What are typical low code use cases for the Mittelstand?

Low Code Mittelstand

In this episode, we are talking with Roland from SIB Visions about typical low code use cases for medium-sized companies. Roland is the founder of a low code platform, Vision X. He is in the industry for quite a while and used low code when no one knew this term.

We are talking about the reasons why low code is still not used in every company. On top of that, we are discussing several use cases for the Mittelstand.

Links mentioned in the show notes:

https://www.sibvisions.com/
Software is eating the world

If you have feedback or ideas on which topics need to be covered at this podcast – you are more than welcome to get in touch with me.

You can find more information on www.lowcode-founders.com, or you can drop me a message at sarah@biberei.de

Enjoy and keep on building new digital products. 

Sarah 

Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/lowcodefounders)

Transcript of the episode: What are typical low code use cases for the Mittelstand?

Intro Roland:

When I founded with my two partners in 2008 the company SIB visions. Our goal was always that we simplify the IT business and here especially the software development part. We are all from the software development and especially the 2000s this development processes with Java and other technologies need forever and was very complex and we had our solutions already in the head to make that very efficient and very simple. That’s also the reason why we founded this company and then we build our product our low code development tool  Vision X.

Speaker Sarah:

Hello everyone and welcoem to a new episode of the low code founders podcast. I’m Sarah from the Biberei and today we have a very special episode. Today we’re not talking about entrepreneurs who build their companies with low code tools. Today we are talking with Roland from SIB Visions about being an actual provider of such low code tools and how they are already helping so many companies and entrepreneurs every day. Today we will learn about this company and how the Mittelstand so the medium size companies can use low code for their use cases. So welcome Roland.

Speaker Roland: 

Hi thank you for inviting me.

Speaker Sarah:

Alright Roland the vision of your company is to simplify IT Business. Um at least this is written on your website. So tell us a little bit about this vision and how are you actually achieving it if you do achieve today?

Speaker Roland:

When I founded with my two partners 2008 the company SIB visions. Our goal was always that we simplfy the IT business and here especially the software development part. We are all from the software development and especially the 2000s this development processes with Java and other technologies needs forever and was very complex and we had our solutions already in the head to make that very efficient and very simple. That’s also the reason why we founded this company and then we build our product our low code development tool  Vision X.

Speaker Sarah:

So you said and that’s I think very interesting you founded the company in 2008. Right, right. So when, when low code was not a thing at all and what I really liked about what you said and also about the vision, um It’s exactly the same vision and motivation we had in our mind when we started our own company. And it’s so interesting that from 2008 until 2021 um this this this problem that software development is too complex too slowly, it’s not really solved. And I I even think that in some areas it got even more complex. So um as you see this um the problem is not yet solved and it’s it’s really a big issue and I think it’s getting more and more complex each and every day until companies find the possibilities of using low code. So um did you name it low code back then? In 2008 I guess not?

Speaker Roland:

No the term was not invented from from, from the forester group. John Rhymer, he found out he named this kind of applications low code. Yes. Uh at that time it was also very problematic because there was more than our company that that starts the same thing, but they had no name for the tools. So it was very, very hard to do it. Right? So we tried to say we have a visual development tool that will be very efficient and you can build web. desktop and mobile applications. Sometimes you used the term rapid application development, but that was mostly um not so Not when you go to software development companies, they don’t want to hear that because they say that is the tools from the 90s. We don’t want to use that when you, when you go to the business and they can understand it way more. So it was a kind of how can I say? Find always the right words when you pitch it and when you find new customers to explain them what you really want to do. And it was even harder than today because now you have a name for it and that’s easy.

Speaker Sarah:

But so you pitch today because you’re talking about pitching, do you use the term low code? And do you think or do you see a trend that more more companies are now familiar with the term low code or is there still a learning curve for the companies?

Speaker Roland:

I think it’s still a learning curve, but when I think back for years or two years, pretty nobody knows what this low code, especially in europe, the United States was different. Um and nowadays I would say yes, some, know the term, it’s better than it is like that. But it’s still a very, how can I say mm, a small amount of people here in german spoken countries or in europe that know this term, it’s a little better in Portugal and in in in the Netherlands but and especially for mostly in the United States. But at the end of the day it’s it’s it should be way more known than it is.

