OutSystems and Microsoft Low-Code Pricing Models
In a company you can find many technologies working together into an IT ecosystem and if you try to adopt low-code to improve the productivity, you can face the truth that “low-code pricing is confusing”. Trying to help elucidating this problem I will compare the freemium strategy used by OutSystems and Microsoft.
Companies and Products
OutSystems came from Paulo Rosado’s idea that it would be profitable to move the software development to the outside of companies. The low code environment provided by OutSystems uses the same name and enables companies to develop applications for web and mobile about 7 times faster. OutSystems announced its partnership with Workato in October 2019 but it didn’t mean the automation would be offered as an OutSystems product and it is needed to use a connector to access Workato. New products that have appeared since then were the Case Management ( to empower business processes) and Experience Builder to create prototypes that can be reused to develop systems. However, these last two products are not easy to access. I requested trials as an early adopter since February 2019 and I am still waiting for an answer. To access all options and prices available for OutSystems, use the link here.
Microsoft entered to low code in 2016 with the PowerApps. Nowadays it integrates almost with all Microsoft products and to understand better the free and price tier it is needed you know them. You can see a simple explanation of all them in this video and if you want to monetize your application, you can use Microsoft Appsource according to details provided here.
In terms of development, Common Data Service(CDS) offers a good solution to integrate Microsoft products and, for instance, have an advantage against OutSystems. Once you implement an app using Model-View-Controller (MVC), CDS enables you to create business rules and associated to the entities(model). Once you connect to the database the business rules are performed automatically. In OutSystems you need to specify the business rules in the Core Services modules and reinforce in mobile development the call to the same actions when possible. CDS still reinforce the use of available entities, for instance, in Dynamics 365. I can extend them according to my needs during customization. Here are the links to Microsoft Power Apps, Microsoft Power Automate and Microsoft Power Apps portals pricing. An engaging video to explain the licenses and even how to enrol to the Microsoft Community can be seen here.
At this point, if you are still asking yourself why I am comparing only these 2 companies, I believe you have already arrived to a conclusion. I do not regard only the aspect of low code. I am interested in productivity improvement and how the tools can be used to improve companies profit. I could mention any other low-code companies in this comparison, but Microsoft aggregated value is very good. This is the reason I chose Microsoft.
OutSystems provides a free tier with 100 end-users and the environment can be used forever. Once you sign up you receive an environment with 2GB that can be accessed by url according the name you used to register yourself. It is possible to reuse forge components and publish web and mobile applications and questions on how to solve problems in the tool that can be addressed by OutSystems community.
Microsoft gives you 2 options to get your free environment. You can apply for yourself or as a user of a plan associated with the company you work. In the last case you receive an environment with your name.
Tenant concept is almost the same for both companies. OutSystems segregates data from tenants using an id created automatically when you create the tenant. Microsoft associates the tenant to an Azure Active Directory and the environment is subordinated to it. You can create a specific CDS in each new environment. If you apply to a simple subscription plan you will not have access to SQL database and Dynamics 365, but the community plan gives all these and much more with the constraint that you can’t share apps, flows, for instance. Here are all details and capacity limits.
Control of Microsoft licenses is more complicated when compared to OutSystems. At the time of writing this article, OutSystems basic plan starts at US$ 4,000 per month, billed annually with a maximum number of end-users of 1000. The value will more than double if you remove the limit for end-users.
To have a fair comparison with OutSprint, the Microsoft plans must be selected according the use cases. If you want a single business scenario and intend to monetize it, it is possible to start with US$ 10 per user/app/month. However, imagine that a more complex scenario will be needed and in this case it is possible to move to US$ 40 per user/month plan. An initial breakeven between the two companies is 100 users in Microsoft adoption.
Another interesting comparison is between the Portal plan of Microsoft. There is not distinction to OutSystems about the concept of internal or external application and all 1000 offered end-users are authenticated. Microsoft charges you US$ 200 per month for 100 daily login sessions. At this time we can reach US$ 4,000 with only 20 end-users.
The initial evaluation says that Microsoft is more expensive than OutSystems but a fair evaluation must be conducted here.
When you buy Microsoft products you are not receiving only the low-code. Furthermore you are receiving Office and other tools that will be used in your organization like Teams.
Instead of being billed annually it is possible to adjust your cash flow monthly, increasing the expenses according to the demand. Do not forget that OutSystems more than double the price when you move to the next subscription plan.
The decision of which low-code to choose is not easy and the actual IT ecosystem can give a clue on the direction that the company will follow. More importantly, having a fair comparison between low-code platforms can avoid many problems in the future because in many cases, due to the investment realized, it is almost impossible to revert the initial decision. In other words, maybe in the future, you will not have an opportunity to decide again on a turning point.
Thank you for your reading.
I wish you have a very nice week!