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Mendix CEO Heralds Age of Smart Apps

on June 7, 2016

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At the Mendix World 2016 conference attended by 2,700 business and IT professionals, Mendix CEO Derek Roos called for the building of a new generation of Smart Apps that proactively leverage all available data sources to provide a more context-aware user experience.

Roos says the IT industry has entered a new age of algorithms that enable organizations of all sizes to leverage, for example, the Internet of Things (IoT) to create a much smarter application experience. Those applications, says Roos, will be informed by machine learning algorithms and artificial intelligence technologies that enable them to proactively make recommendations that take into account location and other forms of relevant context.

“Every product is now being equipped with sensors that provide data,” says Roos. “You name it and it will be digitized.”

The most notable thing about these Smart Apps, says Roos, is they don’t have to rely on input from end users to create business value. They proactively guide the user what to do and when, coming to them via push notifications, chat bots and SaaS plugins versus the user having to go to the app.

2016-06-07 11.09.46To make it much simpler to build Smart Apps, Roos today previewed a forthcoming release of the Mendix rapid application delivery platform that makes it simpler for developers of any skill level to invoke a broad range of component services spanning everything from machine learning algorithms and the IBM Watson cognitive computing platform to a broad range of public cloud computing services from AWS and Microsoft.

“The world’s most powerful technologies are being democratized,” says Roos. “They’re now accessible to anyone with an Internet connection.”

Roos also highlighted the forthcoming Mendix Web Modeler that will allow even more business stakeholders and end users to participate in the development of those applications using a cloud-based integrated development environment (IDE).

“This is an innovation platform for the digital enterprise,” says Roos. “It represents a major milestone.”

The end goal, says Roos, is to make it a lot simpler for organizations to engage in bimodal IT strategies. While systems of record need to be managed conservatively, Roos says delivering a portfolio of digital business initiatives requires a more agile approach to application development, supported by the right people, processes and platforms.

Achieving that goal, adds Roos, requires an open platform through which end users and IT professionals can easily collaborate with one another around a particular business process. To make that occur Roos says organizations need to commit to starting a project that will create at the very least a working application in about 30 days. They then need to add structure to their teams and processes to start building out a portfolio of applications, which should then be followed by putting all the procedures and governance in place to eventually scale across the enterprise.

Mendix, says Roos, is specifically designed to significantly reduce the complexity associated with building advanced applications that today are simply too challenging for most organizations to build even if they could find someone with the required expertise needed to build them using other types of tools. In place of those tools Mendix provides a framework that enables anyone in the organization, for example, to invoke machine learning algorithms and other advanced technologies without requiring them to have intimate knowledge of how each of those capabilities are constructed. The end result is a new generation of Smart Apps that Roos says will soon transform most businesses.

“The technology is here,” says Roos. “The only limits now are your imagination.”

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Mike Vizard

About Mike Vizard

Michael Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist, with nearly 30 years of experience writing and editing about enterprise IT issues. He is a contributor to publications including Programmableweb, IT Business Edge, CIOinsight and UBM Tech. He formerly was editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise, where he launched the company’s custom content division, and has also served as editor in chief for CRN and InfoWorld. He also has held editorial positions at PC Week, Computerworld and Digital Review.