chart 12 weeks 
return on investment
cal 20 days
of trial, testing and training
users 3 developers
to create and enhance business applications

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SATA Group Airlines relies on OutSystems Platform for business-critical applications

The Challenge:

Sixty years of flying across the Atlantic Ocean, and sixty-seven years of history, have shaped the SATA Group. Today, over 1200 employees and associates contribute with their expertise and commitment to the growth and development of a company that has become an invaluable asset for the tourist activity in the Azores islands.

Grupo SATA grew from SATA EP to SATA SGPS, and in the process diversified its range of activities. The five companies comprising the SATA Group include two airlines, two companies dedicated to the North American market and an airport management division.

The extremely dynamic nature of the travel and airline industry relies heavily on Information Technology in order to keep up with business demands. Regardless of size, these challenges must be addressed and put a large demand on SATA’s small but extremely competitive IT department.

At SATA the IT department follows a “provider-independent” approach that constantly keeps the team looking for the best technologies available in the marketplace. In 2009 the IT department at SATA started feeling increased pressure from their business for even quicker turnaround and delivery of solutions. The strong pressure to accelerate the time to develop and update applications, while at the same time improve quality, imposed big challenges to the IT team and the tools and methodology it was using.

To begin its search for alternative development strategies, SATA’s IT department defined key requirements for success. First, all changes had to be implemented quickly. Second, they needed to ensure:

  • A fast development cycle (to decrease release time, project backlog and improve delivery capacity);
  • Easy and continuous insertion of business user feedback (to improve response time to change requests);
  • Allow transparent integration with existing systems, namely SharePoint and SAP;
  • Obtain commitment from business stakeholders and team members instead of simple involvement.


The Solution:

OutSystems Platform proved to be the right answer to SATA’s challenges and was selected as the standard tool for continuous development and improvement of its web business applications. At the same time the team began using a different working methodology, SCRUM.

SATA familiarized themselves with OutSystems Platform in just a few days after downloading OutSystems Platform Community Edition and participating in a tailored OutSystems Boot Camp. The team, composed of 4 developers, included two experts in .Net, one Java and one developer with expertise in web technologies. All adapted easily to OutSystems Platform’s model driven development environment.

After the initial 20 days of trial, education and testing, the team was ready to start working on OutSystems Platform. They used the first few weeks to rebuild the back office of the corporate web site, integrate with existing systems and initiate several new projects.

In the first 9 months since the adoption of OutSystems Platform as the main application development platform, SATA has already developed the following custom applications:

  1. e-Retail - The eRetail Engine Administration project delivered an extended Back Office application to support SATA’s web sales and multi-platform mobile applications. This new back office supports all the business rules and needed web services for the booking process, promotional codes, schedule, flight status, ticket information, offline payment processing, automatic email notifications and validations.
  2. Airfields Management - This application provides control from the back office to the flight information monitors for the airports under SATA’s management and is fully integrated with SATA’s operational systems.
  3. Quality Management - Application to support quality management, specifically to control all the audits conducted internally by the different quality departments.
  4. Flights Safety Lists Management - This application manages regulations and compliance needs based on destination.
  5. SAP Interface - Development of several interfaces that allow inter operation with SAP via web services.
  6. Data Collection Interface - Delivery of multiple user friendly front-ends for several business applications or directly into the data warehouse.

Currently, SATA is also using OutSystems Platform to improve its SharePoint Employee Portal.


Integrating OutSystems and SharePoint:

Prior to working with OutSystems Platform, SATA was already using Microsoft’s SharePoint to support their Intranet.

Their Intranet had a few custom developed SharePoint applications such as their employee personal data and its associated workflows. Once the SATA development team became familiar with OutSystems Platform, it was clear to them that although SharePoint was good at delivering its off-the-shelf functionality, it really was not the most effective way to meet their custom development needs.

So, after adopting OutSystems Platform and its Business Process Technology (BPT), SATA decided to scrap what they had previously developed in SharePoint and re-implement the applications and workflows on OutSystems Platform while studying the best way to integrate it with the existing Intranet.

