Idea Trek

Implement Mendix to unlock custom app development at Davidson

Over the course of the Fall 2019 semester, T&I's Digital Transformation team (Dx) researched, trialed, and experimented with dozens of so-called "low-code" platforms. In a nutshell, low-code platforms allow you to build custom forms and web applications without having to write very much "real" code, if any. By implementing a true low-code platform like Mendix, Davidson College can meet the growing need for efficient, cost-effective custom development on campus while simultaneously empowering citizen developers, and future-proofing their products.

Early on in our project, we realized that a low-code platform is not just a tool for T&I's professional staff - instead, it is a catalyst for change on campus. Knowing this, we made the Davidson user experience the top priority in our research. We interviewed almost 40 stakeholders from across the staff and faculty of Davidson to assess their needs. These interviews, combined with a detailed assessment of over 40 low-code solutions on the market, allowed our team to develop the strategy which we will outline below.

While the majority of Davidson's use cases will be solved by Kuali Build, a new forms and workflow automation tool scheduled for implementation this Spring, our team believes that we also need a true low-code platform like Mendix for highly customized web and mobile applications. A full implementation of this 2-pronged strategy will put Davidson in a strong position to fulfill 100% of its custom application needs and lay the foundation for more citizen developer based production and ownership. Both of these goals align not only with the strategic goals of T&I, but also the strategic goals for Davidson College. We are seeking the committee's independent evaluation of our proposal so that, with additional research into how other institutions are tackling this problem, and an internal review of the College's own needs for custom development, Davidson College can decide whether the benefits of implementing Mendix outweigh the costs.

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Idea No. 65