For those of you who may have missed it, we just announced a technology alliance with Workato and we couldn’t be more excited! In the same way that automation disrupted the car industry, it is also disrupting the IT landscape. This was the major conclusion that Credit Suisse arrived at after studying how the S&P Index has evolved over time.
“The average age of a company listed on the S&P Index has fallen from almost 60 years old in the 1950s to less than 20 years currently.”
A team of Credit Suisse analysts led by Eugene Klerk wrote in a note to investors a couple of years ago.
Automation is the number one “disruptive force,” the report said.
In short, companies able to embrace the benefits of automation to deliver digital solutions faster will prevail over those who don’t. Automation is the key to survival.
So what happens when a leading low-code platform with the mission of automating the development and delivery of software partners with a leading integration and workflow automation platform? Let’s go right to the source to find out. In this guest blog post, we’ll be talking with those responsible for driving the product roadmaps of these leading platforms.
But that’s not all. The value of this partnership is not lost on Persistent who has partnered with both OutSystems and Workato to increase the value they deliver to their customers. We’ll also share their perspectives.
So let’s get into it and introduce our contributors to this post. First we have Gautham Viswanathan, co-founder of Workato and vice president of product. In addition to founding two SaaS startups, Gautham created the very first integrated middleware platform, BusinessWorks, that was the basis for the cloud integration platforms of today.
We are also joined by Hemant Ramnani, senior vice president with Persistent Systems, whose team’s mission is to drive intelligent business automation across their customer base and who have embraced both the OutSystems and Workato platforms.
Last but by no means least, we have the head of all things product at OutSystems, Gonçalo Borrêga. He has been evangelizing low-code development at OutSystems for over a decade, long before the term was even conceived.
Gautham, Workato is only 6-years old yet has achieved leadership status with both Gartner and Forrester in a highly competitive market segment. How were you able to achieve this?
Gautham - The founding team at Workato comes with deep experience, and knowledge of integration products. Evolutions in technology and organizational needs have created a new opportunity for an integration/automation solution based on a digital native platform—one that is better suited to connecting data fragmented across thousands of applications and that can power intelligent automations to deliver the CX that modern businesses want their customers, partners, and employees to have.
Anyone who has worked with integration tools knows it is incredibly hard to use them—they require skilled developers, long running projects, painful operations, and ultimately can be very unrewarding. We are changing this with what we call ‘recipe style integration’, a visual approach to building integrations. You build your integrations with English-language like descriptions and run it on our serverless platform so that you don’t have to think about deployments, compute, operations, etc. This allows anyone to build and manage powerful integrations.
We have completely reimagined integration and done it in a way that goes beyond enterprise-grade to what we call “consumer-scale”. Customers understand the value this represents, and we’re very proud to say that we consistently see rapid adoption of Workato across our 1000+ customers. The people who use Workato to build integrations is almost evenly split between IT and business users like App admins and Marketing or Sales Ops.
How do you see this partnership benefitting joint customers of Workato and OutSystems?
Gautham - Low-code is revolutionizing time to market, and we are at the forefront. Together, OutSystems and Workato bring the power of building great experiences with low-code app development, and integration. We have released an OutSystems connector that makes it easy to build OutSystems integrations in Workato. Customers can use Workato to integrate with any application built using OutSystems. With the connector from Workato, OutSystems customers can build integrations selecting from thousands of available application connectors and over 400,000 prebuilt automation recipes.
Here are just a couple of things you can use the Workato connector for:
- When an opportunity is won in Salesforce, use Workato to create an order in OutSystems
- When your OutSystems apps needs billing information, use Workato to look it up in NetSuite
The possibilities are endless. We’ve seen great success already with joint customers that have been using our products to accelerate the time to market and create connected experiences.
There is also a great opportunity with our joint partners, such as Persistent, where customers can leverage their business knowledge and combined expertise in both platforms to create amazing customer and employee experiences.
Hemant, how does Persistent view the value of key automation technologies like Workato and OutSystems to their customers?
Hemant - At the end of the day, for Persistent it’s about delivering business value to customers. This could be in the form of launching new products and business models, transforming CX, or automating business processes and increasing operational efficiency. And all of this at warp speed.
With the right automation, IT, for the first time, can get rid of project backlogs quickly, focus on innovation and business value, and not worry about cumbersome software development life cycle activities. Workato becomes the glue for OutSystems-based applications and existing enterprise systems of records.
Gonçalo, what use cases have you seen where low-code and enterprise iPaaS excel together?
