SAP Customer’s Guide to Low-Code: SAP Build, Mendix, or Both?
Low-code is hot. In fact, according to both Gartner and Forrester, it is the future of almost all application development in organizations. That’s why SAP has been working closely with Mendix for years and also recently launched its own low-code product: SAP Build. But what should SAP customers use: Mendix, SAP Build, or a combination?
Together with Coen Sanderink, Business Technology Advisor at SAP, we looked at both products and where they might best fit with a given use case.
What is SAP Build?
SAP Build is a combination of SAP Build Apps (an enhanced version of AppGyver’s no-code app builder), SAP Build Process Automation (for workflow management and robotic process automation), and SAP Build Work Zone (for building portals and business sites). It allows SAP users to build low-code apps, workflows, RPA, and business sites.
With SAP Build, users visually develop applications, advanced workflows, and business sites that fully integrate with existing SAP environments without a single line of code. Although enterprises can develop with SAP Build for SAP and non-SAP systems, the solution is optimized for building out SAP S/4HANA and adjacent SAP platforms such as Concur, Fieldglass, and Ariba.
What is Mendix?
Mendix is the leading low-code enterprise app development platform. The goals of Mendix are to help enterprises develop applications faster, better, and at lower cost through business/IT collaboration.
In 2017, SAP appointed Mendix as a Solution Extension partner for low-code. Since then, the two organizations have worked closely together to optimally integrate their products at all levels of the tech stack. In 2019, Mendix was acquired by Siemens, itself a major SAP user and partner.
SAP customers use Mendix, among other things, to remove customization from SAP ECC (“make the core clean”) or to avoid customization in SAP S/4HANA (“keep the core clean”).
What happens to Mendix as a result of SAP Build?
Nothing! SAP now has two preferred solutions when it comes to low-code. SAP continues to develop integration with Mendix, and both companies continue to innovate together. So, customers can always choose what suits them best.
When to use Mendix and when to use SAP Build?
SAP Build and Mendix have functional similarities and differences, but they are constantly iterating. If you only look at the features and functions of both solutions, you might quickly lose sight of the forest through the trees.
Here are the three critical differences:
- SAP Build is a modern and broad platform that SAP has further developed based on AppGyver and integrated with two existing SAP products: Process Automation and Work Zone. Mendix is a mature, all-in-one platform for low-code app development with powerful capabilities in workflow management, artificial intelligence, cloud, data integration, and process automation.
- SAP Build integrates with SAP and non-SAP applications but is mainly focused on SAP and comes with many predefined SAP content for standard business processes. Mendix has strong SAP integration but not as much predefined content. On the other hand, Mendix is not labeled as an SAP product, making the platform more accessible to non-SAP developers. In addition, Mendix lends itself more easily to overarching integration between SAP and non-SAP systems.
- SAP Build apps and SAP Mendix apps both run on SAP BTP. This ensures authentication, security, and integration with the SAP landscape. Mendix can also run in other clouds and on-premises if that fits better with a particular company policy.
Can enterprises use both SAP Build and Mendix?
Especially within larger organizations, Mendix and SAP Build go well together.
Before using multiple platforms, though, think about the use cases and strengths for each platform. Moreover, clearly define who can or should use which platform for what.
Not sure of the best solution for a particular problem? SAP and Mendix would be happy to organize a joint workshop.
During such workshops, we collaborate with organizations to brainstorm on suitable low-code use cases that deliver value for both IT and the business.
We go through critical areas such as:
- Is the idea solvable with low-code?
- How complex is it?
- How visible is it?
- How much value does such a project deliver?
Then we examine whether SAP Build, Mendix, or both is the best fit to realize these ideas. At the end of the workshop, organizations will have a concrete picture of the added value that Mendix and SAP Build can have. Moreover, you will leave the session with an outline for a comprehensive low-code strategy and roadmap.
Options for every customer
Reach out to either your SAP or Mendix representatives to discuss the possibilities and potential use cases.