The end-result was a seamless user experience based on OutSystems Platform’s workflow technology. All that was necessary was to create a custom developed web-part for OutSystems Platform’s BPT taskbox, and then embed OutSystems Platform application screens inside SharePoint screens. In addition, Windows-integrated authentication was used together with a small amount of JavaScript to allow client side communication between the apps built with OutSystems Platform and the SharePoint shell.



  • Quick Return on Investment: Reviewing the success of this project showed that using an agile approach and OutSystems Platform reduced delivery time by one third over traditional approaches and tools. In three months the initial investment in OutSystems technology had paid off;
  • Fast Applications Development: With OutSystems Platform, SATA ensures a better performance, agility and productivity of the entire IT department. Now the development team is able to deliver an average of 4 application releases per month;
  • Change management simplification: OutSystems Platform’s Embedded Change Technology (ECT) allows developers and business-users to provide feedback and change requests from within the running application, eliminating feedback ambiguity and increasing the response time of IT;
  • Full alignment with business needs: Following a SCRUM approach, backlog, sprint, daily scrums and demo meetings facilitated key user involvement and increased user adoption;
  • Improved quality and efficiency of services provided to the end users: IT delivers exactly what the business wants, on-time and with lower costs, allowing a better collaboration between requesters, users and developers;
  • One single environment to manage the whole lifecycle of SATA applications: Integrate, develop, deploy, manage and change are all supported by using OutSystems Platform;
  • Easy integration with other systems: By simplifying and accelerating the integration with other systems, OutSystems Platform reduced project risk, increased flexibility, helped eliminate data duplication and enhanced information control. This was especially critical with their SharePoint Portal. Now, new applications that require access to SharePoint data are rapidly delivered using OutSystems Platform. This gives SATA accurate and centralized access to all employee related data and allows them more easily automate administrative processes;


About SATA:

Grupo SATA has continued to grow over recent years. With more than sixty years of experience in passenger and cargo air travel, SATA now provides a more modern and functional organizational structure, adapted to the challenges of an extremely demanding and competitive sector. The Grupo SATA fleet is divided between its two air transport companies. SATA Air Açores flies four 80-seat Bombardier Q400 NextGen aircraft and two 37-seat Bombardier Q200 aircraft, while SATA International flies 222-seat A310-300 and 165-seat A320-200 aircraft, operating flights to the mainland and islands, Europe, the United States and Canada, with a combined network of flights including more than 50 destinations. Grupo SATA's five companies are involved in air transport, tourism promotion, airfield management and ground-handling services for all airlines landing on Azorean land.




  • Unified software development platform.
  • Integration with existing systems, namely SharePoint, guaranteeing improvements in the Employee Portal.
  • Increase of Productivity and Flexibility of the IT department - shortened turn-around time from request to delivery, with 1 sprint every 2 weeks.
  • Minimal training requirement - in 5 days SATA resources became highly proficient using OutSystems Platform.
  • High user adoption of new applications due to business-user commitment and feedback during the project lifecycle.
  • Improved communication with business users - applications exceed expectations and are well adopted.


Project Card

Implemented by:

SATA - 4 developers, internal team dedicated to Agile, continuously running 2 parallel projects.


6 applications delivered and being maintained using OutSystems Platform as of Dec 2010.

User Profiles:

All staff as application end-users - IT Team, Management Team, Commercial Area, Client Area.


Creation and enhancement of all SATA’s business applications; Integrations with SharePoint, SAP, Data Warehouse.


Evaluation Criteria

Top Criteria:

  • Easy to learn and get new team members up to speed on existing applications enabling team mobility
  • High productivity results without sacrificing quality
  • One single environment to support the entire application life-cycle
  • Speed and flexibility of both development and application tuning
  • Built-to-change capability
  • Integration with other systems
  • Support for using Agile Methodologies

eRetail Engine Administration Project Winner of 2010 Agility Award

 Agility Award Winner 

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