Mendix touts software for the people

BY TBN Software |

Low-code high-performance platforms may be the key to bridging the government’s ambitious Thailand 4.0 scheme and the low supply of technical professionals in the country.

Low-code software development platforms like Mendix can bring applications to market six times faster than traditional coding approaches and can be used by people without technical skills, said TBN Software managing director Panayu Sirikrachangsri.

Software developers are in short supply, and competition for talent is fierce. Low-code platforms can drastically reduce the number of coders needed to build an application.

“Our vision is to enable citizen developers,” Mr Panayu said. “People who do not come from a traditional engineering background who can perform 80% of the work that goes into an app.”

According to IT research firm Gartner, global market demand for mobile app development services will grow at least five times faster than internal IT organisations’ capacity to deliver them.

The high demand for apps means that even if there is less demand for technical skills in any one company, high overall market demand will still keep people with such skills employed.

Mr Panayu said platforms like Mendix let users integrate open-source and proprietary software into a solution through a mostly graphic interface. Developers, for example, are able to draw the “human readable” logic underlying the application in a diagram instead of coding it.

With this approach, developing an application to push SMS notifications to customers is reduced from hundreds of lines of code to a sketch of about 10 arrows and about the same number of bubbles.

The reality behind the application is much more complicated, of course, but complexity is taken care of by the Mendix system or is already coded into the “building blocks” — pieces of software developed by other providers or by Mendix itself — used in Mendix’s ecosystem.

This reduced requirement for coders, along with lower development times, also lets people on the business side of the equation become more involved in the software process.

Traditionally, business people proposed an app idea, which was then forwarded to the development team. After months or weeks of coding, the team then sent it back to management, starting a lengthy back-and-forth modification process.

Platforms like Mendix, in contrast, let developers sit next to managers and edit the application right in the meeting room.

Perhaps most importantly, a low-code approach is often more cost-effective in the long term than its traditional counterpart, especially in the maintenance and HR departments. The system can also bring applications to market faster, enabling companies to secure first-mover advantages where available.

This technology has existed for more than a decade. Mr Panayu was part of the original Mendix development team in the Netherlands before coming to Thailand in 2008 to set up TBN,

a corporate entity that is completely distinct from Boston-headquartered Mendix but which serves as that company’s link to Asia-Pacific.

TBN currently handles mostly Thai clients, but Mr Panayu held out the possibility of establishing operations throughout Asia via a joint venture with Mendix. The timeline for the possible expansion will be set by the end of this year, he said.

While Mendix works across industries, TBN focuses on the financial sector. Banks are at the forefront of digitisation, Mr Panayu said, and the company has worked in projects ranging from QR payments to core banking systems.

Mr Panayu said that while the firm is not working directly with the Eastern Economic Corridor, the project represents a huge opportunity because companies operating in the site will demand digital solutions in the short term.

The Mendix platform can integrate machine learning, big data and Internet of Things capabilities into its projects, Mr Panayu said.

Source : Bangkok Post - 21 Sep 2017 - JESUS ALCOCER