When it comes to finding software solutions, there is always a point in the conversation, where the question is asked; do we build our own software to solve our problems, or do we buy software that’s already out there?
The immediate reaction is often “well we can just build that”. Yes, that’s probably true, but is it the best option? Here are some things to keep in mind:
Yes, you own the product, which means you have complete control of customization. You are able to build and design the tool to fit directly into your company, and function in the exact way you need it to. What this customization means, is there is no middleman when it comes to adding new features, fixing issues, or making changes. It also means you have complete control of what features your tool has and how it will develop in the future. Keep in mind too, if the exact product you need doesn’t exist, you have a huge opportunity. You can develop a product that fits you rather than figure out how you can fit into a tool.
On the other hand...
Remind yourself of the intricacies involved in building software. Why recreate a system that already exists and is continually being worked on? The company who has created the tool is solely focused on building this type of tool and making it better. Could you build your own? Yes. Would it be the smartest thing to do? To take resources off building your own product, to have them build another product? Probably not. Your resources are better spent making your product great, and investing financially in a tool that will help you make your product better.
So, when it comes to the ultimate question, to build or to buy, things to think about:
1) What tools already exist?
2) What is the cost of buying vs building? (Do you have to hire more people to build?)
3) Would your resources be better spent making your own product/platform/service better?
What factors do you take into consideration when deciding about software solutions?