How OutSystems handles technical debt

Pritesh Pattni

Technical debt

How OutSystems handles technical debt 

Technical debt has a significant impact on a business. It’s not just about the IT department – technical debt concerns every department in the business. That’s because it affects operations across the business, often resulting in inefficiencies, reduced productivity, squeezed margins, higher long-term costs, and poor commercial performance. 

So, it’s in everyone’s interest to identify the levels of technical debt in your business and to remedy those issues as quickly and reliably as possible – without leaving the business open to further technical debt in the future. 

There are several ways that technical debt can appear. In most cases, issues occur because of rushed or poor technology decisions in the past. Sometimes, these are down to budgetary concerns, where cheaper options, or those with limited capacity are chosen ahead of better technology. Technical debt can also be the result of: 

Poor coding – this is especially true where in-house development teams are coding without the required standardisations or processes, or where they are under pressure to produce applications as fast as possible, rather than being able to concentrate on accuracy and proper architecture. 

Inadequate documentation – technical teams change, and people come and go. But the technology remains in place, without a documented knowledge base, new team members are unable to understand the system properly, update it accurately or build on it properly. 

Legacy infrastructure – this is one of the most common forms of technical debt. Servers may be outdated, running slowly or unable to cope with more recent technologies. This can result in downtime, expensive maintenance and some applications being unable to work to their full potential. 

Lack of external support – where older systems are being used in your business, you may not be receiving the quality of external support you need. Third parties may be unable to support their product anymore, or products may no longer be compatible with each other, leading to gaps in knowledge and information. At the same time, the business may still be paying for expensive contracts or subscriptions that are no longer delivering proper value. 

These are just some of the more common areas of technical debt – you may find that your business has other issues. The real question is – what can you do about it? 

Technology: cost vs time vs quality? 

We’ve seen that most technical debt arises because one of the above issues – cost, time or quality – usually wins out over the others. Low cost or time-efficient solutions often result in technical debt, but businesses are wary of higher quality solutions because they incur additional costs and take more time to evaluate and implement. 

To help businesses reduce technical debt, we need a solution that balances cost, time and quality. For us, that solution is low code. 

Low code development platforms are increasingly becoming the go-to option for businesses who want to create agile, high-quality applications that meet both cost and time criteria. We believe that using low code gives businesses access to reliable coding that allows them to go to market faster, delivering business objectives without the risk of technical debt that hand coding often incurs. 

It’s important to note that, while low code reduces the need for much of the traditional coding we’re used to, it does still require significant development skills to ensure that the architecture, processes and documentation are high quality, and that the finished application has the design, functionality and up-to-date approach that today’s businesses expect. 

For that reason, we partner with OutSystems – one of the world’s leading low code platforms, both to create brand new applications, and to help businesses attack their technical debt with a proven, cost-effective solution. 

How can OutSystems handle technical debt? 

The OutSystems low code platform has been operating successfully for more than 20 years, giving developers and tech teams the ability to plan, design and create applications based on standard architectures and frameworks. This means there is no need for any hand-coded elements or engines, eliminating many of the issues that commonly cause technical debt. 

For example, when new code is written or existing code updated, OutSystems runs a feedback engine which immediately picks up any potential problems, alerting developers straight away, and providing guidance on the best fix or solution. This, alongside inbuilt application analysis, ensures that not only is the code accurate, concise and clean, but the operation of the whole application is as efficient as possible. 

Where businesses have identified technical debt that is having an impact on the wider business – for example, significant processes being managed by Excel spreadsheets with no integration to other essential systems, OutSystems low code offers a win-win solution. 

Why? Because it allows departments from across the business to have an input into solutions, and developers – either inside the business or from a third party – to manage complex applications easily and collaboratively. All this within stringent standards of architecture and application security. 

At each stage of the development process, OutSystems is working continuously to ensure that the application is secure, efficient and properly tested so that businesses can reduce their technical debt and achieve a more streamlined solution without the dreaded expense or time investment of a traditional hand-coding approach. 

Contact us to find out more.

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