OutSystems adds low-code in all layers of application development

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OutSystems is one of the companies that has put low-code on the map. Because the company is a forerunner in this market, it can tell like no other where the low-code market is heading. At the end of last year, we talked to Gonçalo Gaiolas, Vice President of OutSystems, to find out how OutSystems views low-code today.

OutSystems is one of the largest low-code providers in the world. The organisation is growing by leaps and bounds and enables companies to significantly accelerate their application development. During the interview with Gaiolas, he emphasized that there is a lot of difference between the various low-code suppliers. Most solutions focus purely on small stand-alone application development or building an existing enterprise solution. They mainly focus on the operational layer of an application by applying low-code to that layer. The user experience and the ability to integrate with different back-ends is often limited, depending on available templates or an integration partner.

That operational layer is certainly not unimportant, as the entire application logic and the operation of the application is captured therein. Just like other suppliers, OutSystems can offer a good solution here, which is not only suitable for development but also for business, non-professional users (citizen developers). What distinguishes OutSystems, according to Gaiolas, is the size and complexity of such an application and the further OutSystems can extend the low-code part.

With OutSystems, you can build a simple mobile application or an enterprise application to perform simple tasks. However, you can also use it to build a complete ERP system or automate an entire country. It’s just how ambitious the ambition is and whether you, as an organisation, take the transition to low-code seriously. The possibilities are endless, according to Gaiolas. According to him, OutSystems has no limitations, like many other low-code suppliers do.

With OutSystems, you can automate an entire country

AI, augmented reality and speech recognition

As Gaiolas pointed out earlier, OutSystems applies low-code not only in the operational layer. The necessary low-code is also applied in the back-end so that a new application can easily integrate with all kinds of different systems. It makes no difference whether it concerns legacy solutions that are not yet API-based or modern API-based cloud solutions. OutSystems has extensive support to integrate with old and new systems, without adding complexity. Everything can be designed and built via low-code.

OutSystems has also developed an AI that supports building an application. This makes it possible to make recommendations about the further development of the application during the development process. If you are working on a customer data window, he can automatically finish that page and make suggestions for the fields to be displayed here. If you want to know the company name, contact person and address, you will probably also want to know postcode, city, house number, telephone number and e-mail. This way, the AI makes it very easy to quickly build an application.

In addition, OutSystems is working hard to improve the front-end and user experience of an application with low-code. Substantial investments have been made in new features to improve the experience with OutSystems built applications. For example, OutSystems has modules to work with augmented reality, speech recognition, chatbots and workflows.

By means of augmented reality, things can be visualised. For example, what certain products look like within an existing environment. With chatbots, the user experience within an application can be greatly improved. Many companies try to relieve the burden on the telephone customer service by offering customers more digital possibilities. A chatbot can already answer frequently asked questions. This increases customer satisfaction, reduces the workload on customer service and the costs of the company. Voice recognition is another step OutSystems has taken to improve the user experience. A chatbot works fine via text, but even better if you can add speech to it. OutSystems can convert speech into text, but also vice versa. That makes the whole experience more interactive.

Workflows & RPA

By building workflows, OutSystems is entering a new market, that of business process management. This is a logical step because in recent years, we have seen many BPM players take the opposite path to low-code. For example, Appian and PegaSystems are increasingly profiling themselves as low-code solutions. With the workflow builder, it is possible to do case management within your low-code application. Although the competition is fierce, as a large enterprise low-code player, you can no longer ignore workflows today. Workflows can be used to automate many processes that still take up a lot of time, such as on-boarding a customer, employee or partner.

Process automation was probably high on the list at OutSystems because the rise of RPA (robotic process automation) has not gone unnoticed either. RPA has made an enormous advance within enterprise IT, and the company is responding to this with its own RPA solution. The combination of RPA and workflows in a low-code environment provides a great catch-up to help companies innovate.

OutSystems wants to increase its reach through education

The world of low-code is actually still in its infancy because there are still plenty of companies that do not work with low-code. OutSystems has decided to set up an education programme to ensure that the reach of low-code is widened and more people come into contact with it. Technical schools and universities can contact OutSystems for training materials and exams. This is all offered free of charge. OutSystems is busy training instructors who can teach. The complete training is of course based on OutSystems software, but the basic principles of low-code are of course incorporated in it. In this way, OutSystems hopes to train the staff of the future and to do something about the great shortage of developers.

OutSystems also comes up with low-code training itself, in the evenings, outside of work. The training courses are aimed at people who are active in IT and want to retrain themselves. This is entirely free of charge. OutSystems initially hoped for 20 people, but at the first training, they already had 400 registrations.

OutSystems seems to be on the right track to develop itself further in the low-code market. However, it is a market that is moving at lightning speed and in which new players are becoming active all the time. Even very large enterprise organisations such as Google, Microsoft and Salesforce are taking low-code more and more seriously. We are curious to see how this market will continue to develop in the coming years.