5 ways IT can drive innovation

Unlock creativity and accelerate innovation with rapid software development

Technology continues to play a leading role in driving growth and fueling innovation. To compete effectively, companies need to quickly respond to changing customer expectations and market forces. They need to introduce new ways of serving customers, streamlining operations, or creating new revenue streams.

Innovation can have a huge impact on customer satisfaction, customer loyalty, operating costs and competitive advantage. It creates value and is crucial to the continued success of any organisation. In many ways, the COVID-19 crisis has amplified the need for innovation. IT leaders have faced the challenge of providing robust, reliable day-to-day operations while also applying technology to reimagine the way everything is done. They have had to be extremely creative to try to navigate the current crisis.

We tend to associate creativity with the arts and think of it as the expression of highly original ideas. It’s the same with innovation. Think of how Andy Warhol reinvented modern art or how Stephen Wozniak influenced personal computing. In business, originality 
 isn’t enough. To be creative, an idea must also be appropriate – useful and actionable. It must somehow influence the way business gets done – by improving a product or by approaching a process in a new way.

The associations between creativity and artistic originality often lead to confusion 
 about the appropriate place of creativity in organisations. Forbes asked managers if 
 there is any place they don’t want creativity in their companies. About 80% answered, “Accounting.” Creativity doesn’t belong just in the marketing department. 
 Creativity can benefit every function of an organisation. For example, when an accountant comes to the IT department and asks them to create a mobile app to 
 help scan and input their invoices before it gets to their desks, he creates something new. When the IT department embraces the idea and helps the Accounting department create this application and streamline their process, they are creating too. When they are executing the idea and transforming it into reality, they are innovating.


Only 30% of CIOs believe their IT department is very or extremely innovative

 *CIO from IDG: How IT leaders can define + drive IT innovation

1.  To innovate in the digital era, you need to be able to create software

The limitations of just using off-the-shelf software packages and Software as a Service (SaaS) to innovate can limit your creativity and ability to innovate. How can you differentiate from your competition if you don’t have the power to create what you need? You need the capability to build your own solutions to create unique experiences or shape new digital strategies. How can you differentiate from your competition if you don’t have the power to create what you need? The build or buy dilemma has evolved over the last few years: buying off-the-shelf isn’t entirely totally off-the-shelf anymore, and the more digital we become, the less off-the-shelf it is. As for build, the idea that developing your own software is costly and inefficient is based on old development models. Modern app development technologies have changed that.

2.  A platform approach will 
 make you innovate effectively

To fuel creativity and drive innovation through software, you need to build applications fast that are flexible, scalable and affordable. This can be challenging using traditional code. IT and business users need to work together without the back-and-forth of traditional app development processes. Failure is part of the process. You need to fail fast and learn fast. To accomplish this, you need to change the way you create software.

An enterprise modern application platform offers a fully integrated approach to development, quality assurance, governance, deployment, and management – the entire application lifecycle – enabling it to support high-scale application development. The platform can accommodate all stages – from mockup to enterprise-grade digital product.

OutSystems is a modern application platform built from the ground up to help companies worldwide deliver innovation with the speed and scale they need to succeed.

3.  If you shape your ideas before you build, you save time and money

A common challenge faced by IT Leaders is the culture of collaboration within the organisation. IT can lead this process.

Companies can face challenges when validating and rolling out digital ideas due to limited access to the required set of professionals, tools and expertise. Especially non-tech companies that don’t have a team of UX designers, solution architects, tech-leads, and product owners available to work on new projects.

Help gather and select the best ideas: 
 By promoting innovation labs, you can help the business and IT imagine the future of your business and help you ideate the digital solutions you can bring to the market, your employees and stakeholders.

Design the digital experience including your future users: 
 By engaging UX professionals in the concept phase, they can research user (customer or employees) expectations and design the user experience to help shape your requirements before building your solution.

Plan your solution design and delivery plan to build your business case:
 You can’t build a business case without knowing the cost to design, deliver, and keep evolving your application.

Participate in the business case creation:
 IT can help develop a solid macro business case to validate a solution to determine if it is viable and if the business model is profitable.

 Seeing is believing. Quickly design and prototype your digital solution to get real-world feedback before investing in development.

Get the right professionals:
 You need experienced and specialised professionals who cover the full spectrum of disciplines and processes required. It speeds up and raises the quality of the outcomes.

4. Increase the speed of delivery 
 and reduce time to market

The world keeps changing at speed. It’s hard to keep up with faster innovation, recurrent technology churn, and the rapid rise of new market opportunities and threats. As backlogs and requirements continue to mount, nimble competitors push the leading edge further toward the horizon, meaning that even applications completed on time may arrive to market already out of date. 

According to the BCG Global Innovation Survey, the top obstacle for innovation performance is 42% of companies take too long to develop ideas. 

Reducing backlog and time-to-market is crucial to the success of innovation. A modern application platform like OutSystems can simplify development without sacrificing governance, security, and reliability. A small and experienced team can deliver reliable applications in weeks, not months.

5.  Spend less resources 
 on technical debt and 
 invest more in innovation

Technical debt builds up and compounds silently, through thousands of seemingly small decisions;


Turnover of development teams, a high number of development languages, cutting corners to 
 meet deadlines and the presence of outdated languages and frameworks. As a result, outdated technologies consume resources, time and energy, preventing companies from investing in current operations and future innovations.

Companies can steadily chip away at technical debt without compromising the timelines of current and future projects. Using the OutSystems platform can simultaneously reduce your existing tech debt and build innovative new applications in line with company priorities.

 OutSystems Tech Debt infographic


Large companies spend 41% of their IT budget on tech debt.*


69% of companies agree that tech debt limits their ability to innovate

Innovation cases

Adopted by several leading organisations worldwide, OutSystems has helped them genuinely transform their digital capabilities through their modern platform. PhoenixDX is a top leader OutSystems partner in Australia, with an expert team ready to help you to innovate.

Certis Security acquires and engages key clients with a tailored digital product suite – delivering the first release in less than 12 weeks

Secured a new multi-million dollar contract, automated processes and created a suite of applications that differentiate them in the market.

They have replaced and improved a technology architecture that took 20 years to develop in just three years.

Streamlined operations that dramatically improved customer experience.

60 apps live in 20 months in the supply chain, sales and marketing, workforce and HR administration, finance, portfólio management, manufacturing management, and many more

They deployed applications that foster efficiency. A large portion of these applications replaced legacy Lotus Notes apps.

Talk to us about transforming your ideas into business value. Fast