Should you build or buy software: A guide to making better decisions

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May 7, 2021 Custom Software, Improve Your Company, Web Development ,

Handling too many things at once is challenging and time consuming. There is a good reason why most businesses use software; to improve sales and productivity.

Recognizing the need for certain software to improve your business sales and service can raise the debate on whether you will buy or build your own custom solution.

If you purchase the wrong software solution, it can negatively affect your current process. 

If you built a wrong software, it can make the problem worse.

So, is it to buy or to build software?

This decision does not come lightly.  Many companies have already faced this challenge. Let’s start with the things you need to consider.

Things to consider:

Budget

What is your ideal budget to build your custom software?

Have you factored in the cost of monthly maintenance?

Will you be using the software long term or short term?

What happens if the project goes over budget?

Capabilities 

What are the features the software ‘must have’ to improve your business?

Are there available products currently on the market that could be used instead?

Timeline

How long will it take for the implementation of the custom software solution?

Answering these questions is important to making the right decision for your business. Now let’s see the pros and cons of building and buying software.

Pros of building software

Customizable

Building bespoke software gives you the ability to customize a solution for a particular problem. You have the ability to create your ideal software differentiating you from your competitors gaining a competitive advantage.

Greater control

You have complete control over additional features and enhancements to your custom software including user options, the data your company collects, how and when it gets maintained or updated.

Security

Limit security threats and minimize risk from unauthorized access. Your software is your own and exclusive to your company.

Freedom

Freedom to collaborate with your team to come up with suggestions to improve the software. Option to sell your custom software (for a profit) to benefit other businesses. 

Ownership

You own it! You and your company can benefit from it for a long time. Your software grows with you.

Cons of building software

More costly

According to Thumbtack, a simple mobile application costs between $20,000 and $80,000. A moderately complex application will range from $80,000 to $150,000. And the most complex software can cost up to $1 million to develop.

Usually, building and maintaining software is more costly than buying software. And sometimes, it is susceptible to go over budget.

Time-consuming

Building software takes time to build and to determine what the business exactly needs and writing codes. It takes months or even years before it can get finished. So, you must be prepared to gather information to create appropriate, useful, and powerful software for your business. 

Pros of buying software

Cost

Buying software is typically much cheaper when it comes to upfront cost. 

Time

It’s already built. It has fast deployment with ready-made programs. It could just take a few months or less to implement. Ready-made programs mean ready-made solutions for your business. 

Maintenance

A prebuilt software’s maintenance is usually handled by a SaaS provider. The software is often updated regularly.

Cons of buying software

Less customizable

It has limited functionality. You are using the same features as some of your competitors. This reduces the gain in having a competitive advantage. 

It might have unnecessary features or incompatibility with the programs or devices that your company is using. 

Less control

Whether you want to update or add more features, you can’t control it. Anyone from your company doesn’t get the voice in decision making. The rights to the code still belongs to the developer. 

Less security features

When you buy software, you are using software from an external source. This means that you are more vulnerable to hackers. 

Conclusion

If you want to try to solve a problem immediately, purchasing software may be your best bet, keeping in mind that it may not have all  the features you are looking for. 

If you are willing to make an investment, want more control, and will use the software for long term, then building custom software is the best for you. 

So, is it to build or to buy?

If you are still undecided, give us a call. We’d be glad to help.

For any kind of question, big or small, we got you.