Cloud computing transformed the way businesses, and development companies address software solutions. The number of options that are available for companies to choose from today can be overwhelming when everything is “as-a-Service.” In an environment with so many options, you may ask yourself, “Why would I build a solution when I can buy easily?” There is a time and place for both choices but knowing what the right decision is can be difficult. That is why we created the Build vs. Buy Software Decision-Making Guide.
First Things First… Think
Think of the processes that run your business. You must pay people, so that is a priority. You must be able to perform general accounting tasks. There is little or no flexibility to do the respective processes, “your way.” There is no special sauce in your payroll process. It is a highly regulated process where you must follow the rules, and it gets complicated quickly. Likewise, if you get too creative with your accounting process, you will have other issues as well. Operations such as accounting are not candidates for building. Buy or rent payroll and accounting platforms.
Evaluate Your ‘Uniqueness’
Your business processes are what help you gain a competitive edge. They make you unique. Maybe it is how you sell your products or monitor inventory, but generally, in today’s mobile economy, if you need an app to sell your product, you will need to build it. For example, a Bauen client required a system that would help with event planning. They were trying to consolidate multiple spreadsheets into a single tool to streamline their sales process. It was a particular need in a niche market, so there was no software available that would do this. We worked together with this client to build a simple mobile app with a website to enter and maintain data for under $20,000.
This little system allowed the sales team to have every bit of information at their fingertips, from the current budget for each event to the calorie count of each food item. The custom mobile application cut down on the amount of time it took to plan each event and allowed the salespeople to work with more customers daily.
Addressing the Middle
After proper evaluation, you may find that your business process is not incredibly unique. But the way that you do business would be prohibitively expensive to license. Being stuck in the middle of unusual, but not entirely occurs commonly. At The Bauen Group, we worked with a client who believed everyone should have access to the data they needed. The information had to be the latest and greatest version; it had to be accessible from anywhere. It was the perfect use case for a document management system, except every vendor they consulted wanted between $1 million and $2 million in licensing per year.
The client did not intend to use most of the “value adds” of the highly-priced software, so it was not worth it. The solution became clear. They needed to build a proprietary platform to control costs. In the end, they spent approximately a single year of licensing fees proposed by the software vendors – spread out over a period of five years.
Choosing a Hybrid Solution
Another significant aspect of the decision to build vs. buy is the advent of cloud platforms. Amazon, Microsoft, Google, IBM, and Oracle all have platforms that allow developers to build new products using tools in the platform rapidly. Gone are the days of building everything from scratch. In many cases, today’s hot new applications are just a user interface that stitches together the necessary services on the backend. In the case of the business who needed an event planning app, their original application was not born in the cloud. Instead, it was only hosted in the cloud.
When the Bauen stepped in, we decided to level-up the application by integrating cloud-based services such as Azure Search and Azure Cognitive Services. Building things like Optical character recognition (OCR) into an application from scratch is ridiculously cost-prohibitive and time-consuming. Cloud-based platforms allow developers to do it in days or weeks.
Finding a Perfect Solution and Partner
In the end, many factors can influence the build versus buy decision. If you have been struggling to find the right-sized and cost-effective solution for your business, The Bauen Group can help with a free consultation. We are a custom software development company that works side-by-side with your team to define, design, and deploy a custom software solution that meets your needs and fits your budget.
The Bauen Group helps companies solve complex business problems by leveraging cutting edge solutions in Azure, Dynamics, and the Microsoft Power Platform. This technology enables us to take applications, whether born on the cloud or not, to new levels. By utilizing the power of the cloud, The Bauen Group can quickly develop and enhance a custom software platform that would otherwise take copious amounts of time and a large portion of your budget.