Rotterdam is one of the biggest cities in the Netherlands and has the largest information technology (IT) department. In 2016 the city began a digitalisation programme to meet the many and varying needs of its inhabitants and to encourage efficiency and innovation through digital transformation.
However, the City of Rotterdam’s IT department was plagued by high costs, limited capacity and long lead times. Many of the apps that had been requested from across city departments became obsolete due to delays, leading to departments having to outsource the work to external developers. This led to ‘Shadow IT’ chaos, with disparate systems being created by different third parties without any consistency and sometimes without the approval of the city’s IT department.
And all these apps needed to be placed on the central IT infrastructure to be effective – which was not always possible.
The City of Rotterdam needed a more Agile, easy to use, low-code platform that staff could get to grips with quickly and which would have the option to reuse building blocks in other apps, and it turned to low-code and no-code specialist CLEVR.
Using CLEVR’s expertise in the high productivity app platform Mendix, in conjunction with Rotterdam’s Rapid Application Development (RAD) team, a series of useful citizen-centric apps were created that connect to the city’s current IT structure.
A series of workshops were held so different city departments could present app ideas, as well as assess common issues and concerns. And CLEVR’s consultants worked on site to help the City of Rotterdam’s own Mendix developers use the platform more effectively. This led to a framework being set up where if an app was being developed that didn’t work, it could be easily adjusted.
CLEVR helped develop a number of apps aimed at making dealing with the City of Rotterdam and its departments simpler and more efficient for residents to navigate.
Early projects of simplifying the Special Assistance process and upgrading an existing app for street surveillance and enforcement were joining by a signpost app. This was designed to direct members of the public to the best relevant department online to deal with their query. Meanwhile a new app for drivers makes it easier for visitors to the city to pay for parking. An app for incoming subsidy registration was created to allow the city to better explain the process and the reasons behind decisions, and where issues arose with outdated infrastructure, a temporary solution was put in place to allow the city’s IT system to handle the latest integration technology.
Rotterdam now plans to have a RAD team of 14 people by 2023, which is fully Agile and covers all disciplines including UX/UI development and testing. CLEVR will continue to support the city as needed with its progressive philosophy.
“Mendix can be learned quickly and it is easy to use. Users can achieve a lot themselves and have the option of reusing building blocks in other apps. If the app you built doesn’t deliver the intended result, you can adjust it again or throw it away. This fits with the new way of working”