The “Buy vs Build” argument is an age old one. It is still a very important one that we encounter in our lives many many times. some times the decision is easy, simple and very clear. at other times it is not. when you can make the decision and see the pros and cons clearly it is just natural. such as do you make a sandwich or buy one from the cafe 🙂 we get it toasted right? 🙂
We used to build everything. because we dont usually know what we will be needing tomorrow. when the need arises we fulfill it by building it. later we started seeing repeating patterns, efficencies and issues with building things when we needed and so on.. we created a system of work and labour and products and cash that based on the principles of specialisation, supply and demand.
In IT where the concepts of technology is about automation, meaning re-use and customisation are king, we still find this situation of products being built by many people in different ways to suit their different sometimes not so different needs.
With the help of live.com 🙂 we should be able to find whatever we need being available as a product in some way form or shape some where… live is good..it will find it 🙂 however, the 80% match on the feature set is important and so is the price. usually the price should be cheaper. learning it and implementing it to fit the rest of 20% and evolving it are the key challenges.
Not every product is implemented to make these challenges go away. some products are not so critical to you. they are axillary tools, like a spell check add-in for IE. some are very very important – like your OS, Database, or a BPM platform.
These products usually have these angles well covered. some products are much much better than others in being true platforms.
I guess you will always buy and build (customise) as 100% feature set fit will never happen 🙂