Mendix at the municipality of RotterdamPublished on: Author: Team Communication Category: News
Erik van der Steen is a Rapid Application Development (RAD) Coordinator for the municipality of Rotterdam. In 2017, he wrote a proposal for the municipality to improve the delivery speed of applications and the collaboration between business and IT. They decided to use the low-code platform from the Rotterdam-based company Mendix. Now, the municipality uses 50 Mendix applications, and is developing another 30. Qualogy provides Mendix Business Engineers to support the growing RAD team of the municipality.
Mendix fulfills the need to work agile scrum: Erik’s big wish. The department of Information Management started this initiative to realize a collaboration with the business. The RAD team became part of the Software Development department in February 2020.
First Mendix application
The RAD team started off with Erik as coordinator, a solutions architect, and 2 junior developers. The first application was built for the control and enforcement department. Until then, the 300 urban management employees (boa) used an application that did not meet the security and privacy requirements set forth by the municipality of Rotterdam. The RAD team successfully rebuilt the application with Mendix. They were so successful that they won an Impact Award for it during Mendix World 2019. A great start.
Erik coordinates the organizational and financial business of the RAD expert team. The Solutions Architect deals with technical matters, connections, and data sources. Improvements are continuously implemented to make RAD even more successful, and to guarantee its quality.
At the moment, the RAD team consists of 40 colleagues and counting. Erik explains: “A common frustration was the long development time of applications made by the IT department. Some applications were already outdated by the time they were launched. The fast development of Mendix applications was met with a positive response. Users felt heard, because they were asked to contribute their ideas, and they saw their own work integrated in the applications. The collaboration between business and IT can count on a lot of enthusiastic responses. The involvement of employees (who are often the users) is therefore high.”
Target audience for Mendix applications
The municipality of Rotterdam continues to develop applications for three target groups: citizens, employees, and chain partners. For citizens, applications have been developed to sign in visitors for parking and to report malpractices at street level. Application development for municipality employees focuses mostly on improving processes, speed, and quality of services.
The municipality of Rotterdam also builds applications for and together with chain partners, such as CityTec. They manage, among others, the traffic light installations in the city. Together, they developed Vamos: an application that regulates everything concerning malfunctions, like reporting malfunctions and notifying corrected malfunctions.
Mendix knows no limitations for the municipality. Erik: “Mendix meets our needs. In part because they continue to develop themselves. For example, with React native since Mendix 8. The company also makes great strides in terms of IoT applications.
In addition, we regularly participate in the Mendix beta program, for example with the Datahub and the ControlCenter. As such, we have front row seats and influence on the new functionalities within the Mendix platform. A big plus: everything is done in the Mendix cloud. With high stability and speed. Nothing is done on-premises.”
Accelerated digitization because of corona
Corona simply sped up the digitization of the municipality of Rotterdam. Erik: “With Mendix, we very quickly developed applications for our services to self-employed persons and the Municipal Health Services (GGD). For example, we developed an application to request financial arrangements. The biggest advantage of Mendix in comparison with traditional development tools is that applications can be adjusted to new requirements and deployed by the developer within a day. Allowing you to continuously align the application to the user’s needs. This is especially important now.”
A good collaboration
Qualogy is one of the partners of the municipality of Rotterdam for hiring Mendix specialists. The collaboration is successful for both parties. Erik: “Qualogy is a reliable partner that provides skilled people. The RAD team has specific requirements for its hired professionals. The Qualogy Mendix Business Engineers meet these requirements.”
About Erik van der Steen
After working in the newspaper industry for 25 years, Erik van der Steen started at the municipality of Rotterdam as of 2008. First as an Information Manager, now as a Rapid Application Development Coordinator. In 2017, he wrote a proposal to introduce Rapid Application Development (RAD) with the agile scrum method, and to improve the speed of application development. In response to his proposal, the low-code platform Mendix was chosen for an agile scrum application development. Erik coordinates the organizational and financial business of the RAD expert team.