In 2001, OutSystems started with a vision: a complete reversal of software delivery. The founders of OutSystems were seasoned IT professionals who recognized that a large majority of software projects were failing. The projects either did not meet the deadlines or their budget was overrun.
At that time, most companies were using a “waterfall” approach to development. In a waterfall project (which some companies still use today), development is less expensive in the beginning during the analysis and design stages. Changes in later stages become increasingly more costly. So a great deal of time is spent trying to plan for everything needed in an application to ensure that it is “right the first time."
The problem is that it is just not practical to know every requirement that might be needed in an application or plan for every eventuality. Therefore, instead of being right, the software still has to be changed. The more the application changes, the more complex it becomes. Complexity adds to the expense and makes it even harder to manage or update the application further down the lifecycle. Eventually, projects reach the point where it is cheaper and less time consuming to replace the application than it is to update it.
For OutSystems, the question that became the vision was, “What if, instead of trying to get software right upfront, changes were cheap and fast, independent of the size of the application?” We examined the anatomy of change and built OutSystems Platform, which makes changes to applications fast, robust and inexpensive at any point in the lifecycle.
The vision today
Our first customers were visionaries who understood our vision. But now things have changed. Fast, inexpensive and robust change has never been as critical as is today because IT organizations are now facing two major pressure points:
Digital transformation. The way people engage with organizations has shifted to interactions with applications, mainly mobile. This means delivering mobile engagement or a front-end on top of systems or back-ends they already have while making sure they operate together smoothly. It also means determining what else they need to have, so they can bridge the gap between what is there and what the business wants.
Faster delivery and change cycles. The pervasiveness of mobile has reduced delivery cycle times dramatically. Business expects applications to be delivered in 16-20 weeks and changes made in a matter of hours. This is much less time than the traditional 20 months required to develop an application in Java or .NET.
How can these pressure points be addressed? How is the industry trying to overcome them? The following sections of this guide offer a closer look at the pressure points, what the industry is doing to address them and how OutSystems Platform enables customers to overcome the challenges of software delivery today.
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Want an overall summary of OutSystems? View our executive overview.