When I hear “enterprise-class,” all Star Trek references aside, in my head I envision something big and made out of hard metal. And it’s sold in tiers, “Well, you can get going with our mom-and-pop starter pack. We’ll give you a customizable front-end website, but you’ll have to set up your own server in a closet somewhere. Now, if you really want to be successful, you are definitely going to want to upgrade to our enterprise-class bundle.”
There is certainly nothing wrong with levels of services and feature-based pricing. Truth be told, enterprise-worthiness is one of the evaluation categories that led Gartner to name OutSystems a Leader in its 2018 High-Productivity Application Platform as a Service Magic Quadrant. And make no mistake, we’re super-excited about it.
The thing is, we aren’t manufacturing automobiles where for one price you get a Geo Metro, and if you really want to shell out some cash, you can go all in on a Bentley. With OutSystems, from day 1, you get an enterprise-grade low-code development platform. That’s it. You get the Bentley. (You can consider our free edition a test drive.) And the Bentley is what vendors have to offer if they want to keep making the Gartner Leader quadrant.
For that reason, the criteria for Gartner’s evaluation of enterprise-worthiness is worth taking a look at. Enterprises absolutely need these capabilities. At the risk of further complicating Gartner’s evaluation, we divided the “enterprise-worthiness” category into smaller criteria to make them more digestible and to provide a better understanding of what led them to their conclusions. Then, because Gartner also doesn’t break down its specific criteria by vendor, we offer how OutSystems meets these criteria.
The Only Guarantees are Death and Taxes
Both of which fall under the same thing that Gartner’s SLAs and certifications fall under: legal. Enterprises not only have internal requirements for quality of service, but they are often also delivering a service externally that requires guaranteed uptimes. That alone requires that anything they purchase or license for their own use has to come with its own SLAs and certifications that say it’s going to do what the vendor says it will.
Ideally, from an enterprise standpoint, even if a problem were to happen, there are so many legal contracts in place to financially protect itself, that the biggest ding it would suffer would be at the hands of the general public’s trust. And we’ve all seen how many large enterprises have been completely shut down due to a failure to maintain legal or social contracts (not many, not many).
The OutSystems public cloud deployment offers an availability service level of 99.9%, and historically it has actually been around 99.99%. That comes out to slightly more than three minutes of downtime annually. My satellite television goes out far longer than that when it rains. I’m also not delivering real-time GPS data to help commuters get around Atlanta traffic jams either, but considering that every customer of OutSystems enjoys this same level of service, it’s not bad.
“I Said, ‘Do You Speak-a My Language?’”
Gartner calls it “internationalization.” We prefer “localization,” as in enabling organizations who support users in multiple countries to develop localized applications. Either way, it comes down to serving up a user experience that is geared specifically to the location of your audience, wherever they are.
A perfect example of localization is an app used by the European claims management giant, Van Ameyde, that was developed with OutSystems. Called ECHO, which is an abbreviation of European Claims Handling Optimization, the app provides customized claims handling based on each customer’s service level agreement and their specific country’s requirements. (This is not our only Van Ameyde success story, either. You can see all the different ways they use OutSystems on this page.)
Chuck Norris Doesn’t Need SOAP: Dirt Is Afraid of Him
The best thing I’ve seen all week is the Chuck Norris database API. A waste of good development time or the kind of service to humanity we could use more of? You decide.
But seriously, this category is slightly less interestingly described by Gartner as, “exposure of application capabilities as services via APIs.”
Now that you’ve read that three times, it basically boils down to how well and easily a solution makes its technology available externally to tie back into. Some key things to look for when considering a low-code solution:
- Integration with SOAP services, REST APIs, and SAP systems with a single click
- Built-in connectors, automation, and centralized management of integration
- Automatic instrumentation that monitors and tracks performance metrics so you can address issues before they become a problem
OutSystems meets and exceeds the expectations here—check, check, and check!
The Americares customer success story is a great example. Americares coordinates disaster relief efforts around the world. They needed an application that was easy to use, but powerful enough to tie into numerous partner APIs globally to coordinate their supply chain and logistics. OutSystems was able to deliver a powerful, database-driven mobile app that did all that. And we did it much quicker than the nine months Americares estimated it would have taken their internal staff of three developers.
Was That Fast? That Looked Fast (Read This in Your Best Jodie Foster Southern Accent)
Back in the old days of security, when the most pervasive threat was someone accessing an open port on your firewall, performance was measured more in terms of speeds and feeds. The metric was more about the hardware where the software resides and being able to keep up with the amount of data on the line.
Similarly, Gartner judges low-code platforms on their high-volume throughput and rightly so. A platform can be great, but if it’s slow, it’s not doing anyone any good.
In addition to hosting its cloud environment on AWS and Azure, both of which boast throughputs that meet or exceed many commercial databases, OutSystems optimizes all generated code to ensure the applications behave as expected and to avoid scalability and reliability issues.
OutSystems also developed an approach to process modeling and execution, called Business Process Technology (BPT). You can read all about it here, but, in short, it uses light events to allow simpler processes that don’t need tracking to run much faster, increasing the event processing throughput significantly.
Location Is Everything
For this evaluation criteria, Gartner considers the platform’s location services and support for things like multi-cloud and hybrid on-premises plus cloud support. It’s hard to argue that AWS and Azure offer anything but some of the best cloud environments for any organization looking for speed, redundancy, and security. So whether a customer is looking to host the OutSystems platform on-premises, or in the cloud, the platform looks, feels, and operates the same. Only the hardware setup is different, and of course, we have the documentation and technical support to walk you through just about any scenario.
Back It Up
If your application or system is important enough that it’s being hosted in the cloud, then chances are it’s important enough that factors such as availability, uptime, and disaster recovery, and error reporting are included in your “must-have” list. After all, some of this is inherently why hosting in the cloud has become so popular.
As mentioned previously, the OutSystems public cloud deployment typically yields availability around 99.99%, more than meeting the needs of enterprise customers. For even higher availability, we offer two additional configuration options: fault-tolerant front ends and database replica. You can read more about them in our Evaluation Guide.
Additionally, we offer a standby database replica with automatic failover in a different availability zone, which automatically fails over to the up-to-date standby if necessary.
More Human Than Human
We’ve saved the best enterprise-worthy category for last: “real-time support.” We think it’s the best because there’s nothing worse than signing up for an enterprise system and not getting outstanding support. If you’re an OutSystems customer, when you need help, you need it fast. You don’t need to go through a series of recorded messages or “live chats” with 4-24-hour delays.
Whether you like to call in your issues or send them to us via the web, we’re here to help. We have:
- Live telephone support in eleven countries
- Web-based ticketing allows you submit issues and track its progress to completion
And, we also have a secret support weapon: a community of more than 136,000 members. All you have to join and you can ask about issues you’re having, download user-developed widgets and custom apps from the Forge, and share your ideas for improving OutSystems. And you have the comfort of knowing you’re talking to a field of actual veteran users to help get you going in the right direction.
Check It All Out Yourself
So, that’s enterprise-worthiness in a nutshell—at least from our point of view. If you are interested in all the Gartner criteria and the vendors they evaluated, you can download a free copy.
If you like what you see, sign up online, and you can get started today for free.