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Mendix Eases Master Agent Automation

Mendix Inc., a software company based in Boston, says its agile computing platform enables it to build custom cloud solutions to automate complex business processes quickly and flexibly and for tens of thousands of dollars not hundreds.

There aren’t a lot of options for master agencies seeking to automate their back offices. In fact there are basically two: Choose from one of three purpose-built software solutions that may not do exactly what they need or spend a lot of money and time on a fully custom deployment. Now, there is a developer who wants to add a third option: a custom application without the custom price tag.

That could be good news for master agencies. Their ability to differentiate themselves from the competitors can hinge on their ability to automate processes for their subagents and carriers. Using the same software as a competitor can put them back at square one.

Most master agencies have chosen between the two leading software packages: RPM Software’s Agent and Salestream Software’s Masterstream. The former is known primarily as a robust commissioning system and the latter as an instant multicarrier quoting tool. Both are praised for their capabilities, but often criticized for their limitations.

The lack of continued product development is understandable; the master agent market is small. Only one competitor has emerged to challenge the two incumbents. Qudex.com launched in fall 2009. It claims to handle inventory management, call accounting, audit management, reverse auction, RFP process management, infrastructure management, wireless management, network security, business process optimization, trouble-shooting and support. However, it also includes features just for agents, such as CRM, subagent and commission management.

Mendix’s Business Development Manager Vince de la Mar said Mendix Business Agility Suite can provide the functionality offered by all of these software applications and more. While he likes Mendix’s odds in a head-to-head comparison, he said that companies that already are using those solutions can continue to use them by integrating them into a custom Mendix portal.

“If you have a quoting application that works fine, we can integrate this into a Mendix portal and build out new functionality (e.g., commission automation, provisioning, trouble ticketing, opportunity management),” de la Mar said. “So you don’t always have to migrate; you can reuse existing components and investments.”

The ability to integrate with virtually any existing environment makes Mendix more flexible that most development platforms, de la Mar explained. It can accept data from any file, any database, any application and any Web service.

De la Mar said that Mendix, in fact, prefers not to recreate the wheel when it comes to CRM. “Instead of customizing standard CRM systems, it is our philosophy to keep them as they are and to build out all customizations and extensions in [the Mendix platform] on top,” he said.

Master agents can extend their CRM system to their subagents by building out a Mendix portal on top of their CRM system. Data input by subagents is tied back to the CRM system.

The Mendix approach falls somewhere between a custom development team and a rigid out-of-the-box solution. “We build it from scratch but reuse modules that we’ve built in the past. The result is that it’s a 100 percent fit with your processes,” de la Mar explained, noting this is important because no two master agencies do things exactly alike.

While a soup-to-nuts custom deployment commonly take 18 months to two years and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, a similar comprehensive project can be built on the Mendix platform in six months and at half the cost, de la Mar said. But he said that projects can be much more modest with just quoting, order entry and commission automation.

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About Mendix

Mendix, a Siemens business and the global leader in enterprise low-code, is fundamentally reinventing the way applications are built in the digital enterprise. With the Mendix platform, enterprises can ‘Make with More,’ by broadening an enterprise’s development capability to conquer the software development bottleneck; ‘Make it Smart,’ by making apps with rich native experiences that are intelligent, proactive, and contextual; and ‘Make at Scale,’ to modernize core systems and build large app portfolios to keep pace with business growth. The Mendix platform is built to promote intense collaboration between business and IT teams and dramatically accelerate application development cycles, while maintaining the highest standards of security, quality, and governance — in short, to help enterprises confidently leap into their digital futures. Mendix’s ‘Go Make It’ platform has been adopted by more than 4,000 leading companies around the world.