Why Gallagher chose low-code in developing its firm

After struggling to expand on scaling spreadsheet-based workings, a process on which they heavily rely on,  global insurance broker, Gallagher, announced its investment with OutSystems to help with its organic app development.

It was vital for Gallagher to meet its client’s multi-faceted bespoke insurance solutions needs, which required support from many different insurance firms and meant they had to manage complex insurance arrangements.

Gallagher soon recognised that its traditional methods of managing this process was not sufficient and so teamed with OutSystems to explore a more manageable solution to deal with the mass scale spreadsheets they were used to using.

As well as boosting efficiency, the partnership has allowed the insurance brokers to remove a data-input bottleneck as well as boosting team efficiency.

Andrew Korczynski of OutSystems spoke exclusively to DevOps Online about the firm’s collaboration with Ghallagher.

What is about your company that makes you stand out?

OutSystems pioneered the low code approach to application development over 15 years ago. We therefore have probably the most comprehensive and powerful app dev platform in the market. We are not a late entrant trying to shoehorn our offering into this hugely significant sector – we were instrumental in defining it.

In a nutshell, tell us about your collaboration with the insurance brokers, Gallagher?

We have worked with the users in Construction and Digital to fully enable them to build their own applications. They took to it immediately and relished the ability to apply their business knowledge to their new applications.

How does using low code benefit this kind of company?

The low code approach has enabled Gallagher business users to envision and build production-strength, departmental apps which, if they prove their worth to the business, IT can pick up and produce enterprise-grade versions of them for global use. This means that IT is not spending time on prototyping apps which may be thrown away – the business can own the prototyping and ROI-proving phases while IT focuses on building apps that are already proven.

How did the collaboration happen?

We provided a consultant on-site for 3 weeks to kick-start the app build, with regular check-ins and advisory sessions after that. Having said that, the Gallagher users were incredible in the way they picked up the technology and ran with it.

What would you say is the most important feature when thinking about a new kind of system?

It has to be security. If you are considering an app dev platform which is not SOC 2, ISO 27001, ISO 22301, ISO 27017 and ISO 27018 compliant, you are putting your whole company at risk. Just don’t do it.

As well as allowing for experimentation and speed, how is your method of building and deploying enterprise apps changing traditional methods of app building?

In terms of building apps, the method used is incredibly visual – it is a lot easier to understand what is happening when looking at a flowchart which represents the app logic as opposed to code. Deployment is all 1-click – the platform takes care of everything in a few minutes. This means the user can very easily and quickly try their application, make a change, try it again, and so on.

It has been described that using OutSystems enables ‘organic app development’. What does this mean, exactly?

Due to the ease of changing an application (e.g. adjusting the flowcharts), it is very easy for the user to create a first version of the application and deploy it, then add to it to make a second version and so on. With traditional methods, changing code can be very difficult; so difficult that users try to avoid it by including everything they need in their first release. This is one reason why development times can be so long – they are simply trying to do too much due to a dislike of picking their way through interminable amounts of code to effect some changes later.

What does low code mean for the world in general?

It means we just gave you a lot of your life back!

What do you think is around the corner for DevOps and low code?

Our R&D team is working on some very exciting projects right now. Couldn’t possibly say what they are, of course….