The Buy vs Build argument has been around ever since we had reusable programs or code. We face this question every time we propose a software solution to a customer problem. At times, this question surfaces as Cloud vs On-Prem or Opex vs Capex.
This decision also affects businesses that have invested in a platform a while ago, such as Lotus Notes or a homegrown system that is outdated.
Do you buy a product and then customise it to your needs? Do you build a solution from the ground up to meet your exact requirements?
Many of us dont write a database or build an operating system anymore. We license these components and build solutions on top of them or buy products that extend these .
These days we have become used to employing platforms and we all have our preferred choice of toolkits. Which way we go depends on whether we have a clear case presented.
If we can meet 80% of our requirements by using a vendor product then customising the rest should be an obvious option.
But, what if that 20% of the requirements could cost you a whole lot more or simply impossible to achieve?
What if that part is the most critical of all your needs?
What happens if and when the vendor that produces the product you are going to use as the base goes out of business or get bought out by your competitor?
What if you have to keep paying ongoing subscription fees to the runtime environment for each instance on the IP you created on top of it?
What happens if you decide to build it yourself and the key people of your team go missing? What if your team couldn’t solve a critical Scalability, Performance or Security related issue with your code or integration or customisation?
Would the product maker treat your needs as a higher priority? Would there be a critical mass of people skilled in the product or platform so that there is cost-efficient supply of talent on the platform you have invested?
What if you invest in a product and suddenly there are much cheaper and better options become available in the next 8 months?
Would your vendor keep their technology platform up to date? Will that result in your having to rebuild your apps or customisation every time they make major changes?
What if you couldn’t be sure of your entire requirement set? What if your business requirements completely change in 6 months?
What if you want to reuse the IP and offer a industry vertical solution or a SaaS app?Are you now stuck with this vendor? Do you still have to keep paying fees to your platform provider? Can you leverage their app stores?
There are many aspects that affect which way you decide to move.
What is more important is that you consider all avenues and make an informed choice.
Once you made the call, stick to your guns and see through.
jeylabs specialises in Application platform migrations and modernisation of legacy systems. Reach out to us, if you need help with your Buy or Build decisions.