While most every business and technology executive now gets the idea that every company needs to be a software company if it expects to thrive in the digital age, the finance, legal and realty professions may very well never be the same again.
At the Mendix World 2016 conference it became apparent that a number of companies are leveraging advances in cloud platforms for rapid application deliver to disrupt their industries and grab market share from rivals by pioneering new business models.
eXp Realty disrupts brokerage model by going all-in on digital
For example, eXp Realty is a startup venture transforming the real estate business by making it possible for brokers to sell homes using applications as a service in a way that eliminates the need for them to pay to affiliate themselves with a national brokerage chain.
eXp CEO Glenn Sanford says eXp has already grabbed a substantial portion of the North American real estate market using a model that doesn’t require brokers to operate out of a traditional office. Instead, they have avatars they use to participate in an online community that functions as a virtual office, right down to providing the digital equivalent of the water cooler.
Sanford told attendees eXp plans to achieve that goal by rapidly accelerating application development using a model-driven programming environment.
“We’ve already used Mendix to do two years’ worth of work in a month,” says Sanford. “We’re all in. Our goal is to create an end-to-end transaction management workflow.”
Tools4Legal automates legal workflows
In a similar vein, Tools4Legal is using Mendix to disrupt the legal industry across Europe. Instead of paying for legal services by the hour, Tools4Legal charges a flat fee. Tools4Legal co-founder Filip Corveleyn says the primary reason Tool4Legal can take this approach is that it used Mendix to create project management applications to automate the workflow surrounding legal documents. Turns out, most of what clients pay for has little to do with the law itself.
“Most of the time that lawyers bill for really involves project management,” says Corveleyn. “But from a client perspective legal services are a block box.”
By automating much of those processes, Corveleyn says Tools4Legal is now one of several firms disrupting how legal services are both delivered and consumed.
Geoffrey Moore, noted author of “Crossing the Chasm” and more recently “Zone to Win,” concluded the conference by observing that digital business disruption is now pervasive. As such, business and IT leaders will need to think very differently about their IT strategies.
“It will be a very different world. Every company will be a software company,” says Moore. “IT will be the fabric of the company.”