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BCX Builds ERP System Five Times Faster and Gains Business Agility Advantage

1 weekend to deliver first app
50% software license cost saving
5x faster application development
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ICT solutions provider BCX has been an OutSystems customer since 2008. Its OutSystems journey took off when three developers built a crucial inventory tracking solution in one weekend. The new system saved the company a fortune by eliminating inventory and billing black holes.

Since then, BCX has continually extended its OutSystems landscape, including mobile apps and a complete ERP and workflow solution that the entire company runs on. The company has halved its software licensing costs and reports a five-fold increase in developer productivity.

  • App Modernization
  • Business Process Management
  • Digital Core Systems
  • Digital Transformation
  • Field Service Optimization
  • Mobile Applications
  • Operational Efficiency
  • Web Apps & Portals
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“With OutSystems, our three developers delivered a crucial inventory tracking system over a weekend. Today, we support a custom-built ERP system with the same small team.”

Ruben Olivier Senior Manager of Information Systems, BCX
Challenge

An Inflexible Legacy App Lead to Inventory and Billing Disputes

BCX’s legacy inventory management solution was no longer fit for purpose. The company installs and leases complex IT, networking, and telecommunications solutions. So, tracking tens of thousands of assets across thousands of customer sites is a crucial capability.

Because the old system was so inflexible, users often cheated the system. “Setting up a new product was virtually a job for programmers,” says Ruben Olivier, Senior Manager of Information Systems at BCX. “As a workaround, users would sometimes add generic line items to customer orders, then explain the actual device required in accompanying notes.”

“Development is around five times faster on OutSystems compared to traditional coding. We’d need at least nine to 12 developers to accomplish what we’ve been able to do with three.”

Ruben Olivier Senior Manager of Information Systems, BCX

Inevitably, such kludges caused inventory reporting and billing discrepancies. It was hard to prove what devices were where and when they went live. This hurt BCX’s bottom line, as lease disputes led to write-offs.

Without a dedicated application development team, it fell to BCX’s research and development team to solve the problem.

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Why BCX chose OutSystems:
  • Speed-up development and improve agility
  • Build core systems
  • Deliver web and mobile applications
Solution

Inventory Management Solution Grows into ERP System

The research and development team had already used OutSystems for some spreadsheet replacement applications. They consulted the OutSystems Forge—a repository of reusable modules, connectors, and business solutions—and found a generic inventory management application that gave them a head start.

Over just one weekend, the three developers built a modern web application that solved their inventory management headaches.

Compared to the legacy inventory package, the significant advantage was the ability to allocate assets to orders, customers, and specific customer sites. “Some large contracts involve rollouts to 500 bank branches,” explains Ruben. “So it was crucial for the new inventory app to support these complex relationships.”

Numerous enhancements to the system followed, including mobile support, multiple workflows, and configure, price, quote (CPQ) based on a comprehensive product catalog.

“The system is now called Business Operations Support System—BOSS,” explains Ruben. “We’ve adapted our entire way of working around the system.”

By consolidating most of its processes into BOSS, BCX eliminated numerous legacy systems, many of which were burdened by technical debt that made them difficult and risky to maintain.

Apart from the significant software savings, another advantage is improved visibility of performance metrics which helps BCX drive continuous process improvement.

As the scope of BOSS grew, BCX expanded its team with development support from JustSolve, an OutSystems development partner. JustSolve helped BCX launch its new CPQ module in less than three months.

Developers regularly use pre-built modules and connectors from the OutSystems Forge to prevent reinventing the wheel and speed up development. Using OutSystems eliminated most of BCX’s previous development challenges, including streamlining the entire CI/CD process.

“OutSystems automatically updates our apps with new security patches,” says Ruben. “We didn’t have to design for it. And mobile development is much more efficient with single-source development for iOS and Android.”

"Single-click deployment with automatic dependency checking makes CI/CD much easier. OutSystems saves us lots of time by taking care of that. I know from experience how challenging it can be to roll out updates and new modules."

Ruben Olivier Senior Manager of Information Systems, BCX
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Partner

JustSolve (Pty) Ltd

We are a multi-disciplinary team focused on delivering high-quality software through agile, lean and iterative methodologies. We were awarded the OutSystems Hero of the Year Award for 2020.

Learn more about JustSolve (Pty) Ltd
Results

OutSystems Delivers Cost Saving and Agility Advantage

“Building BOSS on the OutSystems platform has totally met our original business case,” Ruben says. “Without OutSystems, we’d need at least nine to 12 developers to accomplish what we’ve been able to accomplish with three to five—even as BOSS’s capabilities have grown.”

Ruben estimates that development times are five times faster than traditional coding. OutSystems removes the repetitive toil of basic development and code lifecycle management.

BCX’s developers have become more self-sufficient. In the past, the company outsourced mobile app development. When the company outgrew the app’s capabilities, it brought development in-house. “We started redeveloping this with Xamarin and delayed a workable mobile solution by a year,” says Ruben.

“We switched mobile development to OutSystems. Now we’ve got one platform for development that means we’re fully in control and can do pretty much anything we want, across web, iOS, or Android with the same team and skillset."

Ruben Olivier Senior Manager of Information Systems, BCX

Faster development, self-sufficiency, and improved systems and processes are delivering numerous agility advantages for BCX. For example:

  • BOSS users can set up complex orders in 10 minutes. With the old system, the same process could take two hours.
  • A mobile field service app supports contractors performing installations. BCX estimates they’ve halved the time and cost of this process.

Those cost savings have a tangible impact on the company. “We’re getting a lot more installation work from other companies because we can now do it cheaper than they can,” says Ruben.

Because developers don’t need to spend as much time maintaining BOSS, they have more time to focus on building for BCX’s future. And with OutSystems, the development team can routinely roll out new apps to meet future challenges.