Sweco Netherlands and Sweco Belgium have both implemented low-code/no-code (LCNC) technology. The interesting part? They’ve taken different routes to reach the same destination.

Sweco is Europe’s biggest architecture and engineering consultancy company, with over 18,000 architects, engineers, and consultants operating in over 14 countries. The organization is a leader in its field, and the latest innovation Sweco has onboarded is low-code/no-code (LCNC) development.

At Sweco, the demand for custom solutions and applications for business users has been growing rapidly. Business departments require easy-to-use, bespoke, customizable solutions which can be built quickly and securely. Meanwhile, IT departments are stretched-thin, and out-sourcing IT solutions is a convoluted and expensive process. This issue brought both Sweco Netherlands and Sweco Belgium onto their separate paths towards the same low-code/no-code (LCNC) development destination using Betty Blocks, forming fusion teams and empowering business users in the application development process.

Empowered to self-build - Sweco Belgium

Sam van Mulders (Chief Digital Officer at Sweco Belgium) experienced an increasingly urgent need from business users to have digital solutions supporting their work. In the absence of bespoke applications, solutions were self-built on MS Access or created through excel documents, thus blocking transparency, governance, or standardization. Alternatively the IT department would be involved in application creation, resulting in a full-scale development approach in which money and resources were invested at a stage where ideas and concepts were not properly matured. Each of these solutions brought their own insufficient use of time and resources, complicating processes which required simplification. A new approach had to be taken.

Sweco Belgium is growing quickly, and experiencing the universal challenge of finding the right people. Sam recognized that the business had to digitize, but hiring developers was not a fitting solution. Instead, by investing internally Sweco empowered their existing employees to think digitally and innovatively.

Sam found the perfect solution in no-code development. The Betty Blocks platform empowers business users to develop and test their ideas and stimulate innovation in a simplified, secured, governed, and scalable manner. Aziri, highly skilled in LCNC development, was selected as Sweco Belgium’s implementation partner. Aziri trained Sweco’s first fusion team and, in co-creation, built the first application. Since then, a small development team at Sweco Belgium has been independently building. The application development team consistently involves business users, to which ownership is transferred for the making of small back-end adjustments and updates once the application is built. The fusion team is further composed of a project developer, a coach, and a project owner.

Citizen developers (business users without coding experience developing applications) at Sweco Belgium have built five internal applications. One of these applications, a client satisfaction tool, has over 5000 users in global Sweco offices. Some of their other applications work to automate and digitize internal processes that were previously done through convoluted and error-prone manual work, optimizing their business processes. Additionally, the development team has started building customer facing applications, developing self-serve solutions in close collaboration with their clients.

According to Sam van Mulders, the Betty Block’s strength is rooted in the platform’s intuitive drag-and-drop interface and model-building methodology. This makes the platform easy to maintain, even when the data or code gets more complicated. Additionally, the ability to modify the look and feel of the frontend, adding visual branding to applications, makes all solutions customizable. Meanwhile, all applications can be integrated into the existing ERP system, and the international Azure SSO configuration Sweco uses - a vital element for a large organization.

Sweco's Applications


Building Information Modeling (BIM) Tool

Sweco Netherlands' fusion team has built a BIM Tool for the ISO19650 certificate. The app includes a bespoke checklist incorporating the appropriate clauses, and is integrated with jira.


Client Satisfaction Tool

Sweco Belgium's fusion team have developed a Client Satisfaction Tool which has over 5000 users in global Sweco offices


Customer Facing Applications

Citizen developers at Sweco have started created self-serve solutions in close collaborations with their clients, elevating their customer support

View Legal Solutions

An innovative layer around an ERP system - Sweco Netherlands

Meanwhile, Sweco Netherlands found their own way to Betty Blocks. An urgent necessity for custom solutions for various company processes became obvious during their transition to a new ERP system. The organization had two specific use cases - a risk-management system and a project budget calculator for the business. Given a short timeline due to the fast-approaching ERP implementation date, they needed something built quickly, efficiently, and securely.

Seeing their Dutch neighbor’s success, Richard Bruggingk (IT Manager at Sweco Netherlands) foresaw the benefits of implementing the same, fully customizable, LCNC platform for rapid application development. Meanwhile, the Betty Blocks platform enables organizations to build an innovative layer around an existing ERP system, mapping exactly onto Sweco’s needs.

Sweco Netherlands selected ilionx as their development partner for their experience with Betty Blocks and knowledge of the Microsoft Power Apps Platform. Sweco Netherlands had previously developed simple solutions through Power Apps, and the Betty Blocks platform enables the full integration of existing infrastructure with new applications. This way, Sweco has selected two platforms to fit their evolving needs, supplementing one another seamlessly.

Together, Sweco Netherlands and ilionx employees established their own version of a fusion team. Sweco business users were involved in collecting ideas, establishing requirements, and providing feedback. While ilionix built the solutions, the platform enables Sweco members to manage and adjust the applications. Using this development method, the identified use cases were developed into applications within the timeframe and budget.

Since then, Sweco NL has continued their rapid application development. Sweco is a frontrunner in the certificate process, and is currently developing an ISO19650 certificate Building Information Modeling (BIM) Tool. The application guides users through a bespoke form incorporating all the clauses of the BIM certification. Enabled by the Betty Blocks platform, the app is integrated with jira and automatically creates tickets to finalize missing checklist elements.

By digitizing previously manual processes, the app ensures process efficiency, guaranteeing that all requirements are met at the proper time. Time is saved across the organization as all information is collectivized and requirements are clear. Through an optimized certification process all the information is controlled, governed, and secured, and the failure cost on a project is minimized. Supported by these applications, Sweco remains a leader in the industry.

“Through agile work, if we fail we do it much quicker, so we succeed much faster. By noticing issues early in the process we exclusively invest time and resources into projects and applications we know have the correct product market fit and consistently yield success. ”

More than a platform

Crucially, Sweco has implemented both a new technology and way of working. Instead of fitting the Betty Blocks platform into the framework of traditional software development, both branches have incorporated agile work for rapid innovation. This is digital transformation through LCNC development, and Sweco demonstrates the various forms it can take.

At Sweco Belgium, Aziri onboarded the team onto both the platform and agile working methods. According to Sam, Aziri taught them how to begin by building an MVP, then gathering feedback, and finally implementing this into further versions, thus going through various iteration cycles. The result? Rapid and flexible application development in which adjustments or changes can be made early in the process when requirements aren’t fulfilled.

According to Sam, “through agile work, if we fail we do it much quicker, so we succeed much faster. By noticing issues early in the process we exclusively invest time and resources into projects and applications we know have the correct product market fit and consistently yield success”. Thus, the time and resources invested into application development is reduced while business users are empowered in their innovation.

Sweco Netherlands has experienced a digital transformation of their own. They established a scrum team composed of Sweco business users and ilionx developers. According to Richard, both sides brought their specific knowledge with enthusiasm and dedication, fostering true collaboration. The team developed a set pattern within one-week sprints: two days development followed by three days of review. Through this strict development rhythm, agile work, and collaborative innovation, the two applications were developed within the set budget and timeframe.