Build vs. Buy Software

Software drive businesses everywhere. We rely on software to automate, speed up, and increase efficiency to the processes that provide value to our businesses. At some point, you will be faced with the need to have software as a solution to a problem.

At that moment, you will have to consider a simple question; do I build or buy software? Is it better to have the flexibility of owning the systems essential to my business, or do I opt for a tried and tested third-party provider?

At first, it seems that you only have to consider price and risk. However, the question requires a much deeper look than that. Fortunately, there is a way to use logic and arrive at a suitable answer.

Let’s go through these steps by making arguments for both.

1. Control over the software

Build

If you build, the software is proprietary, granting you 100% control. However, as much as it is yours to do with as you please, the responsibility of designing it, customizing everything to integrate and maintaining it over time, can be challenging. That being said, any challenges you run into can be solved immediately, without having to rely on someone else. The features will be as desired.

Buy

Most SaaS options may not offer you everything, but they can come very close. With new improvements to software development, integrations can make it easy for you to do everything you need to do. You will never have total control. If there are complaints on your part, the best you can do is open a ticket and hope that they roll out a fix. This could potentially leave you vulnerable while they try to fix your problem.

2. How much will it cost?

Build

The builder carries the initial development cost, the support after the development, fixing bugs, upgrading, integrations, migrating platforms, and staying updated on trends. The costs could easily become astronomical if you make the wrong choices about your developer. You could potentially spend hundreds of thousands of dollars (or even millions) depending on how complex you want the software to be. A development team like Blocshop, presents you with a clear plan and strategy of how, what and when, so you never have to worry about missing anything.

Buy

Depending on the type of software you want, the pricing plans and licenses the SaaS providers have, and the problem you are trying to solve, buying may be economical. The best way to know if you are getting value is by calculating the time and money it takes to build vs. the sustainability of paying a subscription fee. Always check to see the terms of use on your license, if you go with the ‘buy option.’

3. Maintaining

Build

After you build, the costs could get out of hand, depending on the vastness of your user network and the complexity of your software. From server costs to 24-hour support, the potential for things to go wrong, is always there. Bugs fixes, security, production incidents, compliance, ensuring no downtime…all this, is what you will have to be prepared to deal with when you build your own software.

Buy

A SaaS service has the responsibility of taking care of everything. Their staff does all the work of maintaining your system. The fees are usually baked into the subscription/licensing fee, making it easier for you to make fixed payments and be done with it. Because they know the product, they know how to fix most of the problems. If they cannot do it right away, it is only a matter of time before they come up with a patch for it. Waiting for a fix, may not always be good for you. For example, a security issue could take until the next update, which could be months away, leaving you vulnerable.

4. What is the opportunity cost?

Build

Opportunity cost demands that you look at how much value the software you are building will add to your core revenue generator. How many more units of your products will you move if you implement this software? Is it contributing to profit? How much market share will you be diverting to the competition by undertaking an activity that may or may not add value to your core business? If it adds value better than a SaaS solution, then you know which option to take.

Buy

Right out of the gate, the opportunity cost is not in the equation, when you go with SaaS solutions. You can buy licenses or pay a subscription fee and focus on gaining market share and increasing your revenue. Everything is usually ready for you to get started immediately. However, you need to consider the solutions that need integration before you can do anything useful. They could take time and more money to set up.

5. How long before you get value?

Build

To develop software from scratch and have a version 1.0 up and ready, could take more than six months or a year to finish. How long before the software can be tested, launched, and start generating value? Will your finances and plans allow you to wait that long? Building internally increases the time to value by a wide margin.

Buy

SaaS, on the other hand, shrinks the time. Aside from the software that comes with complex set up processes before it can be useful, most subscriptions or licensing plans can be implemented quickly. SaaS solutions are faster. They connect you to your goals faster than building would. However, the long-term cost might be higher than opting to build the software yourself.

It does not have to be a hard decision

By weighing the pros and cons of building vs. buying, you can arrive at a solution that serves you best. Should you choose to build, remember to get it done right. If you pick the wrong developer, your costs could be ten times higher than the normal national average.

Blocshop is a one-stop-shop for those who want to build their own software. By hiring the right people, you can create customized platforms for yourself at a reasonable cost. We have a pool of skilled developers whose sole purpose is to impress you, the client, by keeping their commitments.

If you are going to build, you are going to have to do it right. To do it right, you’re going to need the best talents. Get started today by contacting Blocshop, for a free estimate of what your project could cost.

To recap, let’s list down the pros and cons of each:

Building

Pros

  • Customization and scaling are as diverse as you wish
  • Control is unlimited 
  • The edge over competition could increase
  • Integration is a guarantee

Cons

  • The cost of getting the project off the ground is significant
  • The time to launch could be a problem

Buying

Pros

  • The initial cost is low
  • Deployment is rapid
  • Updates, maintenance, and features are not your responsibility

Cons

  • Customization is out of your hands
  • Control can never be yours
  • Compatibility and integration issues could arise
  • The long-term cost may not be economical

Weigh the options and find the one that will offer you great value, when all aspects are taken into account. Remember, if you are building, do it right, with Blocshop.

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