Securex Reconnects IT and Business with Low-Code Development
When Frans Temmerman joined Securex as CIO back in 2014, he knew changes needed to be made. The IT department of the international human capital management services company was viewed as “a manager of the past,” according to Temmerman, and those on the business side were losing faith in the department.
Slow development, lack of transparency, and little collaboration were cited as reasons for the business’ lowered expectations of the IT department.
Recognizing that changes needed to be made, Temmerman put into action a plan that would turn around Securex’s IT team, put them in a position to develop more business solutions and boost their reputation within the organization.
Optimizing IT with Mendix
Securex IT felt the burden that most companies feel throughout the software development process. They were encumbered with time-consuming activities like requesting and provisioning a new server, creating and updating database schema, and setting up a test suite. To respond better to the business, they needed to be more efficient.
Temmerman understood that to meet the business’ needs, Securex would need a low-code platform that would allow them to move away from traditional development and the waterfall methodology. Using low-code would increase the speed of development to deliver applications faster. Ultimately, investment in a low-code tool would show the rest of the business a greater commitment to creating innovative and differentiating business solutions.
Temmerman charged Securex Solutions Architect Boris Matthys to find a low-code platform that could help them. After an extensive search, Matthys chose the Mendix Platform.
“The duration of the project is the same, but you’re delivering more.”
Mendix offered not only a model-driven approach to coding that makes development faster, but it also took away a lot of the efforts that go into managing the software development process. With the Mendix Platform, getting a new container is as simple as a ticket to Mendix support. Fewer resources are being used on the database side, because database administration can be handled by the developer. Testing is faster and simpler because of the automated testing suite, which allows Securex to set up the test suite and create test cases much faster.
The Mendix Platform offered the combination of speed and efficiency that Matthys and Temmerman were seeking. Developing at an unprecedented speed would allow them to focus on developing those innovative applications that the business desired.
The pilot project Matthys created was the HR Calculations application. Matthys formed a team that consisted of two Securex Java developers, one Mendix Expert Services consultant, and a developer from BPM Company, a certified partner of Mendix. What would have taken Matthys and a team of developers three months to create only took 29 days to develop and evaluate with Mendix.
The next project Matthys and team tackled was the Prevention Unit Simulation app. This tool functions as a centralized service catalog for customers, wherein they buy and assemble a custom package of services. The previous iteration was in an Excel format and often led to incomplete or out-of-date information from customers. Updating this catalog was a high priority, as it was a way to gain new customers—the Securex sales team uses this tool when talking to customers—and keep existing customers happy.
The faster the team launched this app, the faster Securex could acquire customers. The business asked IT if they could rebuild with Mendix. Matthys and his team built a new system that reduces version control and makes it easier to use. Matthys and team delivered the tool in one month, and in three months, ROI was realized.
From then on, the Securex IT team has developed every new front-end app with Mendix.
In their initial business case, Securex expected to develop five applications throughout 2018. In the first seven months alone, the team has created ten front-end applications (five in running production, three in user acceptance testing, and two in development).
Here are a few apps broken down by their numbers:
- HR Calculations
- 12 days to develop MVP
- 29 days to launch application
- 1 month to complete
- 3 months, value realized
- 80% of customers deem this the most important tool in Securex’s customer portal.
To increase efficiency, establish brand continuity, and eliminate non-value-added work, Matthys and team find great value in the following tools:
- A standardized template application
- Database administration
- Deployment from the portal
- The Mendix App Store
- Standard UI widgets
While Matthys is impressed with the increased output, he’s more impressed with Securex IT’s ability to deliver a more fully-realized product in the same amount of time it would’ve taken just to release a minimum viable product: “The duration of the project is the same, but you’re delivering more.”
Using Mendix allows time for his developers to better assess the business case for the solution and deliver something truly usable and valuable.
More than just speed and quantity
Securex has been able to apply their brand across all apps, giving a sense of unity to their product offering. That sense of unity is spilling out into the organization as well.
Since seeing the IT team invest in a set of modern tools, Securex employees are impressed and business units are eager to work with the IT team and Matthys.
“They’re collaborating and working faster,” Temmerman says.
Speed and efficiency are important, but regaining the trust of other parts of the business is the best return on investment Temmerman could ask for in adopting Mendix.
Business units are excited that they can design solutions themselves and have more input into the way applications work. With an IT team that is more transparent and less conservative, the Business is realizing that IT is a partner to help them achieve their goals.
When Securex invested in Mendix, Temmerman wanted to make sure that the message was clear: “We’re changing the way you’re working.”
No longer is IT a manager of the past. They’re shaping the future of the organization and making Securex a better place to work.