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In early 2020, the world went virtual overnight as most employees started to work from home. Many found themselves stuck overseas with limited options for getting home. And while business travel abruptly ended, other business expenses continued as companies navigated their way through this vast change to a new normal. Supply chains were disrupted, but the goal remained -- to persevere – finding new ways to sustain and grow business, while supporting employees who are working in ways they never have before.

Remaining Agile

Since the start of the pandemic, governments and stakeholders involved in the fight against the virus have been relying on data analytics and digital technologies to address this novel threat. Mobile applications are now seen by many as a complementary response to the need to rapidly perform contact monitoring. Indeed, mobile solutions that enable the automatic detection of contacts would save precious hours of work of public health staff tracing the chain of infection and could do so with rapidity that matches the speed of the virus. Technological tools can play an important role in addressing the current challenge. The question is how to develop useful apps quickly and economically.

The Value of Low-Code for Business Agility

Low-code describes a method of software development which heavily emphasizes rapid prototyping and iterative delivery. The low-code model is, therefore, a sharp alternative to the typical waterfall development model, which often focuses largely on planning and sequential design practices. Accelerated application development nurtures business innovation.

SAP customer Van Marcke is a specialized wholesaler that distributes bathrooms, kitchens, heating installations, sanitary and installation materials, as well as sustainable solutions for water and heat. The company is the market leader in Belgium and Luxembourg. The safety and health of their employees and customers is essential. Van Marcke followed various contact-tracing initiatives closely for some time. Because there was no prospect of a viable solution for them in the short term, CEO Caroline Van Marcke wanted to take on the initiative herself.

Van Marcke recently launched their own user-friendly, intuitive Stay Safe contact-tracing app using SAP Cloud Platform Rapid Application Development by Mendix. Thanks to the contact-tracing app - developed in less than 8 days, for an investment of under €5K – their employees in Belgium, France, Switzerland and Luxembourg now know who they have been in contact with most recently.   

To remain responsive to privacy regulations, data will never be recorded for more than three weeks - more than enough time to bridge the incubation period. In the app, employees indicate who they had contact with and whether that was possibly associated with close or physical contact. Users can export their own registrations, and only the user can view his or her data.

After a number of test phases, the Stay Safe app was officially launched in four countries. It is expected that over one thousand employees will use it. The simplicity of the application, and the need to maintain contacts in a structured way, convinced employees to actively use the app and they have been pleased with the results. The positive reaction from users has also led to new ideas for utilizing low-code that will be further evaluated in the coming months.

Driving Exceptional Outcomes

The innovative development of the Stay Safe app was in response to a need created by the current crisis. Van Marcke wanted to help their employees by supporting responsible behavior. With this simple tool they wanted to provide employees with a solution to register their contacts in advance. And while they are very proud of this accomplishment, they hope that they will soon be able to do without it.

Read the recent press release to understand how Van Marcke is using low-code to stay agile, accelerate their important business initiatives, drive digitalization forward and embrace our new reality.

According to the latest Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Low-Code Application Platforms (LCAPs), “By 2023, over 50% of medium to large enterprises will have adopted a LCAP as one of their strategic application platforms.”(1) Navigating a global disruption requires change-readiness and adaptability. At its core, low-code development is built on these supporting principles — collaboration, agility, openness, and innovation.


Visit the first blog in this series to understand how low-code drives business innovation.

Visit the second blog in this series to learn how low-code enables business productivity.

And visit the third blog in this series to understand how low-code accelerates application time-to-value.


1 - Gartner, Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Low-code Application Platforms, 30 September 2020, [By Paul Vincent, Yefim Natis, Kimihiko Iijima, Jason Wong, Saikat Ray, Akash Jain, Adrian Leow]