Fujitsu Luxembourg and OutSystems, a winning combination for Luxembourg businesses

Fujitsu I 9:00 am, 30th May

According to research firm Gartner, the fast-growing low-code application development market is expected to reach $29 billion in revenue by 2025. We asked Stef Vermeulen, Partner Alliance Manager at OutSystems BeLux, and Steve Heggen, Head of HyperAutomation at Fujitsu Luxembourg, to give us an overview of the benefits associated with this promising approach.

Today OutSystems is recognized as a pioneer and a leader in the low-code application development field. How was the OutSystems platform designed and what factors made it a success?

SV: The design of the OutSystems platform was driven by the desire to address common challenges faced by developers who often have to deal with repetitive, error prone, tasks. Instead of manually coding each character and line, compiling, debugging, and undergoing a time-consuming process, OutSystems takes a visual modeling approach for creating applications. This applies to various types of applications, including web and mobile, as well as services and database access. The architecture of OutSystems ensures adherence to best practices in areas like security, maintainability, architecture, and performance. The pre-compiled code provided by OutSystems results in improved performance without the need for interpretation or reliance on proprietary frameworks. OutSystems injects best practices into the compiled code, eliminating concerns for developers, such as the risk of neglecting to address OWASP Top 10 vulnerabilities or SQL injection attacks, for example.

In addition, OutSystems provides governance and allows monitoring of code quality and technical debt, which is crucial when multiple OutSystems development teams collaborate on applications, for instance. Lower technical debt establishes a solid foundation for scalability, enabling faster delivery and leveraging components for reusability, performance, and security.

What differentiates low-code from no-code development platforms?

SV: OutSystems is a high-performance, low-code platform capable of creating complex, enterprise-wide applications and solutions. While some may associate low-code with simple front-end development by citizen developers, OutSystems primarily targets professional developers and offers a full-stack development environment for building sophisticated applications.

No-code platforms, on the other hand, operate within certain boundaries. They excel at providing sufficient functionality within those limits but offer little flexibility for extending capabilities or adapting to unique business needs. Platforms like CRM systems, such as SAP or Salesforce, may offer some degree of no-code extension, but it remains confined within the context of the platform. In contrast, low-code empowers developers to be unique and agile, enabling fast-paced changes and avoiding the constraints imposed by a given platform. OutSystems enables platform extension and integration through various means, including pre-built integrations, an open-source marketplace, and API integrations. For legacy systems that pose challenges, custom code can be employed for extension and integration. Notably, all extensions and integrations become part of the visual modeling approach, allowing easy configuration and deployment.

In summary, low-code, as exemplified by OutSystems, provides the freedom to extend functionality on both the server and client sides, offering developers greater flexibility and agility compared to no-code platforms.

Why would an integrator like Fujitsu Luxembourg adopt a low-code platform?

SH: At Fujitsu Luxembourg, we are historically accustomed to traditional coding languages like C#, Java, and Python. So we had to overcome ingrained habits and demonstrate clearly and unambiguously the value of the OutSystems platform to our developers. Through hands-on usage and testing, we debunked preconceived notions, leading to increased popularity of the platform among even the most initially reluctant developers.

The challenging employment market in Luxembourg resulted in a scarcity of skilled development resources. While having competent profiles within our teams, the numbers were insufficient. To address this, Fujitsu Luxembourg sought solutions that could accelerate application development and incorporate pre-compiled and optimized elements, particularly from a security standpoint. OutSystems emerged as a valuable solution, reducing code writing to only 10-20% of the global effort, everything else supported by prebuild items and configuration. Low-code became an accelerator, serving as the primary argument for adoption.

Additionally, customer expectations for shorter time-to-market for applications prompts the need for faster development processes. A year-long development cycle would just render an application obsolete already before deployment. Furthermore, rapidly evolving technologies, especially in front-end development, result in a growing technological debt across a wide range of technologies and increases maintenance demands. OutSystems resolves this issue by automatically updating underlying libraries, effectively eliminating technological debt.

Fujitsu Luxembourg's development philosophy is also built around agility and prototyping methodologies. Low-code platforms facilitate more efficient software development, allowing us to quickly present applications to customers. This approach proved successful, with screens and prototyping models being delivered within three to four days. Therefore, Fujitsu recognized the significant advantages of adopting low-code technology.

Why was OutSystems chosen among the low-code solutions available on the market?

SH: We conducted tests on various low-code solutions, evaluating them based on a set of criteria. Through this process, we determined that the OutSystems platform is one of the best solution for our needs. One notable advantage is the platform's ability to support both small internal developments and complex, sophisticated applications. And our experienced developers can still inject their expertise and customize applications according to their requirements.

The partnership between Fujitsu Luxembourg and OutSystems also plays a pivotal role. Our relationship is characterized by excellent collaboration and support. OutSystems shows great availability, inviting us to participate in events and information sharing sessions. This level of support and responsiveness is highly valued.

Additionally, OutSystems' pricing model aligns with our customers' expectations, offering entry-level packages that limit financial risk. This affordability facilitates the launch of pilot projects and helps demonstrate the value of the technology without imposing exorbitant costs, even for small organizations. The scalability of the pricing model matches Fujitsu's approach of starting small with iterative prototypes and quickly expanding to meet targets. OutSystems also enjoys a strong reputation in the Luxembourg market, further enhancing its attractiveness.

Interview by Michael Renotte

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