Gonçalo - One of the most compelling use cases is creating connected customer experiences, with a consistent view of data spread across many departments. These experiences can be unified across different channels by, for example, having replicated data inside of OutSystems from different SaaS services or COTS. Customers extend that data with their own very specific attributes, and use it to provide immediate transactions to their end users, synchronizing changes back to the disparate systems near real time. With so much of the customer’s journey happening digitally, organizations have to make the most of every channel. There is no tolerance for a poor user experience and this combination provides exactly that—allowing customers to build exactly the integrated experiences they want, down to the individual pixel, across all the data silos that support it.
For mission-critical backends, we can accelerate time to value through rapid third party integrations, orchestrating multiple integration processes in Workato.
Large enterprise core system integration can take advantage of Workato’s messaging, API management, EDI, and bot-assisted file transfer capabilities, while being able to manually handle exceptions in custom developed OutSystems apps whenever a business exception occurs in the integration.
There is also a huge opportunity within the line of business with self-service enablement, extending access to OutSystems and Workato across HR, sales, marketing, and support to develop their own solutions.
Hemant, for companies considering these types of technologies, but who aren't too sure where to start, what are your recommendations?
Hemant - Persistent is a strong proponent of ROI-based software delivery. Our Digital Greenhouse Methodology provides guidance and direction to our customers by unearthing the right processes and applications that need to be built and automated. The processes are ranked based on effort and impact on the business. We focus on delivering early success in the short term, but without compromising on the longer-term vision. We see that this is key to the adoption of platforms like OutSystems and Workato. In addition, because they are so tied to an organization’s digital strategy, having top down executive support is as important as finding an internal champion for these platforms.
Gonçalo, the IT landscape is constantly shifting. Can you share some of the trends you are seeing within our own customer base that are fueling the growth of automation technologies?
Gonçalo - As established organizations attempt to compete with and leapfrog the digital challengers, they have to think differently. We are seeing customers view their technology portfolio more as a collection of parts or platforms. In some cases, where their needs are a commodity, they can be satisfied by SaaS or COTS. But in many cases they need to build unique solutions to support their business—how can you ever hope to catch up to and bypass your competitors if you’re running the same software? With a low-code development platform they are able to do this, but at the speed of deploying SaaS. Orchestrating processes that span all of these different parts, while maintaining a consistent 360 view of the customer, is a natural fit for an integration automation platform like Workato.
Being able to create and connect solutions very quickly is a key customer need, and a strength of both OutSystems and Workato. But also important is being able to support solution development outside of IT. With the right tooling and governance, this can be done without recreating the shadow IT issues of prior generations of self-service solutions.
Gautham, how does Workato help to simplify automation, making it accessible to both IT and non-IT users?
Gautham - Workato is built to democratize automation. It does this by heavily leveraging the first and only integration and automation community with over 400,000 automations. Users don’t have to reinvent the wheel, they can see the automations their peers are using, clone them, and tweak them. Our customers are directly benefiting from these contributions; 74% of the new integrations built in the last year were cloned from existing recipes, significantly cutting down on the time-to-value of enterprise integration projects. The visual approach of Workato, ‘recipe-style integration’ also makes building integrations much faster and means you don’t have to write any code. We simplify the recipe-building process by using Machine Learning to suggest next steps based on our database. Suggestions are made to the users interactively and, as users adjust recipes to suit their needs, the system learns and offers more complete ones over time.
We connect with over 1000 applications using connectors and work with modern apps like Salesforce, ServiceNow, as well as older apps like SAP or Oracle E-Business Suite.
And because Workato takes a serverless approach, our customers don’t have to think about deployments, compute, or operations. This allows anyone to build and manage powerful integrations.
With all of this we see that 78 percent of our customers go live with their first automation within one week. Our goal is for our customers to get to value 10 times faster, and at 1/10th of the TCO of any alternative in the market.
Hemant, when we consider the Credit Suisse findings, clearly automation technologies are required by companies looking to avoid being disrupted by their competitors. But how should companies prepare for the level of change these disruptive bring?
Hemant - We are going through interesting times where our enterprise customers, and even services companies like Persistent, have to either disrupt, or face disruption. This means organizational changes across the board. Agile sales and marketing, agile engineering, agile customer service, and more. Aggressive and candid communication is important with all your employees as this affects the way we work today, the tools and technologies we use, and requires upskilling of teams. For example, at Persistent today we are running a wave of AI/ML training across our entire company.
If automation is the key to avoiding disruption and becoming the disruptor, then the combination of OutSystems and Workato is a formidable weapon. We are extremely excited about the opportunity this new partnership provides to our current and future customers, and hope that the perspectives shared here excite you too. For the techies reading this who want to get into the details of how Workato and OutSystems integrate and try it out, check out this article.