Exponential Growth with Pioneer at the Pinnacle: Nate Walton

Exponential growth with Pioneer at the Pinnacle: Nate Walton

The Mendix Pioneers Program is a global community of innovative industry leaders blazing an inventive trail forward in enterprise software development. Pioneers engage with other Platform experts, attend special events, and influence the Mendix product roadmap through workshops and meetings with Mendix executives and R&D.

Every month, we name one Pioneer at the Pinnacle to acknowledge their visionary accomplishments with the Mendix Platform.

The Mendix Pioneer at the Pinnacle for August 2022 is Nate Walton, Websites Manager at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah in the United States.

BYU’s formula for modern development success

For over two and half years now, the team in the Office of IT at Brigham Young University (BYU) has been using the Mendix platform to create a robust portfolio of apps. What started out as a team of six developers in the Office of IT has grown exponentially to include both full-time and student developers across the many academic colleges, departments, and sister schools of BYU.

To put that into better context, they currently have 620 people who have signed up for a Mendix account under their organization. Of those, there are 138 who are Rapid Developer certified, six who are Intermediate certified, and one who is Expert certified. Nate Walton, who has been involved with this for the past year and a half, had this to say about the growth:

We spent a lot of energy early on in training people to use Mendix, and there’s been successful adoption all around.

The biggest hurdle they face when expanding their development team is in broadening team members’ mindsets from a more traditional programming paradigm (e.g. typing text into an editor) to one where they are working with a visual IDE. So far they’ve been able to handle this by improving their training and mentoring for Mendix.

Developing an effective app portfolio

Across the organization, there are currently over 80 apps in production. With so many people involved in developing, BYU has been able to create apps that have made a marked difference to students and staff. One such app is a university resource planning app that replaced a large spreadsheet and several other documents that were emailed around every year when it was time for the university leadership to decide where to allocate resources for the coming year.

Other valuable apps include an API credential manager, which is essential to the university’s data infrastructure, as well as apps for things like scheduling appointments at the student health center, managing requirements for teaching certifications, setting up payroll deduction donations to the local United Way charity, or booking a group stay at the university’s Aspen Grove family camp, to name a few.

As the team at BYU looks to the future, they are currently in the middle of building a student club management app that will allow people to start a new student club, find one to join, plan events, and manage approvals, a process that can be complex, oftentimes involving club advisors, university leaders, and risk management. The team is using the Mendix workflow feature to handle this – something that may open the door to improving other processes at the university in the future.

We find that it just takes some experience with Mendix to see its capabilities.

Speaking of the future, other goals include streamlining their approach to launching apps, training new developers, and expanding Mendix use to the point that there is Mendix expertise on every IT team at BYU. They also hope to put a robust deployment pipeline in place that includes automated testing, connections to their change management system, and more.

Nate and the team at BYU have accomplished so much already, it will be exciting to see how they grow next!