Mendix for SAP Companies: Low-code Solutions for Fast Growth

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Sebastian Andruszczak

Jan 30, 2024 • 12 min read
Young programmer coding on computer in the evening at home.

It seems like everyone is talking about low-code solutions these days. And numbers prove that it’s not just a passing fascination of the tech world; it’s a whole new direction to app development.

According to Gartner, 70% of all new apps created by organizations will be built using low-code or no-code technology by 2025. If these numbers turn out to be true, then it will be a huge increase from just 25% in 2020.

It makes perfect sense for businesses to turn to them over more ‘conventional’ apps – it gives the same results for the end user, but requires little if any manual hand-coding.

Low-code apps provide a visual device called a Graphical User Interface, or GUI. Developers, and even those who have zero development experience, use a drag-and-drop interface with pre-designed templates to shape, configure, and deploy their apps. A user needs to know very little about code, objects, loops, or variables, instead just adding a function they need, making the whole process extremely fast.

Mendix is such a low-code solution with native integration with SAP business technology platform. Let’s look at it a little closer.

What is Mendix?

Mendixis noted as the stress-free and super fast low-code platform used by businesses to develop their web and mobile apps and operations at enterprise scale. If accelerating your app delivery throughout your complete application development lifecycle is your goal, then the Mendix Platform is for you. From first idea to deployment, nothing will get you there faster.

What is SAP?

SAP stands for System Applications and Products in Data Processing. It is the market leader in Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software that aids organizations of all sizes and industries to maintain profitably, remain agile, and mature sustainably.

Partnership between Mendix and SAP

SAP, of course, has completely adopted Mendix as its platform to provision extended external SAP solutions. As a complete solution, it was the obvious choice because it coordinates so easily with SAP SuccessFactors, S/4HANA, SAP Business Suite, and more.

SAP describes the integration as SAP Rapid Application Development by Mendix.

This works because Mendix complies fully with all SAP product standards. In fact, SAP manages and guarantees integration into the SAP product roadmap.

The partnership between SAP and Mendix provides the capability to extend the digital core of SAP. Simplicity is achieved with low-code and rapid application development – bringing the best of both worlds together – by offering best-in-class products like SAP S/4HANA, SAP SuccessFactors, and SAP Hybris.

This simplifies the task of implementing customization – based on your company’s specific needs – in an orderly, collaborative, and speedy way.

SAP ECC

SAP ECC, short for ERP Central Component, is a planning system that integrates digital facts and figures from one area with data from other areas of the same business, and does it all in real-time. Typically implemented by large and medium-sized companies, it was established for multiple industries, covering a wide range from steel, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, right up to fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), whether it’s bathroom tissue, produce, or gasoline.

The ECC SAP system’s immediate successor is SAP S4/HANA. Many people and businesses find HANA to be intimidating because it is a challenging undertaking, but it is entirely worth the effort since it is more than just an update. It’s a complete redesign meant to take full advantage of the power of HANA.

While competitors are stuck in the past, continuing to run ECC out of fear of change, you can leap ahead of the crowd. There are options to stay in extended maintenance for a few years, but frankly, I think that this could backfire in the long run. Let me tell you why HANA is better!

SAP S4/HANA

This newest iteration of ERP software works both on-premises and in the cloud. Utilizing technologies such as automation, artificial intelligence, and machine learning not only streamlines the whole process but improves overall business efficiency and speed. SAP S/4HANA lets you analyze enormous quantities of data in real-time while providing personalized insights, embedded cybersecurity, and integrated processes.

A good 72% of early SAP S/4HANA adopters of 2021 reported that they experienced improved efficiency, with a further 61% noting great satisfaction.

The favorite benefits of SAP S/4HANA include superior integration with existing SAP products, lower costs of ownership, and decreased operational costs.

It also results in a smaller database footprint due to simplified and efficient data models. Automated processes lead to improved performance and productivity, while enabling faster and more advantageous decision making. The bottom line improved, too, with increased profits attributable to SAP S/4HANA integration.

How does Mendix for SAP benefit users?

Leveraging Mendix allows you to differentiate yourself and extend SAP with new solutions, including delivering web and mobile applications across an enormous range of use cases. Let’s look at some examples.

Innovative application solutions

One business ( BAM Infra), got the better of a major competitor by having Mendix in its toolbox. Focused on construction and infrastructure, they had the installation capability. They could use Mendix to low-code the software for interacting with smart meters which had been mandated by the government. The software giant they were up against could have provided the code, but would have to outsource the installation to a third party. This led to BAM Infra winning successful contracts with utility companies because they could “do it all”.

Operational efficiency improvement apps

Similarly, a logistics provisioning company provided bespoke portals for key consumer brands. This allowed clients to track deliveries, returns, and other interactions, which then assisted them to keep and gain major multi-year agreements.

Apps for customer engagement

A world-class therapeutic medical device firm created a Global Registration & Tracking suite of tools. This allows warranty management for such devices, provided six times faster than before, at only 8% of the normal cost, compared to alternative programming technology. Ultimately, this saved one million dollars.

SAP S/4HANA data and system migration applications

A retail/commercial bank successfully transitioned more than 50 applications from Lotus Notes, MS Access, and MS Excel to the cloud. This migration streamlined the portfolio of bespoke applications, while also tackling governance and compliance concerns.

