team evaluating options - when to buy or build web or software

When to buy vs when to build a web/software solution?

Odette Carney Custom Solutions

Thinking about a new web, software or app project for your organisation?

Embarking on a project can be exciting, and the decision to buy or to build deserves significant consideration. While there are many factors involved, including cost, time and internal staff capabilities, the decision should ultimately be based on what will deliver the best ROI.  

Here we present some scenarios when to buy and when to build.

Buy an existing custom solution         

Commercially proven custom solutions are a great option as they have already been developed, gone through QA and been battle tested in the real world. So if time is a critical factor for your project and there’s an available solution that meets your requirements then it’s going to offer the best possible ROI.

Here’s a few other reasons to buy:

  • It’s likely to be cheaper than building it yourself
  • It reduces your risk – building from scratch can be risky, time consuming and with no guarantee it’ll meet time/cost/quality expectations.
  • It accelerates your launch
  • Supporting and maintaining the solution can be easily achieved with either internal or external resources.  

Build a custom solution

Building a custom solution from scratch should be the last resort. It’s usually the most costly, time-consuming option and (as previously mentioned) has no guarantees that it will be a success.

We frequently hear from organisations that teams have poured hundreds of thousands, even millions into a project that has taken a year or more and not delivered on expectations, so you want to make sure that there really is no other option.

Having said that, here’s when building from scratch is likely to be the best option:

  • There is no other solution like it on the market. This assumes you’ve scoured the market to investigate other options (including SaaS and other custom solutions) with none to be found. (By the way, make sure you’ve used our free solution identification service, to check that no other custom solution exists).
  • Your company’s competitive advantage relies on customised technology that can only be achieved through a build project
  • What you require is completely new and innovative. (Don’t forget that if you do create something new and innovative, list it on AlreadyBuilt later to earn back the cost of the build).
  • You’ve identified a qualified partner or are certain that your internal resources will be up to the task of building (keeping in mind that your team has the technical skills required and would be able to overcome any potential staff turnover).

The implementation decision buy vs build is never an easy one, however basing it on what delivers the best ROI will ensure you set your project up for success.

For more information on buying an existing custom solution, check out AlreadyBuilt’s available solutions and how to buy one.

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