Speaker Sarah:

Yeah, I can absolutely agree. And honestly I when I think back I heard the very first time this term in of 2020  and I was in the software development field, everyone around  me also in the  IT Department wasn’t aware of this term and I think there is a lot of, a lot of work to do to show people okay, what this term is all about and also um which use cases you can use this tool for and when we’re talking about use cases and and pitching and and and all this stuff. Um so what are your typical customers? And do you do? Because I’m very interested how you actually pitch because that’s something I have to face also almost each and every day not being a software tool provider, but rather more the person is actually using and the tool. So what are your typical customers? And can you share some use cases where you think okay there there were some situations where low code in general and you’re tool of course more specifically really made a different really make sense.

Speaker Roland:

Sure. Absolutely. Yeah. Our typical customers uh to be honest it’s it’s very spread over. So we have very small companies with bumpers and five employees we have mid sized companies and we have also very large enterprises as customers. Um But from what you say about we are focusing on, let’s say we’re focusing on mid sized companies. Yeah and uh and then mostly manufacturing the reason why is  manufacturing is familiar with optimization and be efficient and that’s why in my opinion works a little better. But at the end of the day we also still um try to get one of the big ones. So it’s just some months ago that we were that we have the customer Boehringer Ingelheim which is a very big company. But at the end of the day. Yeah you need to find approaches to tackle them. Yeah it’s a little different from from the industries and from the company sizes. Let’s go to the use cases. Can say basically you can build any web. desktop or mobile application but it is not specific enough here. Um when we go two more smaller companies and organizations or then usually um they build some let’s say like a project management tool for very specific area because it’s not existing on the market if its existing on the market used the next SaaS service. That makes more sense. Yeah but that is not always the case. Or you need applications between your ERP Systems or SaaS Service because they cover a lot but not all of them. And your business specially has some specific things and unique things and for that it makes sense to build your own software that you’d be better than the others. And software is very important in today’s companies. Wwhen you go to the mid size companies and it’s usually they want to do portals or customer port was maintaining software. All kind of web applications basically. Let’s say this way um the SAP consult a consultant is too expensive and you need more than SAP and then it’s a good idea to use a low code platform and build that for big companies. They usually have a strategy so they have an initiative for low code and they’re evaluating now low code tools because they get it from the management decided we want to look at that. 

Speaker Sarah:

So all use cases you mentioned there are mostly for internal applications so not external facing applications. I mean I think you said one for customer portal but the others are more internal internal facing applications. Right.

Speaker Roland:

Yes I mentioned it like that but I think it’s 50:50 at the end of the day, it’s it’s Yeah, some use cases are more for outside? I would say it’s more B2B applications than B2C, I would say. Um, it’s not websites in my opinion. Low Code is not websites and it’s not gaming its applications where Yeah. See this way,

Speaker Sarah:

I think that’s that’s the word I would use for to summarize this podcast or this episode. I’m not sure what’s coming next, but I really like it because it’s um, I always have a hard time when, when, when people ask me is what can you do with low code? Because it’s the same question. What can you do with software development? I mean, you can not everything can be done with low code. That’s also true. Right. But there’s a huge way and you can do with low code and so it’s, it’s hard to tell them what you can do with low code could. So I’m, I’m always very, very happy to have concrete examples because what I always or not always. But what I sometimes face and I’m interested whether you have the same issue when you’re approaching clients, especially when you’re approaching the very first time is there’s a lot of skepticism out there against low code and what I really often here, uh, you mean there is no customization possibility. You cannot scale, um, you have a vendor lock-in if you if you cannot take the code with you. So how do you, how do you uh do you face this skepticism if you do, you’re pitching? And if you’re presenting your product, or even maybe after you sold your product and they’re using it. And what do you tell those people?

Speaker Roland:

Yes, we are facing these issues or this? I’ll say it. Uh yes, but yes, but yes, but that is always what are getting all kinds of questions. Yeah. And and it’s a little different. Which target group you you’re going to what you get answers, answers or resistance there. So, um, the one thing is that sure, you’re right that a lot of people think that you’ll live low code, you cannot do everything. And to be honest, in my opinion, for a lot of the vendors, it’s the truth. Uh for us, not for Vision X because we made it possible that you really generate code in the background and when the code is generating the background, you can change that with any development tool. And even more, we can respect that to the visual development tools. That will be be, let’s say, uh destroy the chains. And we really do have a platform with no limits because on cold level you can change everything visually. Sure. You cannot do everything because, you know, there are too many use cases and not all of them can really be uh solved in the low codel platform directly. Yeah, but with them, you have no limits. That’s that’s one thing. And uh with this topic, I think that’s a good start to say, okay, it’s an open platform and the application that you really get is an application that use only open source framework. So with that you have no lock-in. That’s why that’s that’s that’s an issue what comes from, especially from the development department. And they said, yeah, it’s low code and it’s uh open source frameworks and even more it’s frameworks that you already know and with that, so you can tell that it’s really flexible and no logging and on the other side, when you really generate code, uh and you own the code that’s in our case with Vision X the case. So you have no problem. If you cancel the subscription. Yeah, then you own still the application. Yeah. And you can also change it, the development tool. That’s a very important factor. That’s also the reason why we have it like that because in the time we started with it, if you would have a disadvantage, we would not sell anything of it because a small company and lock-in. It’s very hard. Uh that’s one point. But maybe it’s a too long answer. 