In one IDC survey, 219 out of 300 respondents reported that they are already preparing for their transition to SAP S/4HANA. You should be amongst the 73% that are future-forward; there is no advantage (and plenty of detriments) for those that stay behind.

Migration from SAP ECC to S/4HANA

A major sugar producer in the Netherlands, using SAP for almost all processes since 1989, needed to migrate from SAP ECC to S/4HANA. A migration of this kind presented a daunting task: it required big internal focus, massive funds, and considerable effort.

After experimenting with low-code and developing first POCs, the company decided to go with Mendix as the perfect platform for the project. The main benefits of betting on Mendix included simplification, easier collaboration, pleasant user experience, increased overall speed, and flexibility.

Benefits of using Mendix for SAP

Here are some of the ways Mendix contributes to the SAP business technology platform (SAP BTP).

Build applications without coding

Mendix allows for SAP rapid application development. It empowers you to develop pioneering applications effortlessly, eliminating the need for coding. It facilitates real-time collaboration between your business and IT teams, allowing them to collectively accelerate business reinvention by leveraging your SAP backbone.

Build beautiful, responsive applications

Creating compelling user interfaces incorporating inherent mobile abilities and offline capabilities is your secret power. You’ll develop applications just once for universal use across all platforms and devices. Mendix's low-code platform empowers SAP software users to easily construct visually appealing and responsive applications.

The streamlined development process, featuring a drag-and-drop interface, visual modeling, and pre-built widgets, enables the creation of cross-platform applications. Collaborative development and real-time preview capabilities in Mendix facilitate rapid iteration on designs.

With ready-to-use styling choices and responsive designs, SAP customers can realize a sophisticated and professional look, but without the need for extensive coding.

Frictionless integration with SAP systems

Ariba, Concur, HANA, and SuccessFactors all integrate seamlessly with existing SAP systems. Mendix uses visual models to quickly connect and integrate your data.

For example, within a span of less than 10 days, the integration of Blockchain, IoT, S/4HANA, and SAP Cloud facilitated the creation of a logistics app using SAP Leonardo. This ensures uniformity of data across applications, simplifying the complexities associated with building and maintaining integrations.

Deploy and scale securely

Mendix stands out as the sole low-code platform seamlessly integrated with the SAP Cloud Platform, ensuring effortless 1-click deployment, i.e., Mendix onboarding. It provides your enterprise with inherent scalability and security. As your business expands, Mendix applications effortlessly adapt, offering the essential scalability needed by SAP clients to handle more new users, growing data volumes, and evolving business intricacies.

Mendix vs. SAP Build

SAP Build brings together three components: SAP Build Apps (an improved version of AppGyver’s no-code app builder), SAP Build Process Automation (for managing workflows and robotic process automation, or RPA), and SAP Build Work Zone (for creating portals and business sites). SAP users can create low-code apps, RPA, workflows, and business sites—all in one convenient package!

SAP Build and Mendix share some functions but also have differences. Both are continually evolving. Focusing solely on their features might make it easy to miss the bigger picture. The point is that there are now two “preferred solutions” by SAP allowing clients to choose the one that suits their needs rather than trying to fit into someone else’s mold.

Decoding differences: the vital trio

  1. SAP Build represents a contemporary and extensive platform, evolving through SAP's enhancements and rooted in AppGyver. It seamlessly integrates with the two existing SAP products: Work Zone and Process Automation.

In comparison, Mendix serves as a mature, all-encompassing platform tailored for low-code app development. It excels in various domains such as workflow management, cloud infrastructure, artificial intelligence, process automation, and data integration.

  1. SAP Build excels in integration with both SAP and non-SAP applications, emphasizing a primary focus on SAP. It offers an array of well-defined SAP content tailored for standard business processes.

Mendix, while having robust SAP integration capabilities, provides comparatively less predefined content. Notably, Mendix isn’t categorized as a SAP product, thus enhancing its accessibility for non-SAP developers. Moreover, Mendix excels in facilitating comprehensive integration between SAP and non-SAP systems.

  1. Apps developed using SAP Build and SAP Mendix operate seamlessly on SAP's BTP, ensuring robust authentication, security measures, and seamless integration within the SAP setting. Additionally, Mendix provides the flexibility to run on alternative cloud platforms or on-premises, catering to specific company policies and preferences.

Mendix for SAP – the perfect match for companies embracing digital acceleration

SAP, at the forefront of this business evolution, has forged a longstanding partnership with Mendix and, more recently, introduced its own cutting-edge low-code solution: SAP Build. This strategic collaboration reflects SAP's commitment to digital acceleration and empowering businesses with agile and efficient app creation.

I believe that Mendix, with its low-code nature, is an ideal fit for SAP companies. It expedites SAP rapid application development and seamlessly integrates with existing systems. The user-friendly interface empowers business analysts, ensuring adaptability to evolving business needs.

Mendix's scalability is crucial for accommodating growth, while robust integration capabilities maintain data consistency. Overall, it offers SAP companies an efficient and flexible solution, facilitating quick custom application development and enhancing overall productivity.

What you need to know is that low-code app development is not just a trend; it's a transformative wave shaping the future of application development within organizations.

Recognized by industry leaders such as Gartner and Forrester, low-code is poised to become the cornerstone of application innovation. If you want to maintain a strong market position against your competitors, then the time to look into low-code solutions like Mendix for SAP is now.

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