Build v. Buy Software Guide

pros and cons of build vs buy

So, you have encountered a problem or process you would like to automate. The trouble is, you don't know whether or not to buy pre-existing software or make your own. Luckily, the technical experts at In Time Tec have come up with a couple of considerations that may help.

How quickly do you need the software?

If you need software that is ready to go ASAP, it's better to go for something already on the market. However, if you are willing to spend the time it takes to develop and test something new, building your own software presents a more promising option.

How much of an issue are glitches?

Nobody wants their software to crash. Yet, inevitably, software will fail or encounter issues that need to be fixed. Using pre-existing software means a more extensive user base which entails more technical support and more errors that have already been corrected. Conversely, designing your own software will necessitate more testing and more potential issues.

What’s your budget?

Developing your own software does take time and personnel, be it internally or through contracting the project to an external company. However, the money may be worth the long-term investment if you gain specialized software uniquely suited for your needs. Most companies aren’t software companies.

Buying existing software still requires staffing for support beyond what the vendor offers, but it’s less than developing your own software. Often, obtaining a software budget is difficult, as people can be reluctant to fund intangible items.

Do you want something customized?

Each business is unique and thusly has special requirements for how their company operates. You can structure it to suit exactly how your business functions with custom-built software. However, if you can make off-the-shelf software work, that’s an avenue worth exploring. Plus, if you have propriety processes specific to your company, utilizing general software may prevent you from having to disclose that process to an outside company.

How much control do you want over the software?

Basing a critical process of your business on an external software that loses support could prove disruptive. As more software companies change pricing models to charge based on licenses or monthly fees, your business may get prices out of something it relies on. Making your own software enables you to customize, update, and consistently budget costs for maintaining the software.

How scalable is the software?

Your business will expand year after year with more employees, more products, and a larger workflow with hard work and effort. It's essential to have software that can grow with you. This means examining the software limits and how many licenses you require for pre-built software. For custom software, it means planning the software with scalability in mind.