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This is what we’ve learned from Mendix World 2021!

Mendix World 2021 is over, and what a ride it was! Of course, we held our own presentations, but Mendix announced a series of new services and features we’d like to talk to you about. Are you curious about the lessons we’ve learned during several of our case studies and do you want to hear more from the start with why-guru Simon Sinek? Read on!

Derek Roos, CEO and founder of Mendix kicked off Mendix World 2021. In his session, he introduced amongst other things Mendix Industry Clouds, a new vertical cloud environment with industry-specific solutions, communities and expertise for the production, the retail and financial industry. Bizzomate is definitely looking forward to being part of this valuable new industry-specific low-code community.

Eyecatcher of CTO Johan de Haan’s keynote was the new Mendix Data Hub 2.0. At Bizzomate we think Data Hub 1.0 was already a nice first setup, the Data Hub 2.0 makes it much more usable. Extensions such as CRUD activities, 3rd party integrations, and event-driven capability (capabilities) provide an enormous boost to this Mendix data virtualization service.  As a result, Mendix apps really become the kingpin in the IT landscape, whereby access to functionalities and a combined set of data becomes available to the end-user. In our opinion, this new data hub will add even more value for the end-users.

What about architecture?
The upgrade of the Mendix Data Hub offers many more options for designing a system. From now on, architecture will play a more important role as the systems become larger and more complex. For a developer it’s now easy to apply and implement options, but an architect will have to make more decisions. Is that a bad thing? No, having all these choices is great and makes it easier to meet customer needs. The Mendix platform brings all the existing and new services together; ‘Assemble’ is the magic word here. With the new Solutions platform, App services and connectors, the architecture of systems is expanding, offering even more value.

And Native?
An organization would like to be able to offer mobile (Native) applications because of UX, device capabilities, security, improving customer experience, increasing operational efficiency or for marketing opportunities. Having an app store is a plus.

A Low-Code platform like Mendix is ​ the easiest way to achieve this. Development is faster due to model driven development, and it can be published directly on multiple platforms. Can ‘everyone’ develop a mobile application? Yes, with little experience and knowledge of Mendix will make it easier. As Danny Roest, senior product manager of Mendix says: “Everyone can build a native mobile app with Mendix. With the right makers and mindset.”

The infinite game
During his session, Simon Sinek asks the question: what does it mean that Mendix is now the leader in low-code? The number one when it comes to building software? Not if you’re asking Simon Sinek, author of ‘Start with why’ and ‘The infinite game’. Yes, of course, Mendix is a ‘business leader’, but Sinek will ask you: in what game? “You cannot be number one in a game with no fixed rules and ever-changing players. It’s an infinite game, there are now winners and losers. A finite game, like a sports match, is clear about winning and losing. The goal of an infinite game is to make it last as long as possible.”

And yes, we people like goals and metrics, they make us feel better. Metrics can make us ecstatic, for example when it comes to sports, or the struggle for weight loss. But what happens when a company doesn’t reach a certain goal? Nothing, says Sinek. The company will start over, trying to improve the previous result.
Climate change is a great example of the infinite game: it’s not about winning, it’s about improvement.

And that, Sinek emphasized, is the key role of CEO’s and managers. They are not responsible for the result, but for the people. Leadership is not about being in charge. Something to think about when your boss aims to be ‘the number one in software’.

IHC keeps improving
Mendix World showed a lot of business cases with low-code in action. One of them was from our client, Royal IHC, a leading supplier of maritime technology, who built applications for condition monitoring of the ships. The application is part of the service Royal IHC offers her customers, to check the status of machinery and predict maintenance of the ships.

Product owner Laura Zwaan showed how the company digitized this process; first, customers only received a quarterly pdf about a ship’s status, often incomplete. Historical trend analysis wasn’t possible and communication wasn’t streamlined and only available through e-mail.

The Mendix platform turned this around. The applications solved these problems and Royal IHC now offers fast and visual software to her customers. The results? A lot of contract extensions, new contracts thanks to endorsements and savings on staff.

The lessons of the company are clear: Don’t be afraid to involve customers in every small step of the innovation process. Build your solution in small steps; you will get better feedback from the customers. And mostly, do not start without validating the need with your customers.

AZL
Pension provider AZL is one of our long-standing customers. We started working with them eight years ago when low code wasn’t even called low-code yet but rapid app development. By now, things are running smoothly. The pension portal that AZL developed with Bizzomate recently even made it to the finals of the Computable awards 2021. For AZL, working with the Mendix platform now feels like using a Swiss Army knife: you can do lots of different things with it! Over the years AZL developed many different low-code applications like an Employer portal, a pension fund portal and a Participant portal.

However, these low-code projects haven’t always been running so smoothly. Over the years both AZL and Bizzomate have learned some important lessons about working with low-code. Marc and Edward Heijkers CIO at AZL shared 3 lessons:
1) Never lose sight of what problem the application has to solve – What functionality do you really need? And which capabilities are needed to solve this problem?
2) Don’t be afraid to make mistakes – An agile way of working is all about making mistakes. Don’t be afraid, just do it and start your low-code journey!
3) Be honest to yourself as an organization – Be aware of what you can and can’t do and ask for help if needed. That is not a weakness but a strength.

The two men finish their session with a wise remark about closing the gap between IT and business: “We’ve learned that closing the gap between business and IT is not about the tooling, it’s about the people and demonstrating leadership in showing your people a new agile approach towards software development.”

Looking for more inspiration?
Looking for more inspiration from Mendix World? All sessions are available on the website of the event. After registration, you can watch every session. And if you’re really inspired, we’d be happy to help you start your own low-code project!

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