The dilemma of whether to buy or build custom software has been ongoing for many years. The Information Technology (IT) industry leaders have continuously questioned which of the two approaches are the best solution for problems they face. Every time the need arises, both pros and cons are considered in determining the most efficient and cost-effective solution for their business. Both technology and innovation are speeding up, which makes it quite difficult for the average IT organization to continue to keep up. With software, many organizations struggle with deciding whether buying or building is the best approach. While developing in-house software may seem the best way to tackle a particular business complication, it also frequently requires the unreasonable allotment of resources. Resources to consider will often include financial obligations, time allocations, and workforce considerations to implement and maintain custom software.
Under most circumstances, working with a creditable provider to deploy a solution will allow organizations to get the technology into the hands of their users more swiftly. This will also ensure that the software will continue to have overall support throughout its life cycle.
An organization’s skill is generally not developing business-to-business (B2B) software solutions. It could be unreasonable to spend countless hours and allocating your best people to build a solution that may already exist and is proven to work in the market. Here are a few reasons why buying may be better for you than building.
Why buy and not build?
In many situations, it may be a better business decision to buy rather than build. An organization would benefit from a purchase if:
- Internal sources are limited, and it needs to focus on core objectives rather than software development.
- Building software solutions is not a major part of their business.
- The organization’s need for a solution is more immediate.
- There are solutions already in place in the market that addresses similar business challenges.
- Fast deployment is a higher priority than a fully customized software solution.
Major factors to consider when deciding whether to buy or build
There are plenty of factors that could help an organization decide whether to buy or build, but there are two key factors to consider before making the final call.
- How much will it cost to buy already available software that may meet your needs?
- How much will it cost your organization, in both time and money, to develop the ideal software from scratch?
- How much will it cost to maintain either of the two options over the next few years? And then the next few years after that?
- What is the objective of the software? What do you need the software to do?
- Are there any products available in the market that can fulfill your organizations’ objectives?
- If not, do you have a capable team to develop the requisite software that can meet those objectives?
If you end up deciding to develop your own solution with your own project management and development teams, it is more likely that you will find the development time and maintenance cost to be more than you expected. Only consider building your in-house software if your organization can build it without major groundwork.
Best of Both
If both options to buy or build software may seem too restraining, how about getting the best of both worlds? Would you consider a customizable solution that may meet most of the challenges your organization faces? For example, open-source software. A customizable software solution can be built upon an already established framework and may give you the best of both worlds.
You can achieve this by selecting available options from the marketplace, then customize them to fill any gaps in needed capabilities with custom development. However, you will still need an experienced development team to customize the product to fit all your needs. Depending on the licensing or other software agreements, you may not be given complete ownership benefits of building your own tool, but you will have software tailor-made particularly for your organization’s needs.
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