A few years ago, after discovering a talent for distilling problems into concrete solutions, Leon de Kuiper decided to change careers and become a requirement analyst. After all, the need for companies to innovate would only continue to grow, as would the challenges they faced, and putting his talent to good use to help them address those issues seemed like a good fit. An acquaintance agreed but offered a slightly different path: Learn to develop using Mendix and he could address problems while also creating solutions.
Soon after, Leon joined a Dutch company that was offering traineeships for people who wanted to move into low-code development. Little did he know that this would eventually lead to him founding his own company as an Expert Mendix Consultant.
“There’s this tool called Mendix that puts both the requirement analyst and the maker into one seat.” – Leon de Kuiper, Founder, Blue Green Solutions.
Low-code, the freelance years
Learning the Mendix low-code platform opened up a world of freelance opportunities for Leon, and he dove in head-first. The SME companies he worked with often became inspired by the capabilities they found in the Mendix Platform, seeing the potential for more use cases than they anticipated, or any one person could handle and started asking Leon if he had others he could bring on projects as a team.
This proved to be a turning point.
Seizing the opportunity, Leon built up a team and Blue Green Solutions was founded. Today, they work on Mendix projects for companies of all sizes, from small and mid-sized enterprises to larger organizations.
Why Mendix Basic and what you can do
Working as an implementation partner brought Leon and the team at Blue Green Solutions avenues for increased experience while working on exciting projects. One such project was ZendeQ, a company in the transport sector dealing globally with large companies that have traditionally had a hard time finding each other. The freight quoting tool that Blue Green Solutions was able to build was made all the better by being built within budget using Mendix Basic. Mendix Basic made the bottom-line work for a SaaS startup that wanted to iterate and innovate quickly.
Another project led to an idea for an unexpected stream of income for the client. Leon and his team were approached with the request to build a booking platform that would allow clients to configure their own floor plans for self-storage units. Not only would customers be able to visually choose a storage unit through the browser, but the tool itself would also need to communicate with both the CRM and accounting software.
The client had looked around for a similar program but would have had to purchase an off-the-shelf bookkeeping software suite, which would have resulted in them getting locked in on the systems for their website and their accounting. The team at Blue Green Solutions recognized that if their client was facing a problem finding what they were looking for, then others in their industry might also be looking for a similar solution. They realized:
“Not only could the client solve their own problem with this project, but they could also turn it around and sell it to others in their industry as well. “
Blue Green Solutions set about building an application that any company could use to enhance the booking flow with a visual element and set up a proposition with the client to resell their solution as a SaaS, noting that the easy way that the Basic license scales per user made this proposition possible.
Companies large and small – what do they have in common?
The number one thing that companies who approach Blue Green Solutions have in common, despite their size, is that they have a hard time iterating. For larger companies it’s because they are likely using waterfall and have a lot of processes around the creation of code, making it hard for them to accept or align iterations. Smaller companies on the other hand are used to consuming a product off the shelf, as developing one isn’t their field of expertise.
Another commonality Leon and his team see frequently are clients misunderstanding what Mendix fundamentally is. They will often think of Mendix as a product rather than a visual integrated development environment (IDE), and therefore spend time wondering about whether, for example, notifications come with the license, versus understanding that at their fingertips is a tool that will allow them to build whatever they would like – notifications included.
“With Mendix there are countless aspects that make development even faster, like the modules, marketplace, building block, etc. But in the end I’m coding, I’m not configuring or customizing, I’m specifically coding your requirements, but lightning fast.” – Leon de Kuiper
Resistance to low-code
It’s a cliche, but it’s true that traditional, high coders are under the assumption that when low-code enters their company, they’re in competition with it for their job. Showing them that isn’t necessarily the case is something Leon considers to be an important part of the work he does, largely because they are often the first team that starts to evolve and cooperate with the low-code team
“Low-code isn’t there to replace them, it’s just going to add innovation – not destroy their contribution to what they do in the company. High coders can focus on what they are good at, technical services that low-code consumes.”
Leon and the team at Blue Green Solutions are excited by the work they’re doing and are keen to continue bringing small businesses up to speed. With so many entrepreneurial people out there, running their own small businesses and solving their own problems, Leon sees an opportunity with Mendix Basic – not just in developing solutions to support a rapidly expanding business, but in adding another dimension to their business model by selling their developed tools in the Mendix Marketplace.
“I believe in Mendix and I think the biggest hurdle now is to get as many people around the world up to speed on how to properly use the tooling.” – Leon de Kuiper