The Pros And Cons Of Building Or Buying Software

Today, businesses have three choices. Some choose to buy off-the-shelf solutions, others buy these solutions on a subscription basis to reduce upfront costs, and then there’s the choice of developing their own custom solutions in-house.

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While off-the-shelf solutions are becoming more powerful, and users are demanding better, consumer-grade UX from their enterprise experiences, it's easier than ever for companies to purchase the right software for their needs. At the same time, an ever-growing pool of talented designers and developers enables companies to build their own solutions. And as with any predicament, the best solution is to draw out the pros and cons of buying or designing to make the best decision for an organization.

When deciding whether to buy software or develop in-house solutions, it’s important to consider three key points. These include the scope and complexity of the problem being addressed; the organizations capability to build, maintain, and support a new solution; and whether using the software immediately or waiting for a tailored solution is more essential.

For those considering buying software, the pros include that they are often ready-made solutions that are available immediately, they are often flexible and adaptable, they allow for customer feedback, and there is usually expert support and training available to reduce the burden on in-house IT teams. On the other hand, companies that choose to buy their software have no rights to the code, they rely on the vendor to fix issues, and they may end up with a product that doesn’t fit their exact business needs.

In contrast, the pros of building software are that the company can retain control over the development and features, capabilities are designed to meet the company’s exact needs, they can retain ownership of the code, and they can integrate the new solution with existing proprietary software. However, building software is often much more expensive and involves the costs of ongoing support and maintenance over time. Building software can also take longer, and the company will be responsible for keeping up with upgrades.

Ultimately, if it’s too difficult to decide between the two options, companies can consider selecting a customizable solution to build upon an established framework and get the best of both worlds.