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Inside Autoliv’s OutSystems Center of Excellence

100 apps delivered and rising
7 developers in OutSystems Center of Excellence
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Autoliv is the worldwide leader in automotive safety. Having adopted OutSystems in 2011 to replace several legacy applications, the use of OutSystems has since spread far and wide. The company now has over 100 OutSystems applications that are used internationally across most departments.

OutSystems helps Autoliv speed-up application development by reusing templates and components provided to an international developer community by Autoliv’s OutSystems Center of Excellence.

  • Business Process Management
  • Case management
  • Operational Efficiency
  • Legacy Modernization
  • Mobile Applications
  • SAP Extension
  • Web Apps & Portals
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"We’ve been using OutSystems since 2011, initially in the USA, to replace various legacy applications. Today, seven developers in our Center of Excellence support multiple global initiatives."

Tony Dore IT Development Manager, Autoliv
Challenge

Escape From Legacy Constraints Turns Into a Wider Initiative

As the worldwide leader in automotive safety, Autoliv sells to all major car manufacturers globally. It has over 65,000 employees and operations in 27 countries. Each year, Autoliv products save more than 30,000 lives and prevent over 300,000 injuries. Autoliv is a pioneer in seatbelts and airbags; however, its extensive product portfolio has an increasingly digital dimension.

Having grown through several mergers over the past 40 years, the company has a diverse IT landscape with multiple ERP systems and departmental solutions.

In 2011, Autoliv in the USA chose OutSystems to replace numerous legacy applications with more scalable web apps. OutSystems was regarded as a good fit for Autoliv developers, thanks to its visual development approach and a fast learning curve.

“One of the first applications the team delivered was a travel request and authorization workflow. It was popularly received and used by the vast majority of employees. In those days, the web UI seemed like a big leap forward compared to what we had before.”

Tony Dore IT Development Manager, Autoliv

Although OutSystems was popular with Autoliv’s U.S. team of developers, it was not until 2015 that the adoption of OutSystems started to spread internationally. “Generally, we look for off-the-shelf solutions where we can,” explains Tony Dore, IT Development Manager at Autoliv. “But, even so, we had many requests for bespoke development, and our developers were struggling to keep pace with demand.”

With maintenance consuming an increasing proportion of developer time; and pressure to deliver more applications more quickly, Autoliv decided to investigate OutSystems more deeply.

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Why Autoliv chose OutSystems:
  • Empower professional devs and business devs
  • Speed-up development and improve agility
  • Decrease application maintenance cost
Solution

From Workshop to Running a Center of Excellence

Tony organized a two-day technical workshop so that his central developer team could get advice from OutSystems solution architects. The team then decided to give OutSystems a try.

Tony’s team found that OutSystems was highly flexible. Moreover, the OutSystems “LifeTime” application lifecycle management capabilities would streamline lots of IT operation tasks that traditionally slowed down deployments and updates.

Given the life-critical nature of Autoliv’s products, it’s no surprise that it has rigorous quality assurance policies surrounding software deployment. These include a “four-eyes process” where a colleague always reviews new code—one developer alone cannot push new code live.

Additionally, Autoliv has carefully segregated environments, Dev, QA, Pre-Production, Production.

“OutSystems LifeTime helps us a lot. Dependency checking is largely automated, and as everything is logged, it helps with audits as well.”

Tony Dore IT Development Manager, Autoliv

Since adopting OutSystems, Tony’s central app dev team has grown to seven, and they support other developers spread internationally in multiple departments.

“From our OutSystems Center of Excellence, we train and mentor developers spread across multiple departments, and we provide standards, including reusable templates and libraries that help ensure other developers don’t reinvent the wheel,” says Tony.

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New developers typically have computer science backgrounds. Tony’s team uses the free OutSystems online learning resources, followed by a one-week workshop to induct new developers. “It’s quick to get new developers up to speed in two to three weeks,” says Tony. “We use the workshop to introduce Autoliv-specific best practices and templates.”

The Center of Excellence team guides remote developers on software architecture, reuse of existing development resources, and suitable OutSystems Forge components to avoid unnecessary development.

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"The new responsive UI will help us build apps that work well across mobiles, tablets, and full-sized screens, and we look forward to continued functionality from OutSystems in this respect."

Tony Dore IT Development Manager, Autoliv
Results

100 Apps and Rising

Now nine years since first adopting OutSystems and five years since Autoliv transitioned its central development team to the platform, Autoliv has over 100 apps running on OutSystems.

Most of these apps are web-based, but more recently, Autoliv has started to use OutSystems to build mobile applications. A good example is “iApprove,” a mobile app used by managers to progress all manner of approvals across the business.

The iApprove app was initially developed five years ago as a native iOS app. At this time, OutSystems was only used for the backend, integrating multiple ERP and other systems of record. Autoliv’s dedicated mobile app development team built the front-end.

After five years of enhancements, Autoliv decided to redevelop the front-end using OutSystems.

“A big part of the justification for switching to OutSystems for the front-end was the need to deploy to Android as well as iOS. The fact that we can build once and deploy to both platforms for simpler app interfaces with a single effort is a big plus when we use OutSystems.”

Tony Dore IT Development Manager, Autoliv

As the backend was already in place, developing just the front-end was a speedy process, completed by one developer working part-time in around a month.

Based on this success, Autoliv expects to make more use of OutSystems. “Mobility is increasingly important in the new normal,” explains Tony. “The new responsive UI will help us build apps that work well across mobiles, tablets, and full-sized screens, and we look forward to continued functionality from OutSystems in this respect.”

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