I said it at Mendix World. I'll say it again today. There's a high probability I'll say it again tomorrow. And I mean it every time. Go make it!
All of us involved in software development and business operations at every level, in every type of organization, are challenged to be makers. To make applications. Sometimes to make magic. To make the future. And Mendix is equipping makers — and whole enterprises — with the industry’s most powerful no-code/low-code platform to create amazing business solutions today and chart a course for a future we are only beginning to imagine.
It was exciting at Mendix World for me to describe the details of Mendix 8, which is beginning to roll out with our Spring ’19 Release, and to preview the exciting capabilities that are taking shape in our product roadmap. These are some of my post-conference thoughts.
The world of low-code convened in Rotterdam
Mendix World brings together everyone involved in low-code for the good fellowship, insight, and excitement of meeting personally with the greater Mendix community. This year, the numbers were off the charts, with nearly 5,000 developers, business experts, IT leaders, ecosystem partners, and customers attending at the Rotterdam Ahoy conference center. The auditorium and exhibit halls were packed with people — in many cases standing-room-only — eager to hear about the new features and enhancements in the eighth iteration of the Mendix platform.
In his keynote speech, our CEO Derek Roos called this “the year low-code has grown up.” Mendix continues to lead the field we pioneered in 2005, delivering the tools and technology to unleash the digital enterprise and unlock the human capital within every organization.
Here are some more numbers that make this point: Mendix low-code developers have built more than 235,000 applications across 25 vertical industries. Our customer base grew by more than 150 new logos last year; 82 percent of those customers committed strategically to the entire platform, as opposed to single-app subscribers. These data points validate that we are delivering on our promises to our customers. The Mendix platform has “stickiness” because it delivers real value.
Leading the “Go Make It” movement
In launching our new “Go Make It” movement, we engineered every new feature to help enterprises Make with More, Make at Scale, and Make it Smart.
Mendix 8 has the ability to turn everyone into a maker, expanding the pool of developers and enabling active collaboration across the developer universe, from citizen to professional developers. The tools to accomplish this begin with Mendix Studio, an intuitive, visual, no-code environment that empowers nontechnical business users.
However, no-code without low-code is a no-go. As users hit the boundaries of no-code visual programming, they need to integrate with more complex, enterprise-grade capabilities. Thus, we are pairing Mendix Studio with Mendix Studio Pro’s low-code IDE. Having two environments on one shared platform makes it easy to build, integrate, and manage large application portfolios and mission-critical systems. And it empowers every new developer to make apps that are intelligent, responsive, contextual, and proactive.
Personally, I cannot think of anything better than the joy of making something from nothing, and having the result in your hands and seeing the business value so quickly. Once we enable our customers to participate in the creative process, Mendix’s new platform becomes, in equal measures, a story about technology leadership and business empowerment.
To help this expanded pool of developers to ramp up their productivity, we’ve expanded Mendix Assist 2.0, our AI-assisted developer’s toolkit in Mendix Studio and Mendix Studio Pro, to coach new developers through the process of building an application and help professional developers with the eyes and intelligence of a virtual “pair programmer.” The dataset of training samples informing Mendix Assist has grown from a previous 10 million anonymized microflows to more than 88 million. And the accuracy of the top suggestion has been improved by 69 percent.
Enterprise-grade, any cloud every time
Within the next two years, Gartner researchers predict 75 percent of midsize and large organizations will have a multi-cloud strategy. To encourage and support that transition, we have greatly expanded our multi-cloud support, beginning with the Mendix Cloud Portal, retooled with best-in-class cloud-native architecture.
In addition to our own Mendix Cloud to run Mendix-built applications, we are launching Mendix Cloud Dedicated, offering the same management portal but with the whole cluster running in AWS VPC to align with more strategic choices for the enterprise. We’ve also enhanced our private cloud offering for organizations running on any Kubernetes-based system, enabling app management from within our management portal. Mendix for (Virtual) Private Cloud supports AWS, Azure, and Google, IBM Cloud Private and RedHat Openshift.
And, in an extension of our exclusive partnership with SAP, Mendix now provides native integration with SAP S/4 HANA, bringing low-code applications into the core of SAP’s intelligent enterprises.
Ushering in a new era of ‘smart’
The rapid advancement in artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities has given rise to a wide range of “smart” hardware and software products. This new class of machines, sensors, and devices interact with people in a proactive, context-aware, and intelligent manner. They also have considerable reach.
Addressing this trend, we are glad to announce our first exciting platform collaboration with Siemens is Mendix for MindSphere, which puts Mendix right in the heart of uniting the physical and digital worlds. MindSphere is Siemens’ cloud-based, open IoT operating system. Mendix brings the power of low-code to the MindSphere application layer. Together, Mendix and MindSphere connect IT and OT to power analytics, drive operational efficiencies, and open the door to new possibilities for processes and business models. Mendix for MindSphere brings a new level of “smart” to IoT.
The proliferation of smart apps that run on the desktop, web, mobile devices — or all channels at once — must be able to connect in every corner of the digital and physical world. Factor in the low cost of cloud computing and we quickly see that cloud-native enterprises have a new found ability to reshape every process from operations to customer experience on a global scale.
To support this, the eighth generation of the Mendix platform will offer the industry’s first, true native mobile low-code development platform. These applications, created with offline-first architecture and comprehensive support for augmented reality and 3D visualizations, deliver a superior customer experience regardless of internet quality or bandwidth.
Eyes on the Horizon
The rich enhancements to our platform in Mendix 8 will be rolled out in three seasonal releases. Mendix Studio, SAP HANA integration, and Mendix for Mindsphere are available today. This summer, Mendix Studio Pro, Mendix Assist 2.0, and Native Mobile will be publicly available. In the fall, Mendix’s Multi-Cloud program and Data Hub, an online catalog featuring “discoverable” drag-and-drop data assets for the enterprise, will be released.
It’s an ambitious slate of new technology and tools, designed to solve the pressing challenges of the digital era. Given the scale of our vision and its potential for digital empowerment, we asked two commentators, author and digital futurist Andreas Ekström and global adventurer Bear Gylls, to bring some “external” words of wisdom and perspective to Mendix World 2019. One statement from each stood out to me:
Ekström: We are “the generation that is writing the digital constitution of the 21st century.” It is our responsibility to safeguard people, privacy, content, and ourselves.
Grylls: “Those who quit almost always regret it almost immediately … So, whenever possible, go a little bit further.”
Indeed, I’ll be reflecting on these ideas long after Mendix World. It’s an awesome responsibility, creating the future of software, and thus of our world. We’re going to keep pushing it further and further, while keeping a keen eye on making it right not just in the way it works, but in how it serves and protects people. I’m looking forward to updating you on our progress on our next Mendix World!
Start making with Mendix Studio today.
Johan den Haan is Chief Technology Officer at Mendix.
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