In today's day and age, there’s a common train of thought that “every business is a software company”, as said by Mr. Watt S. Humphrey, the father of quality in software and CMMI, two decades ago. This has been repeated many times by leaders of different large corporations, the most quoted being the CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella:

“Every company is a software company. You have to start thinking and operating like a digital company. It’s no longer just about procuring one solution and deploying one. It’s not about one simple software solution. It’s really you yourself thinking of your own future as a digital company.”

As Satya Nadella alluded to, companies in the past could rely on one monolith, off-the-shelf or custom-built solution. However, in today's world, companies need to think of a multitude of options when it comes to procuring digital solutions, which include high-code, low-code, no-code, and even commercial off-the-shelf applications.

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With so many different specialties and departments in the mix, choosing the right solution for your organization requires multiple modern development approaches and solutions to creating new apps and services.

Which Approach Should Your Company Take?

With so many options available to organizations today, let’s take a look at the different approaches and analyze the pros and cons of each one.

High-Code

High-code assembly relies on highly skilled developers to write and deploy code. Developers will often rely on frameworks and programming languages like JavaScript, C#, React, Angular, or frameworks specifically designed for mobile or native applications.

This approach is ideal for a “code-driven” experience that is tightly tied to code deployment cycles. It supports the development of any type of software, from business applications to games. When using high-code you can excel in the implementation of advanced calculation algorithms and customized connectors between systems, but this usually comes at the cost of highly specialized and highly skilled developers.

When everything requires a developer’s hand, it takes time away from the more valuable work developers could be doing, such as creating new features and innovations.

Commercially Off-the-Shelf (COTS)

On the opposite side of the spectrum, you have commercial off-the-shelf applications. These are pre-built and configured to solve specific problems like managing sales opportunities (CRM), website content, or digital marketing campaigns. Organizations purchase a COTS solution because there’s minimum customization needed or they need to automate a complex business process (like CRM), and using traditional code would be expensive and time-consuming.

Against traditional code, a COTS decision is straightforward. Time to value is months instead of years, plus the vendor takes care of maintenance and feature updates. COTS solutions historically are easier to set up, install and maintain than building the same solution in traditional code.

However, with the advent of no-code and low-code solutions, many of these dynamics have changed.

No-Code

No-code platforms put business users directly in the driver’s seat. True to the name, these solutions involve no need to write a single line of code once they are launched. Instead, they rely on forms, configuration, and simple input tools to manage the experience.

No-code solutions are great for solving individual basic department issues, like updating content or assets on a page, without pulling the attention of developers away from other projects.

However, no-code tools are limited in terms of bringing about large-scale innovations or building new platforms. They typically are more difficult and expensive to extend, and while fast to set up and use, they are often limited in their flexibility and functionality.

Low-Code

Low-code development platforms use visual software development environments to allow enterprise developers and citizen developers to drag and drop application components, connect them together and create mobile or web apps. This way, it reduces the labor allocated to key-stroke code writing.

The primary benefits of low-code solutions are speed, agility, and the flat learning curve that allow organizations to accelerate the onboarding of new developers.

The problem with most low-code platforms, however, is that the simplicity they brought to software development came at the expense of power and creativity. Therefore, complex, enterprise-grade applications are often not suitable for the common low-code platform.

And that’s where high-performance low-code differs.

High-Performance Low-Code

High performance low-code is a different breed within low-code. This type of low-code is designed to empower professional developers to achieve serious productivity and create serious apps with continuous innovation.

With a high-performance low-code platform like OutSystems, your developers can focus on delivering enterprise-grade applications faster to the business.

 


OutSystems gives developers the power of leveraging pre-built components (as with the OutSystems Forge), and designing systems and functionalities that can be rearranged and repurposed to shape different and exceptional experiences for a continuously evolving world.

Although catered to professional developers, business users still play a vital role in the entire application development process. Developers build the components together with business users as all the development is done through a visual development method. This collaboration can speed up time to market and result in overall greater customer satisfaction for the business because business users are able to directly translate their insights into actions.

Traditionally, developers have been reluctant to embrace low-code due to concerns about functionality, scalability and security. But (some) low-code platforms have come a long way since their early inception. OutSystems provides a secure runtime environment and the tools necessary for secure development of all application types.

So Many Choices, What Do We Do?

Seldom you’ll be in a situation where there is a “one size fits all” solution. Nowadays, most organizations take a hybrid approach, incorporating a mixture of solutions and platforms. Speaking from my experience, most of our customers have an existing system in place, usually a combination of legacy systems they need to replace with modern platforms.

So, many factors need to be taken into consideration, like:

  • How can we deliver to the business in the expected time frame?
  • Do we have the necessary resources to complete the backlog?
  • Is there an existing solution that meets all our criteria?

These are just a few common questions we come across when customers approach us looking for a low-code solution. The key is to get a mix for both the business and the users who will not only be using these solutions but also those who will be incorporating them into the business.

Many of our customers find that with OutSystems there is a way for their developers to get more done. With high-performance low-code, they can spend more time creating and building and less time on repetitive work.

Sure, it’s fun to learn the latest faddish JavaScript framework or play with a cutting-edge NoSQL data store, but while you’re spending time debugging unfamiliar code, the competition has an MVP in front of customers.

Simply put, building software with high-performance low-code is the same as building software any other way.

Why Not Give High-Performance Low-Code a Go?

High-performance low-code doesn't mean easy, but for sure, it means faster, more agile and more efficient. Technical skills are still needed to succeed while building enterprise-grade applications. Over the years, low-code gained traction, and more businesses learned about its benefits over traditional coding practices. And now, with high performance low-code you can reach a whole new level of agility and performance, while combining the critical elements of traditional coding solutions — such as flexibility and customization — with saving considerable amounts of time.

If you want to learn more about high-performance low-code and OutSystems, feel free to contact me at paul.de.abreu@outsystems.com or linkedin.com/in/pdeabreu. Alternatively, why not witness OutSystems power for yourself by signing up for our free edition — and after that register for one of our JumpStart sessions. It's a free workshop on how you can build applications more efficiently in OutSystems.