Imagina Energía Sustainably Innovates with Mendix & AWS

Imagina Energía is on a mission to revolutionize Spain’s energy landscape. Launched by Hanwha Energy in 2020, Imagina Energía specializes in providing innovative solar tools to both businesses and consumers who rely on self-consumption solutions or energy from the grid.

The solar industry, however, is struggling to digitize and optimize processes. This challenge is hindering the efficiency and user experience enhancements crucial in today’s market. With a small in-house development team, Imagina Energía found traditional development methods limiting its scalability and ability to meet these evolving demands.

To overcome these hurdles and deliver personalized experiences, Imagina Energía adopted the Mendix low-code development platform. Today, they’ve created three applications that streamline processes from client pricing to project management.

Embracing Low-code

Initially, Imagina Energía developed solutions in-house using traditional coding methods. They later turned to off-the-shelf tools to bridge the gaps in their IT strategy but faced challenges building upon existing platforms. 

“It’s a complex industry we’re in,” said Javier Pardo, CIO at Imagina Energía. “We were very focused on customizing platforms to our needs. But once we introduced a CRM system into the equation, that level of control became difficult. It led to long lead times. We realized that a change was needed.”

Pardo and his team knew that finding a low-code platform would be the best first step in their effort to digitize. With this goal in mind, they began researching well-known tools including Bubble, Appian and KissFlow. After careful consideration, they found Mendix to be the perfect fit because of its:

  • Rapid development capabilities – Reducing project timelines was a priority for Imagina Energía, and Mendix easily checked that box.
  • Intuitiveness and ease of adoption – Mendix lets organizations get more out of their workforce by empowering employees with little or no programming experience to have a hand in development.
  • Version control and flexibility – By avoiding reworking solutions, testing would be much easier, allowing Imagina Energía to develop in a more prototype-driven way. It also meant they would avoid focusing on maintenance, and instead deliver results more aligned with the business.
  • Collaborative nature – Since the company’s inception, business stakeholders were involved in development. But with Mendix, they’d play a more integral role in the design phase. Developers would be able to identify requirements from the onset and adjust rapidly.

Many at Imagina Energía were pleasantly surprised with Mendix when they first saw Mendix themselves, including Elda Renedo, an IT project manager.

“The first time they showed us the platform, it seemed so easy with a modern look,” she shared. “With traditional methods, there’s so many lines of code that aren’t easy to understand. I’m not a programmer or developer, so for me the functionality of the platform was more important.”

The largest push towards Mendix, however, was its seamless compatibility with AWS. Since its start, Imagina Energía has utilized a data lake strategy to extract key operational information, supported by tools like AWS Glue and Amazon Athena for analytics.

“Our first billing system was developed on top of AWS, and we were keen to keep utilizing their services,” Pardo explained.

Adopting Mendix meant Imagina Energía could continue leveraging those services without any disruption to their existing processes. Mendix has a large library of AWS connectors, and Imagina Energía is already using the Amazon Cognito connector for user authentication and Amazon DynamoDB for enhanced connectivity, with plans to use even more in the future.

Moreover, running on AWS implies easy deployment. “We only need to specify certain parameters, like the size of nodes, and then instruct AWS to deploy the application,” Pardo said.

Transforming Energy Workflows

Once the Mendix platform was introduced to Imagina Energía, they began digitizing internal processes to deliver an enhanced user experience and improve operational efficiency.

Everything “Clicks” Into Place

In the energy market, clients can purchase energy in the form of ‘clicks’ to fix their price within a fluctuating price index. Imagina Energía aimed to develop an application to streamline the negotiation process by displaying available contracts, market prices, and consumption data.

“The goal was to help our traders negotiate with clients and buy for them with more accurate real-time data,” Renedo shared.

In just one month, Imagina Energía developed MultiClick, which integrates with an electronic signing tool for contract processing at a fixed price. Once all parties — the client, Imagina Energía, and the energy traders — have signed the contracts, the application transmits the information to the backend billing system. From there, it uploads it to the AWS data lake for future access and snapshot creation.

MultiClick has been a resounding success. The application processed 30 clicks in the last few months with the company achieving their return of the investment in just 1 month.

“We’re minimizing the market price changes at a more customizable level and are preparing the business accordingly. It benefits us all,” Renedo shared. “Thanks to Mendix, we’ve been able to build a solution that benefits us, our clients, and our traders.”

Enhanced Contract Accessibility

Imagina Energía also digitized its contracting process in three months to eliminate delays associated with phone communication. The self-service customer application connects with Salesforce for client information and Google Maps for address verification. Tools including AWS Athena, AWS Glue, Amazon S3, and AWS Lambda ensure smooth delivery of pricing information.

According to Pardo, customer acquisition costs have significantly dropped thanks to the tool.

Streamlined Project Management

Due to Spanish regulations, energy sales require navigating through a web of bureaucracy. Imagina Energía tracks these sales through HubSpot. 

Recognizing the need for an improved solar project management architecture, the team swiftly developed a third Mendix application in just two weeks that enhances employee user experience and seamlessly integrates with HubSpot.

The still unnamed application streamlines employees’ tasks and improves workflow efficiency. “Instead of making our users go through all the different HubSpot interfaces to upload documents, we made an integration with Mendix that outlines everything for them,” Pardo explained. Since its
implementation, employees have reduced the time they spend on these tasks by 50%.

The application uploads documents into Amazon S3 and tags them with a project ID. The app then pushes a URL back to HubSpot for recordkeeping purposes. “All of these technical aspects of the workflow would be far more complex if done on top of HubSpot,” Pardo said.

Rapid Development Fosters Greater Collaboration

Today, Imagina Energía has a shorter time to market for software delivery, making it easier to build valuable solutions for their clients and achieve larger organizational goals.

“I am very impressed with our development velocity with Mendix,” Renedo shared. “We were struggling a lot with traditional coding because timelines were longer and more rigid”.

“Now, we meet with the business stakeholders more regularly. Throughout development, we can show them the product, and by the time a project is done, most things have been tested,” she added.

Released from the rigors of traditional coding, Imagina Energía can now dedicate its resources to delivering more innovative solutions and fostering greater alignment across the organization. As they stride towards digitalization, exciting changes are underway to bolster their low-code vision.

Among these shifts is the integration of a newly acquired solar installer and the consolidation of multiple project management tools.

“The acquisition has presented a huge challenge for IT. We need to integrate a new system map and incorporate those resources into our development,” Pardo described. “We know it will be much easier with low-code and AWS in our IT stack.”

Scaling Sustainably

Imagina Energía is poised to continue exceeding the expectations of its customers, propelling Spain’s solar energy sector into a new era of innovation and efficiency. With low-code technology, they are delivering user-focused energy solutions while efficiently managing resources and reducing operational costs.

This forward-looking approach blends renewable energy and digitalization together, with Mendix and AWS making the process easier.

While Imagina Energía continues to incorporate some high-code elements in development, their newfound flexibility and speed with low-code are uncovering new business opportunities.

Pardo even hopes to experiment with artificial intelligence in the future. “I’m very curious about what’s next for Mendix in terms of bringing AI into low-code,” he said. “I’ve experimented with the predictor in a workflow editor. But I want to incorporate even more into our development.”

Both Renedo and Pardo assert that Mendix will be essential for maintaining Imagina Energía’s growth trajectory.