Speaker Sarah:

No, no, no, that’s that’s very interesting. So actually there are no disadvantaged so far. And of course the first question which pops in the mind is so why is not every every company using low coat? Maybe you have an idea about this.

Speaker Roland:

True, sure, absolutely. Um I think you have to see it from these two different target groups. So when you go to the software development area to the really developers and you ask the developer directly what has a lot of power usually install the software development departments or companies, they will say no to low code. The reason why is they want to play around with the newest framework and want to be inefficient because for them it’s not important to be fast, efficient or make the best user interface for them is usually interesting that they can use the new technologies and play around with the technology because that makes them happy. But it’s not that what the business really needs and needs. The business needs, uh, solutions efficiently fitting for the requirements. And it’s hard to, for the business to explain what you really need. And then we have all these problems that we have if the business department and with their IT department when they have to deliver software, but I don’t want to focus on that. But when we go to the business department to the other side and say, okay, why they’re not using low code. So then the first thing is didn’t know that it’s existing. The second thing is, I’m not sure or are confident enough that they think they can do it yourself. So they need to learn it and get this, How can I say this to break through this wall or, and, and, and do it. So it’s very hard to find the right people for a low code. Yeah so you need on the business that young guys they want to come up in the business. They want to reach something. They maybe want to build their own businesses or they want to reach something in the big company. That’s the right people for low code. Yeah on on the development side you need the guys they understood or the IT Head of  IT. They understood sure. I have myself the development department I needed but I need maybe also a citizen development team that does low called together with the business and I have still not developers and I think that’s the best solution because at the end of the day you know you don’t find all this software developers because they’re not existing on the market and but you need to deliver for the business and with them you can bring in the business more into the same boat because you know you are also part of the citizen development team and you get also some of the developers that open for low code and got a bundle them together in a team and then deliver more for the business. That’s in my opinion the solution to tackle the problem with how you’re bringing low code to the people and go back to your crash in the problems what are told it’s the reason why it’s not so big. It’s not so big like it should be yeah or propagated from all kinds of positions when you when you listen to the to the gardeners and foresters then you think pretty everybody

Speaker Sarah;

I think we are especially the two of us because we are thinking about the code each and every day we have to be aware of that. We are living in a low code bubble because we are talking and thinking about it each and every day and we only of course talking with customers who are willing to try it out or are willing to at least know more about it and learn more about it. But I totally agree that for I mean for many many many business people they don’t know they don’t know anything at all about it because they didn’t care so far so hard to say because I mean in many organizations the business goes to the IT. And says yes I want to have this and this and this and this then the IT. Has to take care and think okay how can I manage this? And I think even for those people for the IT Department for example are the department head for software development if they could use low code and and citizen developed either from the business side or from the IT side to do especially those so I wouldn’t call it borrowing applications but maybe more similaror simpler applications and leaving the fun part to really advance part the thing where the software developers can actually learn and as you learn more and also as you said I’m also playing around with new technologies and stuff like this because there are yeah, so many ways on in areas where you really need software development and some one thing and you also mentioned this and it’s also very important for me is um to say low code you know you still need some for developers even though you have low code because there will always be some parts where you do want to have a special customization where I always say where you do want to have a little extra salt in your meal which which low code tools can’t provide yet and I think we we more have to think about how can we combine those two solutions software development the classical software development from very experienced software developers and citizen developers from low code because I also think that citizen developer can not only help developing this product but also get a better understanding how software development works. And this gives them also a possibility maybe for the next project where low code is not required needed, possible whatever they have a better idea what the software development actually needs in terms of user stories in terms of requirement and stuff like that. So I think it’s an not only from a technology side but also from the skill level the possibility to show more people software development can do and give them more awareness of software development.

