Build vs. Buy Software Strategy

Gain confidence in your decision to build custom software or buy off-the-shelf with an objective
assessment and strategy

A thorough Buy vs. Build consultation can help you make the best decision for your business

The build vs. buy software decision is a complicated one, rife with trade-offs: Do you buy commercial off-the-shelf software (COTS) to fill your gaps fast or build a software solution that serves more precisely what you need? One is likely more affordable, the other might have a much higher upfront cost. One can be implemented right away, but with less customization, the other takes much more time and resources, but is more customizable over time.

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Weighing your options carefully is important, especially if you’re on a tight budget and deadline, and have expectations from your stakeholders. Instead of taking a gamble and choosing one fork over the other, a build vs. buy software decision is an investment that will save you resources in the long run. We’ll help you weigh the pros and cons and build a best-fit strategy for the most desirable outcomes.

Why invest in a Build vs. Buy software consultation?

Even if you have a hunch regarding which choice is ideal for your business at this very moment—the rapid deployment of buying COTS, for example, versus the time to build your own software—you might be worried about the “what ifs?” Even if you chose the more cost-effective option, if it ends up not being the right choice, how do you explain that to your stakeholders?

Why invest in a Build vs. Buy software consultation

“While it takes significant work to execute properly, the costs of making the wrong decision will be felt for years. On the other hand, the consequences of the right decision can resonate with the bottom line for decades or more.”

CIO

This is why it’s best to consult with an objective, experienced partner at the get-go. We’ll sit down with you to help you assess your options and your future goals, to figure out what aligns best. Leave it to the experts to analyze and recommend the right technologies for the job, so you can feel confident that your software will help you realize your vision.

Business benefits of a Build vs. Buy software assessment

There are many aspects of the build vs. buy decision that feels very emotional. For instance, it can be hard to move forward with a decision when you have stakeholders vying for different choices. For example, your developers might be excited to build something new, but business stakeholders just want to go with what’s most cost-effective and fast. How can you satisfy everyone, while doing what you honestly feel is best?

That’s where we come in.

The main benefit of this type of consulting is that it helps us help you, by first taking the emotions out of the decision altogether. As objective partners, we focus on what’s data-driven, practical, and most aligned to your goals and what’s in the best interest of the company overall.

Benefits Build-vs. Buy software assessment

Companies who invest in Build vs. Buy consulting:

  • Can make an investment in the right software solution, worry free
  • Will understand the true value of their software as it relates to the business
  • Won’t pay for solutions that aren’t serving their business, thereby increasing their overall ROI
  • Keep stakeholders happy long-term

Companies who don’t invest in Build vs. Buy consulting:

  • May end up wasting valuable resources if they ultimately choose the wrong option
  • Are missing out on potential combination solutions as opposed to feeling the pressure of choosing one or the other
  • Are not being as efficient as they can be

Companies who invest in Build vs. Buy consulting:

  • Can make an investment in the right software solution, worry free
  • Will understand the true value of their software as it relates to the business
  • Won’t pay for solutions that aren’t serving their business, thereby increasing their overall ROI
  • Keep stakeholders happy long-term

Companies who don’t invest in Build vs. Buy consulting:

  • May end up wasting valuable resources if they ultimately choose the wrong option
  • Are missing out on potential combination solutions as opposed to feeling the pressure of choosing one or the other
  • Are not being as efficient as they can be

Pillars of a solid Build vs. Buy strategy

There’s a lot that goes into a build vs. buy decision. But here’s a spoiler: Build vs. buy doesn’t have to be an “either/or” decision. That’s why this is a strategy solution: Based on your precise needs, we can recommend COTS software that fills gaps where you need it, as well as devise best-fit custom solutions where they will create the most value. By partnering closely with your stakeholders, we design a holistic build vs. buy strategy that keeps your business’ best interest at heart.

Define your goals

The first step of a build vs. buy software debate is to understand what your goals are. What are you hoping to accomplish with new software? At this point, you’re probably already leaning towards one decision over another. So, let’s talk about that. Why are you leaning this way? What are some of your concerns? By outlining your goals together, we can more easily direct you.

Understand your limitations

Perhaps you’re leaning more towards one option because you think it will be more affordable or more of a time-saver. But do you have the resources and expertise to install, integrate, support, and maintain this solution? Let us know what your biggest limitations and concerns are, so we can be sure to address these in whichever direction we go.

