How To Solve The “Build Vs. Buy” Dilemma While Adopting a Software Application?
Having a robust software infrastructure is as crucial as having a team of hardworking and skilled professionals. The perfect amalgamation of software and human resources is what gives power to a company to expand its business capabilities. While the software plays a role of complementing and augmenting human capabilities through its speed, scalability, and quantitative abilities, human intelligence facilitates decision making and innovation by applying leadership, teamwork, creativity, and social skills.
Although finding the right balance between these two is a hard row to hoe, what’s more grinding for a company in the present competition, is whether to build a software or to buy one. To clear the clouds of confusion and be able to choose between “Build” and “Buy” wisely, it is recommended to consider steering away from the following fallacies.
1. An In-House Software Will Understand Your Business Better
No third-party software developer can know your business better than you. Well, it doesn’t mean that you can develop a solution for your business better than what they can. Like you might be an expert in your business, software developers have their distinct expertise. Therefore, it is a better option to trust software experts in the relevant field for which you need an application. And, even if you have some specific requirements, get them incorporated by the developers in the application after thorough testing. In certain cases, such arrangements can be made by service providers.
While developing new and customized solutions may appear to be innovative and make you stand out of the crowd, having retail software will not make you lacking technical expertise if an application with features that you are building in-house is already available in the market. The next misconception clears this notion only.
2. You Are Not Innovative If You Buy
If you have given a thorough look at your decision and you think that buying an off-the-shelf software application meets your requirement better, you should never be unconfident and feel ashamed of it. Why waste your valuable resources unnecessarily when the same features and functions that you are planning to develop in-house are readily available?
While buying an application to meet your business requirement is the smartest idea provided it checks all the right boxes. Nonetheless, one thing you must give an extra focus on is to know whether or not the vendor you are buying from is providing regular updates. For example, if a management software such as ERP is providing options to manage all the aspects of your business, it wouldn’t be wise to invest your time and resources in building an application in-house.
Conversely, a company involved in e-commerce business may wish to include a machine learning application to enhance its product recommendations for the customers; hence, should consider developing in-house software. As numerous software is already available in the market to meet such requirements, it is wise to use the development resources for other purposes.
3. You Can’t Take A U-Turn
Choosing Build over Buy or vice versa for your business doesn’t imply that you now cannot change your decision. What may seem unfitting in the first place might come out as a step towards innovation when looked at through different perspectives. This implies that if you have gone on to the “Buy” path and later find a new opportunity, you can always go for in-house development if needed. Similarly, choosing the “Build” concept might make you an innovator of something which has a bright scope in the market. What matters here is that you must be aware of the value of your tools and know when to take a step ahead or move back.
This is where a custom software development team could step in for a while.
To understand this by an example, suppose an e-commerce business offers personalized merchandise (printing the images provided by customers on desired products). While printing a design on a Mug is an easy task, however, to stitch a pattern on a T-shirt may require the help of an artist. As such jobs may cause extra time, labor, and cost, the business may want to introduce to in-house development. Such introductions will allow them to meet customers’ requirements while saving labor costs and having a competitive advantage.
4. Mind Your Business
If the software that you are looking to buy or build is going to be used only for managing certain parts of your business, and it’s not going to significantly affect the objectives of your company, you should consider buying an off-the-shelf application from a reliable service provider. This way you will not only be able to save time and resources on employing a team for in-house development but can channelize it to rather more important aspects of your business – the ones that will help your business grow.
5. Play Safe
Reading a couple of articles and business stories can offer to help up to a certain extent. Ultimately, it is you who will need to choose. Although the situation may make your vision narrower, taking a step back may widen your thinking and may help you ease the decision-making by considering options like a software lease or trial subscription (if there is scope). This way you may be able to clear the doubts a bit more and be close to your goals.
If what your business needs can’t be bought off-the-rack and is a crucial factor in making a difference to your business, you can always gear up towards the in-house development for your software needs.
It should, further, be kept in mind that with every in-house development, managing priorities and resources is a key factor. So, better consider the opinions of customers and stakeholders to determine their requirements and then come to a positive conclusion.
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