Mendix: how low-code positions developers as ‘business consultants’

There’s an old saying in marketing-communications (marcoms): when there’s no news, do a survey.

As anyone who has read a technology industry survey knows, they often skew towards delivering a payload of ‘findings’ that are conveniently closely aligned to the central message set of the company behind the ‘research’.

It’s almost like someone should write an analysis of how to read technology surveys so that we’re all better armed.

Creative kudos goes to low-code software company Mendix — the company’s latest survey does, unsurprisingly, lead to the conclusion that low-code software might be quite useful… but it does so from a tangent and with a side dish of spice.

Quite useful, who knew?

Now owned by Siemens, Mendix suggests that 90 percent of British IT professionals don’t expect software developers to understand their business’ needs.

Wait for it… could Mendix be about to suggest that low-code software is a route to allowing business professionals to have a stronger hand in application functionality creation (because it’s them that use it) for real world digital transformation?

Well yes, obviously, but this is more…

Mendix talks of the developer-business chasm and suggests that this ‘perceived disconnect’ restricts the IT team’s ability to drive business decisions, while preventing non-technical employees from participating in the development of enterprise apps – which can often lead to the rise of ‘shadow IT’ projects. 

“The traditional, siloed approach of app development is not sustainable anymore,” said Nick Ford, chief technology evangelist at Mendix. “As the pace of innovation increases and IT teams take on more and wider digital transformation projects, they need support from other parts of the business. That’s why we launched our low-code platform: to equip non-technical staff with a simple solution that turns their ideas into projects, while working in tandem with IT departments in the launch of enterprise apps.” 

Developers as business consultants

However, the findings also suggest that software developers are in a perfect space to drive innovation and act as ‘business consultants’ within their own company. 

One third of respondents agreed with the statement: software development is a dynamic and creative process that relies on multiple departments working closely with technical experts.

Mendix concludes that this shows there is a ‘stark gap’ between perception and reality. By gathering insights from across a broad range of business functions, software developers are in a unique (or at least special) position to identify the gaps within the business and advise on solutions to support the business’ growth objectives at all levels.

So… rather than just telling us that businesspeople can get closer to application functionality through low-code advances (but let’s remember that low-code is not no-code, it’s still serious high-end stuff that’s only safe in the hands of qualified software engineers), Mendix has flipped it on its head and told us that the same works in reverse and developers should be more involved in business strategy.

Yay, go developers!

The Mendix survey was based on a panel of 250 British respondents.

Image: Mendix

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