Time well spent: Miroslav Samoylenko uses Mendix to make people’s work easier
In today’s maker profile, we speak with Miroslav Samoylenko, Managing Technical Architect at Ingersoll-Rand. Miroslav strives to make people’s work lives better with technology. See how he’s doing that at Ingersoll-Rand and with Mendix.
What is your education and professional background? Talk about your prior development experience.
In 1997, back in Ukraine, I received a Ph.D. in applied mathematics. After doing some fundamental research, I switched to the ERP world. The last twenty or so years, I’ve worked for multiple consulting companies working on enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications. I started with BAAN, then moved to SAP, and now I work with Oracle Business Suite. Then I started doing architecture for the enterprise.
What brought you to ERP? Why the move to enterprise architecture?
ERP grew up. It became the foundation of the contemporary enterprise. I don’t want to say I was a visionary back in 1996 or ’97, when I got my SAP training, but once I went through that, I realized that this type of software is something upon which a lot of people rely. And I’ll be able to influence the lives of many people, how they live their day from 8AM to 5PM.
These days, we’re moving into microservice architecture, and you have technologies like Mendix to build a custom experience. The effect of ERPs on the way people work has diminished. The reason I’m moving away from ERP and into enterprise architecture is that I see the continuation of my journey on how people live their lives. 50% of our lives are spent in an office. That time better be spent well. I want to help people live those lives happily.
How were you introduced to Mendix? What was your initial reaction?
About two years ago, we started evaluating low-code platforms to be introduced into the Ingersoll-Rand portfolio. We were looking to increase speed to market. We have a relatively large group of people who are building in .NET. So we built our experience using Oracle Application Express (APEX). We build some things with SalesForce. They required a lot of coding, and the time to market was very large, so we wanted to reduce that time. I was asked to give Mendix a test drive. I didn’t even know low-code existed before this.
My initial reaction was that this was nothing special. My preferred rapid application development tool for the web was Oracle APEX. When I was learning Mendix, I was subconsciously comparing it to APEX.
So what was it that sold you on Mendix?
Mendix handles a lot of technical things. For example, I don’t have to spin off yet another database, because it’s built into the platform. I don’t have to think about how I want to mandate that every application implements security because that’s built into the platform. Now I can concentrate on the business value when I develop applications with Mendix. Of course, there’s the re-usability of components, that’s what I think is most appealing about Mendix, the notion of modules. I can separate my business logic into a module, extract that model from my application, and then re-import into other applications and get my business logic in place. That was exceptionally appealing to me.
Mendix is here. It’s the technology for today.
What was the most helpful learning Mendix?
The online tutorials are absolutely fantastic. The quality and depth of them and the quality of online help from Mendix is absolutely outstanding. I took the Rapid Developer certification course and mandated all the people who work for me to take that too.
What have you built using the platform?
Right now, we are improving customer experience with our back-office applications. The back-office applications publish their functionality through web services, and we visualize those web services through Mendix UI. We’ve been building with Mendix for about a year and half. We’ve built five or six applications, all of which handle data entry, and which, at the push of a button, calls an ERP web service.
At the end of the day, our developers that we’ve trained on Mendix agree that their productivity is 10 times better than using .NET technology. Whenever there is something to build, Mendix would be the first thing I would use.
Have you had any “a-ha!” moments using Mendix?
The Lucene module lets me build a Google-like search in my applications. The “a-ha” moment came when I downloaded it and realized that everything out there that is built in Java can be natively integrated into my Mendix application.
What advice would you give to other Mendix developers?
Push the limits of Mendix. There are so many applications of this technology.
How has Mendix made your life easier or better?
We use hosted version of Mendix; it makes all our custom applications SaaS. This fact helps me depart from monolithic application design and move to microservice architecture to the company. We can also demonstrate speed at which we develop and can sprint through while we’re adopting the agile methodology at Ingersoll-Rand.
Describe Mendix in your own words.
Mendix is here. It’s the technology for today. It’s a good, contemporary stack to build contemporary applications and IT solutions.