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Should you Build or Buy Software? Pros, Cons, and Factors to Consider

Published: 7/3/2020 8:06:53 AM

To buy or to build: this is the question haunting countless project leaders, developers, and IT managers. When it comes to software, it can be tricky to select between saving time by purchasing a tried and tested third-party solution or attaining the flexibility of developing your own one. The building gives ownership and customization, while buying gives reliability and ease. Both options have their own set of advantages and disadvantages.

So, the question remains—is it better to buy or build? This article will help you decide on this debating topic and offer you a detailed list of the pros and cons of buying vs building your software solutions.

Deciding Factors in the Buying Vs Building Debate

When deciding whether to buy or build a software solution, you need to consider the following key factors:

  • What is the scope of the problem that you are trying to deal with using this software?
  • How complex does your software need to be to suffice your business needs and fit your business size?
  • Does your company presently have (or can you hire) skilled employees capable of developing, managing, supporting, and maintaining the software solution?
  • Is using the software essential for your business operations?
  • Can you afford to wait while the software is being developed?

Finding or getting answers to the above questions will ultimately make your decision easy. Now, let us have a detailed look at buying and building software.

Buying a Software

Buying third-party software is an out-of-the-box solution. This saves time as you just have to download it and start using it immediately. Also, some solutions act as a platform to create your own solutions and processes. While buying comes with its own advantages, it also has some drawbacks. The below list of pros and cons will give you a clear idea.

Pros of Buying

  • Deployment: Time is one of the major factors when it comes to buying vs building debate. Since you don’t need to develop the software on your own, you can have the software ready to use much faster.
  • Maintenance: Increasing computing power and security threats are key concerns for most business owners. A third-party software will be maintained to evolve with these factors. This makes the software more durable as compared to the one developed in-house. The software will continue to evolve and integrate across platforms, with a dedicated third-party team supporting it.
  • Updates: With third-party software, you will get the latest updates and features, thereby allowing you to stay competitive.
  • Support: A third-party solution will come with support and service to help fix any problem if something does go wrong with it. This lessens some of the pressure that comes when technical issues do arise.
  • Tried and Tested: There will likely be fewer unforeseen complications if the software is tried and tested. Third-party vendors launch their software once they feel there are no issues while using the software. The software runs error-free since the vendor has tested and tried it countless times before the launch.

Cons of Buying

  • Customization: Third-part software solutions are less customizable as compared to solutions that are built in-house. While many third-party solutions offer some customization, most of them won’t be custom-built for you. In addition to this, it can sometimes cost more to personalize a third-party solution.
  • Control: You have less control over the update and usage timeline of a third-party solution. User volume, updates, and available functionality of the software are controlled by the vendor. All the crucial decisions on the software’s future and features are out of your hands.
  • Unnecessary Features: Since third-party software is unlikely to be customized as per your needs, you might end up paying for features that you do not use or need. If you only require a few core features from a software, you do not want to be imposed with a hefty price.
  • Vulnerable: Third-party solutions might be a desirable target for hackers and can leave you vulnerable. Nevertheless, this can be avoided by ensuring that the vendor has strong security features.

Building a Software

Why pay to do something when you can do it yourself? Developing your own software means you do not have to be obliged to a third-party vendor. On the other hand, it also means knowing exactly what solution you need and finding skilled employees to develop and design it. Building your own software is more challenging, but is it worth it? Decide yourself by analyzing the pros and cons listed below:

Pros of Building

  • Customization: One of the most attractive advantages of building your own software is customizability. The software you end up building will be custom-made for you. It will not have any unnecessary functionality or features and will be customized to suffice your needs.
  • Control: Developing your own software means gaining complete control over it. You have better control over security measures, user options, and how the software gets maintained or updated. In addition to this, you get the option to sell your software moving forward.
  • In-House Input: A great advantage of developing your own solution is that your employees—the ones that will use the software inevitably—get a say in deciding what functionalities are required. This gives the chance for your team to create a unique answer to their own problem.
  • Integration: Your organization might be using different legacy systems and software. It is not always easy to find a solution that plays well with these legacy tools. Therefore, developing your own software means you can integrate it with any existing processes and software already in use.

Buying or Building?

So, the question remains—should you buy or build a software? With the above-mentioned pros and cons, hopefully, you can come a little closer to deciding what to choose. If you opt to develop your own software, calculate the effort, time, and costs it will take. Developing is good if the software is simple and smaller. If you chose to purchase a third-party software solution, make sure to take your time to analyze and study different solutions and vendors out in the market. Factors such as pricing methods, security, suitability, and support options must be considered. To make things simple, you can always buy software and services from WareBuy, which is the industry’s first dedicated marketplace for buying and selling packaged software solutions and services

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