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Contact lens company Vision Direct Group has gone live with a set of custom applications built using the Mendix cloud-based application development platform to support new business development.
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The company provides eyecare and contact lens products shipped via a next-day delivery service to customers who order via the VisionDirect.co.uk website.
With strong growth in all markets and expected revenue of more than €50 million for 2015, Vision Direct found that its existing sales order management, fulfilment, supply management and procurement processes posed a risk to future performance.
The company used Mendix to rewrite these business processes in-house, as an enterprise suite of interconnected applications.
Miklos Parrag, chief technology officer at Vision Direct, said: “Building our own applications in the Mendix visual modelling environment enabled collaboration with senior management on current and possible future requirements, and also proved faster, more flexible and more affordable than buying an ERP solution.”
The company used a lean software development methodology, and a team of agile developers and a project manager, to create the solution.
The project included integration with existing systems, such as NetSuite financials, supplier inventories and a courier management system. Given the complexity, Vision Direct estimated that a traditional code-based development approach would have taken at least three times the effort and time.
The new software applications went live earlier in February.
Because it is cloud-based, aPaaS (application platform as a service) can support new software trends, such as mobile and IoT development.
Such platforms can offer a rich set of services, which application development teams can draw on to build enterprise software more quickly, rather than having to code these services themselves, or incur additional costs from having to license external services.
Mendix is one of a number of companies that provide products in the aPaaS software category.
Gartner defines aPaaS as a cloud-based platform that supports application development, deployment and execution. Other aPaaS offerings include Microsoft’s Azure platform and Salesforce’s Force.com platform.
But there is a cost for the functionality built into an aPaaS. Although there is a free community edition of Mendix, its full enterprise edition costs €1,675 per month.