What do you like best?
Having managed, sponsored and promoted dozens of OutSystems projects across multiple industry sectors since 2005, what I like best in OutSystems:
• Build strong Web and Mobile POC, Prototypes and MVP in record time;
• Not only how fast we can build applications from the ground up but more important, how fast we can adapt applications to meet an increasingly dynamic and uncertain business environment;
• We benefit from the Rapid Application Development power of OutSystems while maintaining full flexibility to integrate with external systems and applications seamlessly and increment functionality through custom developed software components known as Extensions.
What do you dislike?
From a business perspective, the price structure and licensing model should change less frequently, be more clear and more flexible to accommodate different adoption scenarios. Initial investment costs and lack of predictability regarding future cost of ownership, as applications evolve, are common objections to OutSystems platform adoption.
From a technical perspective, I know that, in bigger and more complex projects, technical teams may struggle with governance issues, code merging, release building and versioning, although we recognize that OutSystems has made important improvements in that area in recent versions of the platform.
Recommendations to others considering the product
My first recommendation would be to try the platform. It is free, you have access to complete training materials and do not need any special guidance to build your first OutSystems application.
As a second recommendation and like many things in life, one size does not fit all. The approach you follow in the adoption of the platform will depend on the scenario at hand. Sometimes OutSystems will be great just for applications’ front-ends, leveraging the power of great user experience and anywhere, anytime access, connected to already existing solid backend systems. Other times OutSystems full stack applications may be the right path to follow to achieve modernization of legacy systems and leverage the full power of RAD. The decision of when and how to use the platform will dictate how much business value you can extract from its adoption.
As a last recommendation and as it usually happens with powerful tools like OutSystems, you can build great applications that bring high value to the business and that users love but you can also build sloppy, unmanageable and unusable applications that will be, sooner or later, thrown away. Good architecture decisions and sound governance are critical to maximize the benefits extracted from the OutSystems platform adoption, so be careful when choosing the project team.
What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?
From modernizing legacy systems to streamlining inefficient paper-based processes and engaging customers, suppliers and partners, we have solved a great variety of business problems and delivered real value to our customers, with great ROI in just a few months. Most of all, I have seen satisfied end users that breed and embrace applications built with OutSystems, which is ultimately our goal as information technology professionals.