Outline the pros and cons

The biggest step in choosing whether to build or buy (or both) is to really understand the pros and cons of each option. Again, depending on your requirements and your goals, this will look slightly different to everyone, but the overarching points are the same:

Build

Pros

  • More creative control
  • Ability to customize
  • Ability to scale
  • Differentiate yourself from the competition
  • Easier integration/compatibility

Cons

  • A major investment upfront
  • Significant time building
  • Disagreement among team members about what to build and how to build it
  • Troubleshooting issues that will all be new, as well as security concerns
  • Easier integration/compatibility

Buy

Pros

  • More affordable at the beginning
  • Easily and quickly deploy the software as soon as you need it
  • Less worry about slow-downs or security as the company should have all of that embedded/accept the liability

Cons

  • Less creative control or specific customizations
  • Possible issues with compatibility
  • Paying for features that you don’t need
  • Troubleshooting issues that will all be new, as well as security concerns
  • Can get more expensive to keep overtime, with subscriptions, scaling, licenses, etc.

Build

    Pros

  • More creative control
  • Ability to customize
  • Ability to scale
  • Differentiate yourself from the competition
  • Easier integration/compatibility

Buy

    Pros

  • More affordable at the beginning
  • Easily and quickly deploy the software as soon as you need it
  • Less worry about slow-downs or security as the company should have all of that embedded/accept the liability

      Cons

    • A major investment upfront
    • Significant time building
    • Disagreement among team members about what to build and how to build it
    • Troubleshooting issues that will all be new, as well as security concerns

      Cons

    • Less creative control or specific customizations
    • Possible issues with compatibility
    • Paying for features that you don’t need
    • Can get more expensive to keep overtime, with subscriptions, scaling, licenses, etc.
    Build vs. Buy outline the pros and cons

    Assess various options

    As expert build vs. buy software consultants, we look at all the software options available to you, no matter what direction you decide to go in. Who knows? There could be a chance you haven’t considered the other option simply because you don’t know everything that’s on the market now, or because you didn’t have a full view into the actual costs of building something custom. We’ll lay out all the options for you—including a potential combination of build vs. buy—and work with you to decide the best fit.

    Make the decision

    Our job is to help you make the final decision so you can get started. Whether we need to come in and help you demonstrate the value of custom-built software to your stakeholders, or choose which subscription plan you should pay for with a COTS option, we’ll support you with full confidence in this part of the process.

    Why choose us to help with your Build vs. Buy software decision?

    With so many resources and experts out there pushing for either custom or COTS, the choice can feel overwhelming.

    Unlike other build vs. buy software consultants, we take a partnership approach, as opposed to just “telling you what to do.” We understand that not only do you have experts on your team, but you also know better than anyone what’s best for your company. That’s why we take our time to get to know you—the client—a bit more personally, so we can truly recommend what’s best for you, validate your concerns, and guide you to the decision-making table.

    Although we specialize in custom solutions, we can also recommend the best-fit off-the-shelf technology for your project. We can also devise combination strategies that can meet your needs and goals both in the short and long-term. Basically, we’re not biased; we’re just here to guide you, one expert to another.

    Insights to guide your Build vs. Buy software decision





     

    Build + Buy development adds value to COTS

    Build + Buy: How custom development adds value to COTS

    Learn how you can take the COTS software that you like and combine it with custom solutions/add-ons. When applied to reporting, this can lead to a more user-friendly workflow and more actionable insights versus sticking with out-of-the-box.

    Build vs. Buy value of custom software systems

    Build vs. Buy Pt 1: Why custom software systems are not a cost of doing business

    Though budget, timeframe, scope, and other requirements are critical build vs. buy considerations, the main question that drives the entire decision-making process is “How close will the product be to your core business output?” We discuss how this factors into how you frame your software decisions—debunking some long held beliefs about costs.

    Build vs. Buy how closecustom software core business

    Build vs. Buy Pt 2: How close is your custom software to your core business function?

    Understanding the proximity of your software to your core value-generating activities is crucial to determining whether to go with a custom or off-the-shelf solution. Learn the three questions we use to assess how the software in question is connected to business value and what the future could hold for your technology.

    Build vs. Buy Perceived costs vs. actual value custom software system

    Build vs. Buy Pt 3: Perceived costs vs. actual value of a custom software system

    Cost is always a major factor in this decision, especially if you’re concerned about how investing in custom software right now will impact your budget. However, are you actually calculating your costs correctly? Truly understanding perceived costs of building software versus actual costs accrued down the road is essential when debating whether to build or buy new software.

    COTS vs. Custom: Top 5 reasons to go custom

    COTS vs. Custom: Top 5 reasons to go custom for enterprise applications

    Although we remain customer-centric in the build vs. buy decision (because it’s not about us!). Our vast consulting experience teaches us that there are scenarios in which it’s best to go custom. We explore some of these scenarios, and if these points resonate with you, then custom might be the way to go.

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