In one of the earlier episodes of our High Tech – Low Code podcast, (check it out here: https://outsprint.com/blog/podcast/), we had the pleasure of chatting with Roy Goonewardena, Principal Solution Architect at leading low-code platform, OutSystems (https://www.outsystems.com/). Here are some of the OutSystems-related topics we discussed and insight he had to share.
OutSystems is Applicable to Any Industry Vertical & Company Size
OutSystems has almost 2,000 customers globally, across 22 industries and during his 6 years at OutSystems, Roy has never come across a business use case where OutSystems has not been a suitable fit. The only industry he can think of where OutSystems maybe does not fit in is the gaming industry, although it could still be used to serve for internal uses or operational aspects of a game. Otherwise, OutSystems can be used in almost any scenario such as managing the health of individuals, for use by fund managers and even for helping people in need. OutSystems can also fit into any customer model, whether they are just starting out or a master of their industry that is trying to keep up with the digital evolution that is taking place today.
OutSystems can Improve Customer Satisfaction
One of Roy’s most memorable projects was for a company that supports finance management on behalf of individuals. When OutSystems started working with this organisation, they had a mobile app which was delivered by a third party who was in control of its delivery. In less than 6 months, during the transition period from the previous system to OutSystems, they took full control of the application. Roy originally participated in the evaluation cycle of this process to support the customer and today the app has an average rating of 4.6 stars from hundreds of users. OutSystems can very quickly convert end-user satisfaction and how you provide digital services to your customers.
What Makes OutSystems Unique
OutSystems is unique because it can enable a citizen developer to start building digital assets or solutions for their organisation but on top of that, it also provides a full governance umbrella around it. So just because a citizen developer developed something doesn’t mean it can go through the production stage unless is goes through that validation cycle or governance model that you establish with a platform such as OutSystems. With the enablement of citizen developers, you can bring together the business and the IT delivery organisation with platforms like OutSystems.
Getting started with OutSystems
OutSystems have seen individuals from all walks of life. They have had developers that started their journeys as economists and financial advisors who through having some technical acumen or curiosity, started using OutSystems and have now become full-on Architects and Expert Developers.
If you want to get started in the world of OutSystems, they provide a great set of free tutorials on their website and there is an ecosystem of more than 250,000 community members you can reach out to if you have questions. There is also a free trial of their personal edition which exists forever and enables you to build creative apps such as your own personal app for controlling your Sonos speaker system or Phillips bulbs at home.
You can start anywhere and it is up to you to decide how creative you want to be. Whether you have traditional development experience or no experience at all and you just want to get started delivering digital solutions and applications, OutSystems has starting points for different experience levels in their training materials. They also have direct paths you can start such as Full-Stack Developer, Expert in Mobile Front-End & How to Optimise Business Processes.
Find out more about starting out with OutSystems here: https://www.outsystems.com/learn/
Low-Code’s Biggest Challenges
One of the biggest challenges OutSystems and other low-code providers face is the ability to convince people that low-code is a solution that can really provide digital innovation capabilities to your organisation, not only to digitally evolve, but also to keep up with the fast pace required by the modern consumer. Organisations need to shift their mindset when adopting cloud-native digital solution delivery technologies such as OutSystems. Eventually we will get to a point where there will be trust established among organisations that these are tools that citizen developers and IT developers can use.
OutSystems provides a wide breadth of capabilities. As well as being a full-stack, mobile and web development platform, they also provide a full lifecycle management tool which enables easy and quick integration with a multitude of information repositories. It is also able to provide engagement to your end users, be it mobile, web or through voice driven channels which are becoming increasingly popular.
Keeping up with Technology
OutSystems is constantly analysing the tech industry to see what is happening and what common elements people are interacting with. For example, by keeping a close eye on the journey of AI, OutSystems has been investing in it and has recently incorporated AI in their development studio. It will also be featured in some other aspects which are going to be released in their new version showcase.
As OutSystems isn’t just a development tool, they have to make sure they are up to date with not only the experience industry (the consumption of mobile and desktop applications, tablets, TV and services such as voice-controlled assistants), but also the security challenges of the market such as cyber security.
Another reason why they need to keep up with current trends is so that they can ensure that their customers will be able to deliver applications with new up-and-coming tech formats and platforms so that their customers are kept out of technical debt.
A Catalyst for Digital Transformation
OutSystems is one of the biggest catalysts for digital transformation today. It is something we need nowadays due to the pandemic because it can help develop systems that allow us to connect with one another and get on with our work.
The Future of Software Development
Given the rapid progress and constant change we are observing in tech and the consumption of tech services, Roy prefers to rely on the analysts such as Gartner, Forrester & IBC for predictions because they conduct better research. Here are some to watch out for:
- Apps are getting smaller because consumers are looking for point solutions for services.
- According to IBC, it has taken nearly 40 years to build nearly 500 million digital solutions that exist in today’s market. They also predict that the next 500 million is only going to take another 4 or 5 years or even less which means that these applications are going to be delivered to market at 10 times the speed (using low-code and many other solutions the market has to offer).
- We are seeing more and more consumable software building digital assets in the market, from complete no-code to OutSystems-like low-code platforms. Even OutSystems is beginning to add no-code features to their platform so that citizen developers can really start engaging with IT and become the ones to define and decide what kind of services they are going to be able to offer to their customers. Another fundamental part of software delivery is going to be AI which is going to be available during the app development cycle. OutSystems has already introduced this and it is going to be even further extended with more features as the platform evolves. Other low-code providers have also incorporated AI in their development studios and processes. We are going to see more data being utilised by these AI platforms to make decisions on behalf of consumers.
- Hardware is slowly fading into the background as software becomes more prominent. For example, the key feature of driverless cars is the software, not the vehicle itself.
- Gartner predicts that more than 20% of 2020-21 customers will move to cloud-native solutions which means that infrastructure from organisational custodianship is slowly disappearing into the cloud and we will see the same happen with software as well – more and more software assets that big organisations run on-site will move towards the cloud. However, with this comes security and other challenges. While some organisations have a multitude of developers and are well-equipped to handle cloud-native architecture, not everyone can afford that luxury. Smaller players that also need to play on the same playing field and disrupt traditional economies and business models also need to be able to provide these cloud-native features as well as take advantage of cloud-native services such as the ones provided by OutSystems and their competitors. We will see more people moving towards cloud operations and cloud-native software development and delivery.
Published by by Shabnam Touraney
March 4, 2021