggest critics at Sitech finally gave in when it became apparent how convenient it was to finally have all the information about the site together thanks to the low-code application.

No successful digitization without a goal on the horizon

After the Q&A, Marc Gelissen closed the official program. The final conclusion of the day? Just start, make sure your end goal is clear and you communicate about it Be prepared, during “your journey” to the end goal entirely according to agile principles, to constantly adjust your route according to the challenges you encounter along the way. Then you are most likely to achieve your goal with digitization.

Attending the next Meet & Mx?

Would you also like to learn ‘live’ more about digitizing business processes with low-code? Are you curious about other companies’ experiences? Then leave your details here and we’ll send you an invitation to the next Meet & Mx.

We will help you further!

Replace outdated systems, digitize complex business processes and accelerate innovation.

Get in touch