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Build Vs Buy: Which Software Application Fits Your Business?

Software Development
November 28, 2023
4 mins read
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4.5

Building or buying is the stage that most companies come across whenever they are moving towards tech-enabled solutions for their day-to-day tasks. Both of them have their own benefits and drawbacks, and neither of them is ideal. However, here is an impartial comparison so that one can weigh the pros and cons and make a choice for their use case.

Building Software: A Bittersweet Symphony of Improved Productivity

The process involves creating a software application internally using the organization’s resources and mostly requires forming a dedicated team of in-house developers and designers to collaborate on the application’s creation.

Advantages:

  • Ease of deployment.
  • Freedom in technology choices.
  • Outsourcing later can result in revenue generation.
  • Allows to manage features and tailor customization.
  • Evolves into a valuable organizational asset in the future.
  • Developing software on your own provides greater flexibility.
  • Developing in-house fosters the enhancement of developers’ skills and communication.

Disadvantages:

  • Involves significant costs and ongoing maintenance.
  • Developing software from scratch is a time-intensive task.
  • May require the recruitment and training of technical staff.
  • Lacking a well-defined product strategy and thorough research can lead to the development of an unsuitable product.

Buying Software: A Solution That Comes with Its Own Restrictions

The process involves procuring a software application externally, typically requiring the selection of a software vendor or provider to fulfill the organization’s needs.

Advantages:

  • Faster software deployment.
  • Reduced development-related risk.
  • Variety of global options to choose from.
  • Decreased costs when acquiring software.
  • Continuous improvements with an already stable product.

Disadvantages:

  • Limited control or autonomy.
  • Might not satisfy all your requirements.
  • Inability to integrate with custom solutions.
  • May not meet all your needs or expectations.
  • Delayed updates that may not align with your current priorities.
  • Communication challenges may arise between the buyer and the outsourced company.
  • Potential security vulnerabilities, especially when dealing with critical data in your processes.
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Why Does Choosing Between “Build Vs Buy” Matter?

In the tech-enabled industry, one of the significant decisions businesses have to make is whether to develop their own software or buy an existing solution. 

This decision, undoubtedly, impacts an organization’s resources, timeline, and overall strategy. Indeed, both options have their own advantages and disadvantages, and the choice between them depends on specific needs, circumstances, and goals to achieve. 

Making this decision requires a systematic approach instead of an emotionally driven one. This systematic approach begins with defining your business needs and then carefully weighing the pros and cons of each choice. 

Afterward, select the best option considering your budget, while being ready to adapt as needed. 

Ultimately, the decision depends on a variety of factors:

  • User Roles: User roles refer to the various personas or positions within your organization that will interact with the software for the time being or in the future. Approaching user roles in a realistic way is crucial for the bigger picture. This is where building allows for tailor-made solutions and helps one integrate features that make businesses stand out among others. On the other hand, buying might cater to common user roles but, in most cases, lacks customization and personalization that defines one’s business without any ambiguity.
  • Time Constraints: Every project, task, and even business has to achieve certain ETAs to keep an organization’s growth on track, right? This can be a major factor in deciding whether building a software application in-house or buying off the shelf will help achieve those ETAs. Building a custom solution often takes more time due to the development, testing, and implementation phases. Buying a pre-built solution can save time but may require adaptation to fit specific needs.
  • Scope of Software: To meet certain business objectives, one is supposed to have a close look at the scope of software which refers to the range of features and capabilities an application is equipped with. Building enables a precise fit to the scope, covering a broader range of features. On the other hand, buying might come with its own limitations and slows down the process of scaling one’s business. Evaluating the alignment of the software’s scope with business requirements is crucial.
  • Design & Branding: Design and branding involve the aesthetics and visual identity of the software. Building allows for complete control over design and branding, ensuring a unique look. Buying may have limitations, but some solutions offer customization options.
  • Ease of Deployment: Ease of deployment measures how quickly and efficiently the software can be implemented and integrated into existing systems. Picking an off-the-shelf software application often provides quicker deployment as the solution is ready-made. Building may take longer, but it allows for a phased deployment tailored to specific organizational needs.
  • Financial Spending Limits: Financial spending limits refer to the budget constraints for developing or purchasing the software. Building may have higher upfront costs but can be more cost-effective in the long run. Buying might have lower initial costs but could involve recurring fees.
  • Unique Processes of The Business: Unique processes of the business are specific workflows or operations that differentiate the organization from others. Building an application is advantageous when unique processes require tailored solutions. Buying may offer customization options, but critical and unique processes may be better addressed through custom development.
  • Workflows Within Your Organization: Understanding workflows is vital for choosing the right solution. Building allows for a perfect fit while buying may require adapting workflows to fit the purchased software.

Case Study: Building A Software Application Can Be a Sustainable Option

Devsinc’s engineers are highly skilled and experienced in creating and developing websites with different technologies. Here is what we did with MapleHr:

Name: MapleHr

Industry: Software House

Need: HRMS System

Staffing: Full stack engineers, Quality Assurance Engineers, Product Managers, Designers

Time: 18-30 months

Devisnc recognized the need for an HRMS (Human Resource Management System) to manage employee-related information and tasks. They faced the decision of whether to purchase an off-the-shelf solution or build it in-house. They chose to develop it, as this approach not only fulfilled their HRMS requirements but also provided their employees with an opportunity to gain valuable technological skills and turn their system into a valuable asset. Remarkably, they are now also marketing this system to others.

Arsalan Ahmed

Senior WordPress Developer

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