Please describe your organization.
Conigent is an implementation and services company that works with Infor's M3 ERP [enterprise resource planning] system. M3 is a very wide and broad product like SAP or Oracle, but many people find it to be more cost-efficient than those products. While M3 is a great product, it's not perfect, particularly relating to user interface issues. When we come across holes in the solution, we recommend our clients use OutSystems to fill them.
What is your position?
I'm the senior partner at Conigent, in charge of operations.
For how many years has your company worked with OutSystems?
We've been a certified partner with them for about three years now.
Are you familiar with, or does Conigent partner with, any other similar solutions?
No. We've stayed exclusively with OutSystems for application development. The primary reason for that is our ownership group has another software company that uses OutSystems extensively. We definitely utilize their OutSystems engineers and vice versa when there's a need.
What business challenge are your clients typically trying to address with OutSystems?
Customizable business apps related to ERP that are managed and deployed across their business easily.
Is there any insight you can give us into why someone might want to partner with OutSystems compared to some of the other large application development platforms?
OutSystems has an extensive API [application programming interface] library for a variety of ERP systems including M3. This makes it easy to integrate all the great features of those systems into business apps that are customizable and have an intuitive user interface.
What are the types of customers or clients that you think would be the ideal candidates for OutSystems?
In our case, anybody that uses M3. We know where the weak points of M3 are. We know that you can solve them with OutSystems, and so our business approach is to go to those customers and say, "We can use this app development platform [OutSystems] to solve your problem or weaknesses that you have with M3."
In fairness to OutSystems, I think there are a lot similar situations where OutSystems can fill in the holes of a legacy system. It's not just for M3 users.
What type of clients should avoid OutSystems or one of these rapid application development platforms in general?
We really haven't come across any that we think should avoid it. We think they should all use it, regardless of their size. OutSystems is thought of as only an enterprise-based solution typically, but I don't think that has to be the case. We're actually working with OutSystems to do more outreach to small customers and offering them starter packages as a way of showing them that OutSystems is affordable to them as well.
What are the cost factors that clients who are considering working with OutSystems should be aware of when they're making their decisions?
Typically, for our customer base, the cost of OutSystems is going to run them anywhere from $30,000 to $50,000 a year for the platform. As I said, there are ways to defer some of that in year one, but that's what they're going to spend in software cost. For some, that's a lot. However, for companies building many apps, when you compare that cost to what it would take to develop each of the apps natively, it becomes reasonable.
Looking at OutSystems as a whole, are there features or tools in your mind that really make it stand out from other rapid application development platforms?
I can tell you that one of the major selling points for our clients is that OutSystems has a "no lock-in" policy, meaning that if you develop a piece of code with .NET or Java on the OutSystems platform, you can take that code and use it anywhere, even if you leave OutSystems. You don't have to pay the platform cost on an ongoing basis. For many of the other RAD tools like the IBM or Salesforce platforms, this is not the case, which makes people much more amenable to trying OutSystems because they know they're not going to have to stay with it forever.
Are there any features or tools that you've heard are not so great, or just areas of the software upon which can be improved?
None that come to mind.
Do you have any overall recommendations for someone considering working with the RAD platform and, specifically, OutSystems?
It's been an easy sell to our customers that have truly been interested in a better way to develop apps than just doing it themselves natively. Many of them have tried to hire a developer to do a "one-off" app, and that usually goes nowhere because they end up not getting what they want.
We have a few quick questions and, for each question, we ask you to rate OutSystems on a scale of one to five, with five being the best. What would you give OutSystems for functionality of the features available?
What would you give OutSystems for ease of use or ease of implementation into your client's business?
Five. We've never had a problem with integrations. It's one of their strengths.
For support, as in responsiveness of the team or helpfulness of the resources available?
How likely are you to recommend OutSystems to a colleague or similar business?
How would you rate your overall satisfaction with OutSystems as a RAD platform?
Four and a half. There's always room for improvement.