The number of OutSystems customers continues to grow and has already surpassed 1,000, and alongside this success of new projects grows an ecosystem of partners that Portuguese technology involves for the development of applications and maintenance services, in a symbiosis that is seen as positive by the two sides of the equation.
"OutSystems has an ecosystem already with a significant dimension", explains in an interview with SAPO TEK Rui Pereira, Vice President of Portuguese technology who recently reached unicorn status with a value of one billion dollars. And in Portugal there is an important movement of technological companies that are internationalizing themselves based on the skills and experience in the platform, as Rui Pereira notes that plays with the fact that the company is the Autoeuropa of the software for the ecosystem that is creating.
This dynamic is clearly visible in NextStep, the annual OutSystems event taking place in Amsterdam, where Portuguese is heard all over the place. Several Portuguese companies, or Portuguese units of international companies, are part of the debate panels and have exhibition space, but also present as participants, accompanying customers and looking for new business opportunities.
Globally, there are 238 partners, and an area of the OutSystem portal serves as a guide for those looking for an implementation partner, indicating the number of certified professionals, the projects delivered and a way to establish direct contact. In Portugal only 58 companies are listed, although some are global, a number that does not correspond to the physical size of the country and the market.
Catarina Santos, responsible for partnerships in Portugal, Spain and France, recalls that for historical reasons the channel is more developed in Portugal, and that is also where the professionals with more experience and "seniority" are. There are three levels of partners depending on the capacity and scope of each company, Global, Elite and Certificates, and at the moment OutSystems has 8 Elite partners in Portugal who, in addition to working in the domestic market, are actively internationalizing the business, covering several geographies and accompanying growth in countries where technology is catching projects faster.
"Portuguese companies have the advantage of having more senior people in technology and with more experience," says Catarina Santos, explaining that there is a lot of demand and that the teams of partners are all allocated. "Our job is also to provide support and facilitate all contacts for internationalization in projects where there is effective work in place," he said.
Projects in the four corners of the world
Among the companies in the NextStep there are no shortage of partners who are internationalizing the business, with offices in the Netherlands, the United States, Brazil and other locations around the world. Noesis is one of the companies that has grown the most in these projects, but also TrueWind and Do IT Lean have success stories to tell, with clients outside Portugal and perspectives to further expand the markets where they already have presence.
In the case of Noesis, the story with OutSystems started with the beginning of technology, in the first project still in Optimus. Then it evolved from the infrastructure area to the services and in the last 3 years the strategic option of internationalization was taken. "We anticipated the growth of OutSystems and decided to follow this path of growth with the company," explains Nuno Pacheco, responsible for the Noesis unit that has 110 people dedicated to projects in the platform, among the 800 of the company. During this period Noesis multiplied by 4 the team and created poles in the Netherlands, Ireland and the United States, making more than two thirds of the turnover of the unit in the international markets.
The Netherlands is the country where Noesis is the longest, followed by the United States in late 2017 and Ireland this year. "It is not easy for a Portuguese company to be recognized internationally and take its brand to the local", but Nuno Pacheco stresses that the company has a strategy based on three axes (people, technology and processes) that are an important aid in this approach international markets and helps to overcome the difficulties of adaptation.
The IT Lean started with the first projects in the United States in 2013 but Frederico Ferreira, founder of the company, says that 2016 was the year of the explosion with the conquest of 15 new clients in the region, between the US and Canada. The company was created in 2009 always focused exclusively on OutSystems technology and over the years has been achieving some isolated customers in some countries, such as Poland, UK, Spain and later Brazil. Currently the United States, where it is partner of OutSystems, already represent 30% of the billing and Do IT Lean has also added recognition awards for the projects carried out.
"We are looking at other markets, namely Australia, but the focus is the United States," says Francisco Ferreira, adding that the current administration's policy makes it difficult to establish employees in the United States.
Also, TrueWind has a history of growth outside Portugal, with some cases of large projects such as the NHS in the UK. The company started developing for the OutSystems platform more than 10 years ago and the decision to internationalize began with the bet in Brazil in 2012, followed by the United Kingdom and the United States, where the market is growing very fast. João Campos, CEO of Truewind explained to SAPO TEK that the company has two delivery centers, one in Portugal and the other in Brazil, involving 120 people and 50 certified professionals in technology.
"All growth is from the OutSystems business. We continue to have clients from other projects, because we do not leave our friends, but it is in OutSystems that we have growth, not only in Portugal but especially in the United Kingdom and the United States, "says João Campos.
From Portugal to the world in a global company
But this potential internationalization of skills in OutSystems does not only happen in Portuguese companies, and Deloitte Portugal is a good example of this. The company has created an OutSystems competency center that currently serves other consultant units globally. "We have been working OutSystem at Deloitte since 2007, but the big change was in 2014 when we saw the growth of the platform and the opportunity to invest," explains César Marto, Technology Associate Partner. Currently this competency center has the most certified resources and César Marto underlines the advantage of a global brand working with OutSystems' low code technology that can reach customers and multiple countries.
In the center of excellence Deloitte develops onsite, nearshore and hybrid projects, as is the case of a project in Chile that is being developed by the local team together with the Portugal team, but there are several possible models in the strategy that goes through a end-to-end delivery, with design, implementation and support.
In addition to this tailor-made development the skills center also develops experimental projects such as the use of a robot and a kite that is showing at NextStep in Amsterdam and which can bring new ideas for developing solutions.
"We are working very hard on quality and success in delivery, which is very important for us and for OutSystems," says César Marto. The goal is now to double billing in this area.