What’s the ROI of Low-Code?


Because of pressure to deliver new customer and employee digital experiences and adjust existing enterprise systems to cope with the market changes, Forrester Research estimated that 75% of app development would use low-code platforms by the end of 2021.

From increased developer productivity to improved corporate agility and faster go-to-market, low-code benefits are plentiful. When compared to the cost and time it takes to create software with traditional development approaches, the advantages are even clearer. But, what is the quantified return on investment (ROI) of low-code platforms for your business?

What would you do differently if you discovered that:

  • You are losing ground to competitors due to the time it takes you to go from idea to live app?
  • High-performance low-code has a up to 2.7x better ROI than large low-code vendors?
  • You can pay back your low-code platform investment in only 5+ months?

Let me unpack each of these three claims based on the 2022 Forrester TEI™ study.

But first, a quick disclaimer: like any other software development technology, not all low-code development platforms are created equal. Use cases, available features, developer experience, pricing model, even the targeted user can vary from platform to platform. So, the ROI of the different low-code platforms will also vary depending on several factors.

Similar to other five leading vendors that commissioned Forrester Consulting to conduct a study to discover the ROI of using their platforms, OutSystems also commissioned research to find out the ROI of its high-performance low-code platform.

The Framework of Low-Code ROI 

This TEI study is a Forrester Consulting analysis that evaluates the financial impact of adopting a technology. It considers the cost, benefits, flexibility, and risk factors that affect the investment decision.

The study is based on Forrester’s interviews directly with OutSystems customers using its low-code platform. Forrester then compared the results over three years with a composite, modeled organization based on the structure and resource characteristics of the interviewed organizations.

As Forrester says:

“OutSystems reviewed and provided feedback to Forrester, but Forrester maintains editorial control over the study and its findings and does not accept changes to the study that contradict Forrester’s findings or obscure the meaning of the study.”

All customers interviewed used traditional development approaches before adopting the OutSystems platform.

And here are the key findings.

The Total Economic Impact™ (TEI) of OutSystems highlights

You can read the full Total Economic Impact™ (TEI) of OutSystems study here

1. Cost Savings of 24% App Development 

While organizations are dealing with a worldwide developer shortage, OutSystems customers are able to maximize the productivity of their existing dev teams and boost collaboration between business and dev to get software delivered more often, just like digital natives organizations.

These development cycle savings can be 24% of customer total benefits, or up to $4.3 million US in the TEI study. 

Key high-performance low-code features that reduce developer effort and time include.


Dev teams accelerate software development by reusing prebuilt components available in the Forge (OutSystems marketplace) or by creating their own reusable components (“the more you build, the less you have to build”).

One-Click DevOps

OutSystems automation capabilities allow you to push new versions into production in minutes while eliminating manual, error-prone software development tasks. An OutSystems unique ability for this process is TrueChange™, the automated services dependency analysis that guarantees app workflow deployment.

High-abstraction coding

Full-stack coding can be both high-level visual modeling for collaboration with business and low-level coding favored by pros like JS, C#, etc.

2. Cost Savings of 7% in Continuous App Evolution and Support

Applications developed with OutSystems cost less to maintain and change by design. The study also shows that these savings continue to accrue year-over-year. These savings are typically above 7% of customer total benefits and reached up to $1.2 million US in the TEI study.

The fundamental high-performance low-code features for these benefits are similar to those listed in the previous point, namely:

  • Reusability
  • Automation
  • Abstraction

Reusability and portfolio effect

Because the bigger the share of new applications that you reuse, the less you have to start from scratch.

This point often escapes new users of traditional dev or regular low-code platforms, so it is highlighted by Forrester in the report as the Portfolio effect.

3. Incremental Income of $4.6 Million from Faster Time-to-Market of New Business Initiatives (~26% of Total Benefits)

By improving the efficiency and productivity of their developer resources, OutSystems customers can launch new and impactful business initiatives to the market faster. An example is a customer mobile app and other digital experiences for customers as highlighted by one of the interviewees.

This way, organizations also reap the financial rewards of those initiatives months faster than they would with traditional development approaches.

4. Cost Savings Amount to 38% From Faster Time-to-Value for Operational Efficiency Initiatives

With OutSystems, organizations can shorten the duration of development projects and launch internal initiatives that improve the company’s agility and efficiency outcomes much faster.

These initiatives include tools to replace manual and time-consuming activities, leading to cost savings of $6.7 million US.


5. Cost Savings of $765,000 by Replacing Legacy Applications

Organizations can also save hundreds of thousands of dollars from ongoing vendor fees by using OutSystems to build new applications to replace legacy systems.

Other Unquantifiable Benefits

In addition to the quantified benefits mentioned above, companies that adopt the OutSystems high-performance low-code platform gain other advantages. These benefits were mentioned by OutSystems customers but were not assigned a monetary value.

Scalability and Security

Interviewees mentioned that they are able to scale applications faster and easier. They also noted that they benefit from numerous security, access control, and authentication checks applied to every app created with the platform.

Greater Development Agility and Higher-Quality Code

Organizations that use OutSystems are not only able to move faster, but they can also take a more iterative approach to development to meet changing business requirements.

Interviewees noted that after adopting OutSystems, there were fewer bugs, security holes, and overall errors in their applications.

Support for Non-Traditional Development Talent

Because OutSystems offers a visual development environment based on modeling, employees with technical experience can easily build applications even if they do not have traditional development backgrounds.

Simplified Development of Mobile Applications

OutSystems reduces the effort needed to deliver mobile capabilities, whether it’s a standalone mobile app or as part of an omnichannel experience for web and mobile.

The ROI of High-Performance Low-Code vs. the Competition

So many of the technical arguments can be justified with platform functionality, but the fundamental comparison question remains:

"How does platform X compare to competitors in ROI terms?"

And this is where the OutSystems high-performance low-code platform leads the pack of the main platforms in the low-code market.

If you are evaluating the ROI of leading low-code platforms, this research and the summary in the next chart can save your company money and your team lots of time.

ROI among low-code app dev platform leaders
NOTE: This chart is based on the published TEI studies—which you can find through a quick online search– from the leading vendors in the low-code market, like Microsoft, Salesforce, Appian and similar, while observing the disclaimers in the research study.

Upgrade Your Software Teams with High-Performance Low-Code 

The TEI study reports that the OutSystems high-performance low-code platform paid for itself in less than six months and delivered a 506% return on investment over three years.

You can download the full study here.

And if you want more examples of the ROI of OutSystems, here are just a few: