Mendix on June 27, 2013
This week we heard from two application delivery experts from Capgemini, one of the world’s foremost providers of technology consulting. Delivery Manager – Emerging Solutions, Jasper Koeleman, and Business Innovation Thought Leader, Arjan Hendriksen presented “How to Make Change a Strategy at Your Organization” – a hot topic for executives in capricious markets where the need to be adaptable, responsive, and resourceful are ever present.
Capgemini has built Mendix into the application delivery strategies of several of its clients, spawning a heuristic that offers our audience three compelling ways in which they’ve fruitfully (and repeatedly) used the Mendix App Platform to achieve faster results from their application development projects. Beginning their presentation with a familiar metaphor, Hendriksen explained the fundamental difference between an enterprise’s core systems and its more differentiating custom applications that give them a competitive edge:
“What we see is that a lot of companies have trains and busses that are large core applications, usually SAP or Oracle or another big player – a large system that is not flexible.” These applications are virtually the same within different organizations. He goes on to explain that “A train application has a steady path, it’s planned, and it’s there for a long time.”
“But of course not all companies are the same. There are a lot of applications and a lot of ways that a company needs to distinguish itself in the market and to be able to respond quickly to changes in the market. Such applications we say are car and scooter applications. With a car, you are much more flexible – you can drive anywhere, and a scooter can get you that last mile.”
The first of the three approaches subsequently presented is astutely named Capgemini’s “Agile Factory.” This is a standardized combination of methodology and technology that enables companies to build applications and respond to immediate business needs quickly and effectively. The Mendix App Platform enables agile development teams to start building with only high level requirements, and allows them to continuously adapt and mold the application to the business need at hand – a great improvement over the typical 1+ year of creating specification documents ahead of time. A car or scooter application can be custom built to solve a specific, oft unexpected, business problem – or destination.
In some cases, extending a train application with a more direct route is necessary. Koeleman explained a recent project for PostNL, a logistics company that needed to integrate and extend its SAP implementation in a hurry. With fixed deadlines looming, Capgemini recommended the Mendix App Platform to help PostNL merge their back-office and front-office systems into one Customer Office. The application made case management more flexible and was completed with time to spare. In this case, building new functionality in SAP wasn’t an option. (It turns out building a new train station just for this trip, in this amount of time, would have been impossible.)
The final example presented in the webinar involved application maintenance. Sometimes your applications fulfill their function adequately, but they look like they were built in another decade. For these projects, Mendix is particularly well suited to build an updated user interface and effectively future-proof applications from there on out. Notably, by including a feedback button on every page of an application, end users or the development team can submit feedback, questions, and ideas that then get routed directly to the team’s project management module. With a few clicks, a piece of feedback becomes a user story, gets prioritized and thoughtfully planned into a sprint.
These three ways in which Capgemini puts Mendix to work at its clients reflect the broad need for app platforms that make application development easier, faster, and more effective. We are very happy to see Capgemini has adopted and mastered our technology to benefit its clients, and we look forward to seeing the applications they deliver in the future.
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