Business productivity depends on having the right tools to get the job done. This is true whether you’re a carpenter framing a house or a data analyst getting the insights necessary for decision-making purposes. For companies looking to turn technology into a competitive advantage, building custom software may seem like a good idea. However, there are various things to consider when deciding whether to develop software in-house or purchase a purpose-built solution.
Here are four key considerations to look at before you make a decision:
1. Speed to Delivery
Developing new software involves more than coding. The IT team must conduct a needs assessment and design workshops to determine the best software architecture. Before coding can even begin, they need to learn and assess the needs of multiple stakeholders and translate them into requirements. Since a complex enterprise system can go through numerous iterations before producing usable software, many IT teams find it more cost-effective to start with a pre-built solution that can be extended and configured to meet their needs.
2. Support and Maintenance
Software development is just the start. Once deployed, software needs regular updates and troubleshooting, or it may be more trouble than it’s worth. Quick fixes lead to compounded problems that accumulate over time, frustrating IT teams who cannot seem to keep up with the issues that keep popping up. Offloading these activities can be difficult since internally developed software is unfamiliar to third parties. Any team considering building vs. buying software needs to consider how the software is supported and maintained, not just how it is developed.
3. Security Requirements
Ever-evolving cyber threats require constant vigilance and updates. For an organization, this requires more than anti-virus software. Your software solutions need to prevent denial of service events, protect sensitive information from hackers, and track compliance. For a bespoke system, the responsibility of staying on top of security measures falls squarely on the company, which would be better served by focusing on its core business activities. Partnering with an experienced vendor can mitigate this challenge.
4. Hiring and User Adoption
When a company has an internally developed system, onboarding new employees gets more complex. They not only need to learn the business but also the software. By contrast, using industry-standard software accelerates the learning curve so new employees can be more productive faster. Well-developed software usually has built-in training to facilitate onboarding. Providers can offer tailored training to bring teams up to speed on standard operating procedures and workflows. New team members can add value beyond their job function when they leverage past learning on how to get the most out of the software from their previous experience.
Building software in-house can seem attractive, but the benefits rarely outweigh the time, cost, and quality concerns. Businesses can benefit from building on a proven, industry-leading platform with a track record of success.
The best solutions have an open API architecture, professional service teams with industry experience, and insights on smart practices to adapt the software to the business’s unique needs, including integration of third-party solutions. In addition, they provide support and storage capacity that makes financial sense, keeping the business productive and focused on core tasks without the distraction of software maintenance and development.