It’s become second nature for someone to mention an interesting new idea and for someone else to quip immediately, “There’s an app for that.” In 2014, when Forrester coined the term “low-code,” OutSystems was just starting to hit its stride, and certainly no one expected that by 2018, Gartner would be publishing its second Magic Quadrant on something called “high-productivity application Platform as a Service” (hpaPaaS). But yes, “There’s a Magic Quadrant for that,” and for the second year in a row, OutSystems has been named a Leader in a category with strict criteria—and a name that is a bit of a tongue-twister.

To us, back-to-back appearances in the upper righthand corner of the Magic Quadrant confirm that the digital transformation movement is continually being defined by OutSystems, which leads the low-code, rapid-application delivery market as categorized by analyst firms like Gartner and Forrester.

While we prefer the less-flashy term “low-code,” there is a methodology behind these naming conventions. The methodology involved is important because the process of getting to a point where a company is included in a particular category is not without a great deal of work. Think dozens of hours of Q&A, the submission of intricate and referenceable use cases, and a customer base that is willing and eager to rave about your product.

The Humble Beginnings of hpaPaaS

The Gartner category of hpaPaaS is the third iteration of the “platform” branch of the “X-as a Service” tree, with “platform as a service” being the starting point for offering a custom-developed or off-the-shelf paid service via the Internet or cloud rather than on-premises.

Not long after PaaS was defined, “application” was added, giving us aPaaS, and denoting the ability to develop, deploy, and execute applications as a service in the cloud. Gartner noted that the aPaaS market is the second biggest sector in PaaS, coming in at $3 billion in revenue for 2017.

This brings us to hpaPaaS, which extends the previous capabilities of aPaaS development, deployment, and execution, to a high-productivity, rapid application development (RAD) model. This year, Gartner extended its own definition, noting that hpaPaaS supports everything from innovative customer applications to re-platforming legacy systems. In these types of environments, the entire software development lifecycle is significantly compressed without any degradation in the quality of service delivery. In short, hpaPaaS helps IT get stuff done!

hpaPaaS Qualifiers in the Wild

As with any analyst evaluation, companies must meet certain minimal requirements to even qualify for consideration. At the start of its research for this year’s report, Gartner initially noted 75 companies offering some flavor of hpaPaaS, and that number grew to more than 85 by the time they were finished. Just like last year, OutSystems was one of the few companies to earn a coveted Leader spot, based on two key measurement axes: “Ability to Execute” and “Completeness of Vision,” which further comprises 11 characteristics—and multiple subsections—within each measurement.

There are a number of interesting points worth discussing regarding both the criteria for inclusion and the companies that were ultimately included, some more subtle than others. One such note is that the report’s “Context” section explains that the results were based on vendors that provide a no-code or low-code platform. Later in the “Inclusion and Criteria” section, it also specifies that qualifying vendor solutions had to include support for development and deployment by both citizen developers and professional developers.

Given that companies included in the Magic Quadrant also had to offer an enterprise-grade solution addressing high availability and disaster recovery, tech support, and some level of security, it seems counterproductive for an organization with enterprise-class requirements to contract with a no-code only platform. No-code solutions typically cater to citizen developers versus professional developers. If an organization has no long-term ability to support the applications and systems it developed (e.g., security updates, change management), its only remaining option is a long-term commitment to the no-code platform the systems were built on (aka vendor lock-in).

Don’t Lock Yourself In

No lock-in is a key differentiator for OutSystems. While our message is that we are the #1 low-code platform, ours is also one of the few that doesn’t lock customers in. OutSystems is designed so that IT teams can generate standard code that easily integrates into other systems and platforms, thereby limiting exposure and avoiding the nightmares of proprietary code.. In that respect, while the platform is low-code, it is also “pro-code” should the customer decide to use it beyond its initial plan.

This is just one of several benefits, along with speed, scale, and never hitting a wall, that sets OutSystems apart in a field that was almost unknown just a few years ago but is now one of the hottest and fastest growing in the industry. Looking ahead, we will dive into the five critical capabilities where OutSystems excels and explore how we can help meet our customers’ low-code development needs.

In the meantime, we invite you to read a complimentary copy of the Gartner April 2018 Magic Quadrant for Enterprise High-Productivity Application Platform as a Service.


Gartner, “Magic Quadrant for Enterprise High-Productivity Application Platform as a Service,” Paul Vincent, Van L. Baker, et al., 26 April 2018.

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