Build Vs Buy - which is best for me?

A question we often get asked is “When should you build bespoke software over buying an off-the-shelf solution”. To answer this I refer back to a business we helped out. They had initially started with off-the-shelf software because it was fast and cheap. They eventually discovered that the lack of customisation to align the software to their day-to-day business operations led to an inefficient and manual processes. As they evolved and grew, these challenges became more and more pronounced and scalability became harder to reach. This is when they came to us, to help them design and develop a solution tailored to their individual needs.

Building bespoke software can unlock a host of benefits, savings and new opportunities but you should consider the following questions before making the decision to build:

Why should you consider investing in bespoke software?

While building bespoke software can be expensive, the return on investment can be well worth it. Please remember though, significant energy, resources, and time must be dedicated to its development. These tasks associated with bespoke software may initially make an off-the-shelf solution seem like the most sensible idea, but there are several reasons to reevaluate:

  • Off-the-shelf software cannot meet each of your business needs. Such solutions generally address many of the needs of most companies, being a jack of all trades, a master of none. If your business has specialised needs, bespoke software may be better qualified to meet them.
  • Off-the-shelf solutions are inflexible. The vast majority of off-the-shelf software will not allow you to modify its functionality in a meaningful way. It may be difficult to add or subtract built-in features, leading to either too many or too few functions for your company.
  • Off-the-shelf software may not be compatible with other programs. Your business might rely on Software A to complete one task and Software B to finish a second, related task. If the two programs do not communicate effectively, they may hinder your efficiency. If you build your own software, you can integrate with a wider set of APIs from different software and data partners.

Why should you consider using off-the-shelf solutions and not developing your own software?

Under some circumstances, sticking with off-the-shelf solutions may be the most sensible option! Smaller business in particular may benefit more by going this route after taking the following factors into account:

  • Limited budget. The costs that are associated with building bespoke software may be one of the first and most important reasons for a business to avoid choosing this option. Off-the-shelf solutions are cheaper and therefore can make much more financial sense for a company with a smaller budget.
  • Lack of time. Building proprietary software takes a time to complete successfully. Businesses that do not have this time available should not immediately pursue it. Though it would be worth speaking to us as it may not take as long as you think.
  • Great off-the-shelf software is already available. If you have a common business, like a restaurant, there are generally off-the-shelf software solutions available that are already proven to be effective for your organisation’s purpose.

How can bespoke software help scale your company?

Your business is a dynamic, an ever evolving organisation, so it make senses for your software to adapt and grow with your company as well. If you do anticipate your company growing at a fast rate, here are a number of ways bespoke software can help make your business more scalable:

  • Increased productivity. Software that is specifically designed with your needs in mind can enable your team to work faster and smarter. You can create one comprehensive technology platform as opposed to using multiple different programs. An integrated platform can yield major efficiency gains since all the data is one place and users do not have to switch between different websites as part of their workflow.
  • Competitive advantage. When you rely on the same off-the-shelf software as your rival does, it is that much more difficult to outperform them. By designing your own technology that is ideally suited for your specific business operations, you can garner a competitive advantage relative to your competitors. That advantage grows as you invest more heavily in your proprietary systems.
  • Faster reaction time. To build great bespoke software, you must first hire a stellar software development provider. Once that team is in place, they can build a variety of products, tools, and systems. As your business needs change and as your industry evolves, being able to quickly shift technology strategies can mean the difference between market dominance and obsolesces.

Despite its initial costs, bespoke software is well worth the resources it requires if you are hoping to build a business of meaningful scale. Building your own software that is specifically tailored to your company’s needs, as well as focused on scalability and efficiency, can help mean the difference between offering a commoditised service and offering a highly differentiated one at a better price.

If you are looking to start a new project then please contact us at Eureka Technology as we have the experience and expertise to help you. We can discuss your requirements and come up with a solution tailored just for you.