Mission-critical Low-code Apps

Can low-code platforms deliver enterprise-grade scale, security, and UX?
Read Time: 6 minutes
Dec 21, 2022

There are over 440 low-code and no-code platform vendors, and many target small and mid-sized businesses and their so-called “citizen developers.” The few low-code vendors that deliver enterprise-grade solutions risk being tarred by the same brush. So it’s time to dispel a few low-code myths and explore how one low-code vendor — OutSystems — can truly deliver enterprise-grade apps with “high-performance low-code.”

The Top Four Myths Concerning Low-code Application Development

Putting our cards on the table — we’re the leading delivery partner in North America for OutSystems, the world’s #1 low-code platform. We’re experts in OutSystems, but we can’t vouch for hundreds of other — mostly much smaller — low-code platform providers.

So when it comes to dispelling the most common myths regarding low-code, we use OutSystems as our reference point. Other low-code vendors will have to speak for themselves.

Given the turbulence of a young, fast-evolving software category, which didn’t exist before 2014, it’s natural that potential buyers of low-code have a degree of skepticism at the claims of those vying for attention. According to surveys, the four biggest fears regarding low-code are:

  1. That it won’t scale
  2. That it could be insecure
  3. That it will prove inflexible
  4. And that developers will be made redundant

We’ll investigate each of these by sharing our experience with OutSystems.

Distinguishing Low-code from No-Code

Our recent article explored the difference between low-code and no-code platforms. If you haven’t time to read, here are the key points:

  • Over 440 low-code and no-code vendors clamor for attention, blurring the distinction between two different kinds of application development platforms.
  • Investigate low-code if you want higher-performing professional developers supporting numerous agile teams to accelerate digital transformation.
  • Investigate no-code if you want to empower self-sufficient business developers to address the long tail of low-value internal applications.

Many software vendors (and even IT industry analysts who should know better!) blur the distinction between low-code and no-code. They even erroneously bucket them together as an incoherent “low-code/no-code” collective.

This poses a challenge to a long-established software provider like OutSystems, which has spent the last 20 years pioneering the low-code market while devoting itself unambiguously to increasing professional developers’ productivity.

To help distinguish itself from the herd, OutSystems coined the phrase “high-performance low-code” to emphasize its unique strengths. And if we explore those strengths, we’ll coincidentally dispel the four low-code myths.

Dispelling the Top Four Myths Concerning Low-code Application Development

Killing Myth #1: That Low-code Won’t Scale

OutSystems prides itself on enabling customers to build applications that truly make a difference for their business. Although you can use OutSystems to deliver simple internal-facing applications — in some cases in a matter of hours — the sweet spot for OutSystems is developing mission-critical, high-quality applications.

These include customer-facing web and mobile apps serving millions of consumers and strategic core systems that businesses depend on 24/7.

You can learn more about the high-performance cloud-native architecture of the OutSystems platform here to see how it enables scalable, reliable, and performant enterprise-grade applications.

Relevant examples of highly-scaled applications delivered on OutSystems include:

CM — Belgium’s Largest Health Insurance Fund

4.5 million members use the “My CM” mobile app and an accompanying web portal. Five developers delivered both applications in only nine months to transform CM’s customer experience.

Medtronic’s Digital Heart Monitoring Service

Medtronic, the largest global medical device company, chose OutSystems to build FocusOn™, a remote monitoring and triaging platform for cardiac conditions. Capturing millions of signals from patients across 13 countries is life- and mission-critical.

Killing Myth #2: That Low-code Might be Insecure

OutSystems boasts 500+ security points in its secure-by-design architecture. Far from being insecure, OutSystems layers extra security safeguards and best practices over the entire application lifecycle.

Fixes for DDOS, newly identified code vulnerabilities, mobile threats, and other protections are automatically applied to applications. And the “OutSystems AI Mentor” constantly reviews code to check for vulnerabilities, ensuring developers follow best practices.

Customers that want to offload the burden of security administration and monitoring can opt for OutSystems Sentry — a managed OutSystems Cloud service reinforced with additional security, risk management, and monitoring for SOC2 Type II and HIPAA compliance.

Relevant examples of highly secure applications delivered on OutSystems include:

CZ Health Insurance Serves 3.7 Million Policyholders

The Netherlands’ third-largest non-profit health insurer, CZ, keeps policy and claims data safe for 3.7 million policyholders.

US Acute Care Solutions Serves Around Seven Million Patients

US Acute Care Solutions operates at over 300 hospital locations. OutSystems helps USACS pass numerous SOC and HIPAA audits annually for over 20 applications.

Killing Myth #3: That Low-code is Inflexible

With the OutSystems platform, developers become more multitalented. Back-end devs can build front-ends, front-end devs can build back-ends, and all devs automate workflows. There’s no wall, no sticking point, and no tool switching. Just well-built, cross-platform apps that are easy to extend.

The fear that a low-code platform will hamper and “box-in” creative front-end design is one of the gravest concerns for developers. And indeed, for many low-code platforms, that is the case.

But with OutSystems, developers benefit from an integrated UI framework for reactive apps. They can reuse fully customizable responsive screen templates and UI patterns to create “smooth as butter,” fast-performing, modern user experiences for native mobile and reactive web apps.

Relevant examples of the flexibility of OutSystems development include:

ARUP Laboratories Delivered 20+ Applications 80 Percent Faster

OutSystems gives ARUP the speed and agility to launch new products and services quickly — a significant competitive advantage in an increasingly digital world.

Humana Powers Digital Channels with OutSystems

Humana’s digital team has delivered numerous customer-facing digital experiences with OutSystems. They estimate delivery is four times faster and just a quarter of the previous cost.

Killing Myth #4: That Low-code is a Threat to Professional Developers

Professional developers are sick of the exaggerated marketing claims of hundreds of low-code and no-code providers. Those vendors selling primarily to line of business users would have us believe that anyone can become an accomplished developer. “Virtually no training required, and they’ll be ten times more productive than your slow and old-fashions coders.”

Although it’s nonsense, for OutSystems and a professional services provider like CDR, it’s frustrating that these overblown promises fuel IT professionals’ cynicism at the mere mention of “low-code.”

As we argued in our previous article, digital transformation is never a deliver-once-and-forget exercise. It’s an open-ended commitment. And historically, independent of IT, business-led development has no track record for maintaining robust long-term solutions. Neither low-code nor no-code platforms will change that business reality.

Some business users may be congratulated for delivering a few internal solutions that improve departmental workflows. However, the strategic applications that power digital transformation require skilled professional developers working alongside business stakeholders in agile product development teams.

Skilled Developers are Still in Demand

If you want agile development teams to deliver brilliant digital experiences significantly faster and with greater agility, you’ll investigate a low-code platform like OutSystems.

And, if you want to accelerate your digital transformation journey even faster and get the most from OutSystems, get in touch with CDR, the leading OutSystems delivery partner in North America.

Some of our numerous customer engagements are described in our portfolio.