Speaker Roland: 

Yeah, I can yes, yeah. To that it’s absolutely right. And that’s also the reason why Vision X the way we built it because we always think say it with, with local you can beat a lot but some sometimes you you hit the limit, it’s not over the technical limited sometimes the limits on the business users that are not able to designed this logic or this if kind of statement at the end of the day and with Vision X you can go and give it to the code, the code and then add something for that that has just know how and can do that and gives it back and if you still go back to the low codedevelopment, I think those low code development is a very efficient way of development. It’s not like, you know, you always try to find an easy, simple way to build everything and it’s the strategy and the way is already given from the low code tool. So you being on track at the end of the day. Yeah, so being efficient and let’s say if it’s necessary to be very specific already, you need some complex parts then you go to the development and then you go back on your track and with that combination you stay fast and efficient. Yeah and more people can really build the application and the application is more built for the um for the for the requirements of the business and the business also can can can define better requirements to the other direction because they understand now how complex of the developments could be and we just know how in the background better solutions will be created and um you have to think a little more in the future, you know when you will see some some of the scientific, series on netflix or amazon then you see you say three words and then something that does that the spaceship and at the end of the day in some years it will be like that in uh in a business organization, maybe not in a spaceship but um but for that we need some time and local at the moment on at the beginning but it will will speed up in the next months and years. We see it now as event already that it is like that.

Speaker Sarah:

Okay, yes. Software is eating the world absolutely. I don’t know by heart who said that, but I will definitely put it in the show notes, I agree. And not only in a very future scientific um netflix way, but also if you think about it and I’m pretty sure it’s the same in Austria as it is in Germany, I’m almost having a situation each and every day where I think now a software tool would help me so much and writing it down on a piece of paper, send it to someone and the person scans it and types it in and and all the stuff. So just digitalization processes where you don’t have the budget and the time to do do a monthly or do a software project that takes months and months and months but need something very fast and simple. And I think they are low code can, can bring so much value not only for the industry but also for the public. For example, do you have some examples where you did something governments customers in the government area?

Speaker Roland:

 So we have uh the Interior Ministry of DUBAI has one of our customers. So they built the portals there for the application that the people are living there have to give in, let’s say together, I don’t know to build a building or whatever. Yeah, so, and government, that’s what we also have is you have to do something in Berlin with the finance area. But I cannot explain too much about the project and we also have done a lot in in in in Vienna for the uh a ministry for Education and Science.

Speaker Sarah:

It’s interesting because I think there there is also a huge or I see that the local will be more and more important in this area, not only in the industry. Right. But but I mean corona showed very clearly that we have some gaps in our digitalization processes from the government. So maybe in the audience if you are in this position and want to know more about it. Um Yeah, contact us and we can definitely help you. Um maybe to sum it up, you you mentioned it a little bit but um what are what makes Vision X so special from, from your point of view? What are what makes your tool so unique?

Speaker Roland:

In our opinion, we have the most open and platform with novel limits. The reason why because we really generate code in the background that you could touch but you don’t have to and when you do it then you can make any changes you like. Yeah, that’s one very important thing. The second thing is that we have a completely different licensing model. We are licensing per developer and we have absolutely no runtime licensing. That means especially when you want to create a product and you want to sell your product then it’s very good for that. Yeah, especially it’s a very fair model because we’re asking for the development and not for the running of the application because the most others ones want something for the runtime environment. In any case, uh with the openness, you can install it on any VM, Docker, you can use our Vision X cloud so you can install it pretty everywhere. That is up to you. It’s not locked to us. Yeah. Um uh we have a lot of integration things like Rest. That is very, very good because you can really handle like database tables at the end of the day um models is very important. Um It’s the synchronization back and forth the source code because if nobody else in the market can do it at the moment. And with that you really can have a combined team. You can have a software development guys in your citizen development team and you can your business guys in the team and you can work together really. And that is at the end of the day good if you want to build very large systems and complex systems because of them you can do it. That’s that’s I think the the most uh differences from from our platform.

Speaker Sarah:

I think they are. Yeah quite a lot. Um I think especially I like to point that you can host it actually wherever you like because I see this currently especially with US providers um sometimes there’s an issue because for some customers not for all this is really crucial and I mean they’re also work around for it but I think that’s that’s something where you can give the company the possibility to host it wherever they like whether it’s on your on your cloud or it’s in their own yeah on their own servers or wherever they like. So I think that’s that’s what makes you a solution where we unique. 

All right I think this was a very interesting episode and I really hope that many people either in business or in the IT. Especially in medium size companies have now heard the term low code and whenever you want to reach out and we put everything in the show notes and um yeah Roland hank you so much for your time. It’s a pleasure. Thank you so much.

Speaker Roland:

Thank you very much. Have a great day. Thank you.

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